The Kia Ceed’s interior comes packed with tech and looks much more upmarket than the old model but alternatives still have the edge when it comes to flashy design and posh materials.
The Kia Ceed’s interior looks pretty smart but doesn’t quite have the same upmarket feel as a VW Golf. Sure, you get a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard, but it sits perched on top of the dashboard and looks like a bit of an afterthought when compared to the VW’s slick integrated unit. Thankfully, this infotainment system comes with some physical shortcuts to make it easy to use on the move.
Look a little lower, however, and you’ll notice the slightly mismatched heating and ventilation controls. They’re easy to use, but don’t quite fit in with the rest of the Ceed’s neat, well-organised cabin.
Unlike some more upmarket hatchbacks, you can’t get the Kia Ceed with a widescreen digital driver’s display, but at least the conventional analogue dials are bright, clear and easy to read. High-spec cars do come with a compact 4.2-inch screen that displays a range of information such as your current speed, but it’s not a patch on the VW Golf’s full-width screen.
Most of the surfaces you touch regularly – from the soft padded plastics on the doors to the squidgy dashboard – feel reasonably posh and all models come with a leather-trimmed steering wheel as standard. Pick a mid-range ‘3 car and you get some metal-effect trims around the air vents and on the steering wheel that look pretty smart. Unfortunately, this shiny trim on the steering wheel can produce a lot of glare in bright sunlight – not exactly ideal.
Entry-level cars come with fabric upholstery, but Blue Edition, ‘3’ versions and sportier GT Line cars get some faux leather trim on the front seat bolsters. Go for a high-spec Kia Ceed First Edition and you get leather seats as standard with contrasting grey stitching but, if you fancy something a little more colourful, GT models come with plenty of contrasting red stitching on the front seats and doors.
At a glance, the Kia Ceed’s cabin looks pretty slick. Peek a little closer, however and you’ll notice that some of the buttons look like pieces borrowed from a few different jigsaw sets
Entry-level Kia Ceeds in ‘2’ guise come with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard. This free-standing unit isn’t particularly well-integrated into the Ceed’s dashboard, but at least it’s reasonably bright and its matte finish means it’s easy to read without any annoying glare – even in almost direct sunlight.
It’s a shame that the menu icons aren’t a little more colourful, however – their monochrome design makes it a bit tricky to tell the sat nav from the stereo as you’re driving along – but at least there’s a handy set of physical shortcut buttons for you to use instead.
You get Bluetooth connectivity for your phone and DAB digital radio as standard in entry-level cars but not sat nav. Thankfully, every Kia Ceed comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, so you can use a variety of your phone’s navigation apps through the Ceed’s built-in screen instead. These features also let you play music from streaming apps such as Spotify through the Kia’s stereo.
Pick any car besides the most basic ‘2’ version, and you get a larger 8-inch screen with built-in satnav as standard. It’s not quite as sharp as the systems you get in a VW Golf or a SEAT Ibiza, but it’s still a doddle to enter an address using the on-screen keyboard and the directions are easy to follow thanks to the system’s bright, clear map graphics.
Top-spec First Edition and GT Line S Kia Ceeds also come with an upgraded JBL unit stereo with eight more powerful speakers. It certainly sounds bassier, especially in the back seats, but those of us who aren’t hardcore audiophiles probably won’t notice the difference.