Kia Ceed (2015-2017) review
More than one million Kia Ceed models have been sold since the car went on sale back in 2006. But, in an extremely competitive class – that includes the VW Golf, Ford Focus and new Vauxhall Astra – an update was needed.
What's not so good
Kia Ceed (2015-2017): what would you like to read next?
The changes range from the fairly minor (some slight exterior revisions and new interior trims) to major ones such as the addition of a new petrol engine. It takes the form of a super-efficient 1.0-litre three-cylinder, built as an answer to 1.0-litre Focus and Golf models.
The suspension has also been revised and extra sound deadening added to make the car more comfortable over long distances. The other major mechanical change is the option to specify a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox that promises quick changes and little compromise in terms of running cost.
Space inside remains unchanged over the old model and all Ceeds come with five doors. Buyers looking for sportier looks should also consider the Kia Pro Ceed (a three-door version of the Ceed), while the Sportswagon estate is worth a look if you need a big boot.
All models come with air-conditioning, a Bluetooth phone connection and a DAB radio. The mid-range 2 trim comes with just about everything you need as standard, while GT-Line models get a different bodykit and larger wheels making the Kia Ceed look quite desirable.
The Kia Ceed is spacious and well-built inside but it can't quite provide the same driving experience as a Vauxhall Astra
Equipped with an economical 1.0-litre petrol engine and a throughly up-to-date seven-speed automatic gearbox – the Kia Ceed has what it takes to be a great small family car. While the driving experience is more comfortable than ever, the Kia still falls behind its key alternatives when it comes to being fun to drive. But none of the competition can compete with the Kia’s seven-year warranty and it remains one of the car’s biggest selling points.
Passengers won’t have anything to complain about and the boot is a decent size, but the Ceed can’t come close to rivalling the amount of space you get in a Skoda Octavia
It's the little things that make life easy. And, in the Ceed, the stowage areas in the cabin are great for swallowing the odds and ends you need for everyday life
There’s a wide range of adjustments that means most drivers should be able to get comfortable behind the wheel and there’s enough room in the front for an adult passenger to stretch their legs on a long journey. Rear seat space is also generous enough to accommodate tall adults, something that can’t be said of the Peugeot 308.
The cabin of the Ceed is littered with useful storage areas. You can store your phone under the armrest and charge it via the USB port under the climate controls. The glovebox is large and air-conditioned while the door pockets easily hold a water bottle each.
The Kia’s 380-litre boot is a match for the Volkswagen Golf’s carrying capacity and usefully bigger than the 316 litres offered by the Ford Focus. All are beaten by the massive 590-litre capacity in the Skoda Octavia, though. Its hatchback boot lid means the Ceed is easy to load, but it would be even easier if the load lip was a little shorter. Maximum load capacity sits at 1,318 litres with the 60:40 split rear seats folded into the floor.
Out on the road, the Kia Ceed is secure and easy to drive but if you’re a keen driver there are a few other options that are better such as the Vauxhall Astra
The Ceed drives pretty well but there isn't anything in the driving experience that would make you chose it over an alternative
The new 1.0-litre petrol is definitely the highlight of the range and an engine that was needed for the Ceed to compete on a level playing field with its rivals from Volkswagen and Ford. You get two versions to choose from with either 98 or 118hp. Both return fuel economy of 57.6mpg – making them cheaper to run than the larger, but more basic, 1.4-litre petrol. The addition of a turbocharger means they also feel quicker in everyday driving, but neither is what you would call fast and the more-powerful model takes 11.1 seconds to get from 0-62mph.
More power if you want it comes by upgrading to one of the two 1.6-litre petrols. The basic model produces 133hp, gets from 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds and can return fuel economy of 52.3mpg.
By far the most powerful engine in the range is the 201hp 1.6-litre turbo fitted to the GT model. The GT gets from 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds and has a top speed of 143mph, but drive at a more relaxed pace and fuel economy of 38.2mpg should be achievable. Impressive enough, but a Golf GTI is both quicker and cheaper to run. It also comes with big 18-inch alloy wheels and lowered suspension for extra cornering grip and less body roll.
For the cheapest running costs the diesel are a sure bet. The basic 89hp 1.4-litre model can return 68.9mpg. With 177Ib ft of torque, you can expect it to cope well when the car is fully loaded.
The 1.6-litre diesel packs 134hp, which is enough to get the car from 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds and torque of 221Ib ft means it will be an even quicker overtaker than the basic diesel. Fuel economy for it sits at 67.3mpg. It is the only model that can be equipped with Kia’s new dual clutch, seven-speed automatic gearbox. It’s very smooth and shifts intelligently, but its slower changes mean using the manual paddles isn’t as rewarding as in a DSG Volkswagen.
For the facelift model, Kia has adjusted the suspension and as a result, the car is more comfortable at a cruise and better equipped for dealing with poor road surfaces. That’s not the case if you go for sporty GT Line trim, which comes with stiffer suspension and 17-inch alloy wheels that combine to make the car bouncier over bumps.
Tweaked steering and a new torque-vectoring system sadly don’t catapult the Ceed to the top of the class for driving thrills. The car still suffers from too much body roll in corners and that, although there’s plenty of grip, the steering’s too vague to give you a decent idea how much the front wheels have at any one time. That problem remains no matter which of the three (Normal, Comfort or Sport) settings you choose.
The three-cylinder engine also brings improvements in comfort. It is one of the most refined out there – quiet at a cruise and free from the vibrations that normally afflict engines of this type.
There isn’t a lot of excitement in the Kia Ceed’s interior but the quality of the build will impress you