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MotorBar
Kia Ceed 1.5 T-GDi 3
Click to view picture gallery“Desperately seeking not Susan
  but a family hatchback, one that will
  satisfy both you and your passengers
  but which won
t cost you an arm
  and a leg? The good news is that
  there is such a thing
and they call
  it ‘Ceed
...”


KIA'S CARS JUST KEEP GETTING BETTER and better... And that includes its Ceed five-door hatchback. Recently given a comprehensive facelift, this upgraded third generation Ceed should most definitely be on the shortlist of anyone looking for a hassle-free family car. Prices range from an affordable 24,500 to 28K, but if that's too rich for you be aware that it's one of the cheapest cars in its class to finance or lease.

Also, if you're still not convinced about going all-electric (don't worry, you're far from alone in that) then the Ceed's turboed 1.5-litre petrol model has all the performance you'll ever need (top speed 130mph; 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds). Officially it returns 49.6mpg in the combined cycle, which is very good; what's better is the smile-inducing 56.1mpg we averaged during a week's hard testing. And, as seven nights and eight days behind its wheel confirmed, it's totally hassle-free to live with and satisfying to drive. On the peace of mind front, there's also Kia's generous 7-year/100,00-mile warranty.

If you’re still not
convinced about going
all-electric (don’t worry,
you’re far from alone in
that) then the Ceed’s
turboed 1.5-litre petrol
model has all the
performance you’ll
ever need.
Officially it returns
49.6mpg, which is very
good; what’s better is
the smile-inducing
56.1mpg we averaged
during a week’s hard
testing...”
Looks-wise, the uninitiated might say the smart looking Ceed stands comparison with one of VW's gold-standard Golf models. While you can see similarities, the Ceed owns its shape. However, those with any interest in cars will instantly spot the trademark Kia 'tiger-nose' grille and know it hails from the highly popular and much-liked Korean carmaker's stable. It now comes in two trim levels — '3' and GT-Line — both of which make use of the same 1.5-litre four-pot T-GDi petrol engine (FYI: Turbocharged Gasoline Direct injection).

This is paired with an easy-changing manual gearbox that makes the Ceed very driveable even in heavy traffic — the 'stick-shift' is certainly no hardship even if you're coming to it from an autobox. The six-speeder also enables slick block changes (second to fourth, third to fifth, etc).

The Ceed's cabin is as good to look at as it is to sit in. The sportily styled seats are upholstered in black cloth with black faux leather bolstering and smartly patterned centre panels. They're comfortably supportive and both front seats have power-adjustable lumbar support as well as manual height adjustment. Height-adjustable seatbelts are also standard-fit.

Space-wise there's plenty of room to share, with a very generous amount of headroom (a full two fists' worth) and plenty of air between the front seats so no annoying elbow clashes. The driving position is first-rate and even rearward visibility is good enough to guarantee no nasty surprises making it easy to place and easy to park. The dash is logically laid out with usability clearly in mind; a convenient strip of shortcut touchpads underscores the free-standing 10.25-inch SatNav and Infotainment touchscreen at dash central.

The refreshing orderliness makes you feel instantly at home and relaxed behind the good-to-grip, three-spoke multifunction wheel; naturally, all its buttons are clearly marked and instantly identified. Also appreciated is the very effective two-zone climate system (operated via trad controls) that serves up a seriously good 'ice' — a lifesaver during the 'hot snap' during our test!

In addition to navigation and infotainment, the comms include foolproof smartphone compatibility via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, both with voice control, a digital driver's display between the white-on-black 'can't beat them' main dials, DAB radio with MP3 compatibility, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming, and helpfully illuminated USB ports.

The 1.5-litre powerplant
puts out a punchy
158bhp backed up by an
equally strong 187lb ft
of torque from 1,500rpm
— an effective set of
numbers that endow it
with a decent surge
of oomph from low-down
and torque that makes
light work of climbing
hills without down-
changing.
Pootling or pressing on,
the turboed petrol
engine always feels
nicely peppy, a quality
underscored by its
refinement...”
The touchscreen's menus are easy to find your way around plus the voice control is really useful: for instance, ask "Is it going to rain in Crawley?" and you will receive a very detailed answer: "Most likely not, temperature is 28 degrees with moderate south easterly winds". The posted speed limit is, of course, shown on active mapping while your road speed is clearly digitally displayed on the instrument panel.

In-cabin storage is well considered too, with a large, deep bin below the raised central armrest, dual-use cupholders alongside the pull-up handbrake, bottle-holding door bins incorporating decent size pockets, large glovebox (lit and damped), a deep storage tray ahead of the gear lever with 12V and charging USB sockets, a safe slot where your smartphone can sleep, and an overhead drop-down glasses case.

Kit-wise, the '3' we're reviewing here is fitted out with all the essentials including dual-zone automatic AirCon, auto-dimming rearview mirror, powerfolding heated door mirrors (with integrated LED indicators), reversing camera with dynamic guidelines, rear parking sensors, privacy glass (rear windows and tailgate), all-round electric windows (both fronts get quick one-shot up/down op), cruise control and speed limiter, auto dip/main beam switching, drive-away door locking, and a set of 17-inch alloy wheels.

Safety Kit is comprehensive. First up is forward collision-avoidance assist with city, pedestrian, and cyclist awareness. Add to that a full suite of airbags, electronic stability control, vehicle stability management, lane keeping assist, lane follow assist, leading vehicle departure warning, hill-start assist, driver attention warning, emergency stop signalling, auto lights and wipes, tyre pressure monitoring, halogen projection headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED rear combination lights, and Isofix child seat fixings.

Those travelling in the rear will feel perfectly at home courtesy of the well-padded and individually contoured back seats. For one or two grown-ups there's a nicely padded armrest complete with equally comfy door armrests, plenty of room to spare for feet (the central floor tunnel is barely noticeable), backrests set at a relaxing angle, plus good leg- and headroom. Due to the seats being set six inches higher than those up front, rear passengers also enjoy clear views out through the long side windows. Adding to the airy back compartment's ambiance are front seatback pouches, twin cupholders, and bottle-holding door bins. In other words, all the boxes are ticked.

The Ceed rides perfectly okay both in town and out beyond the burbs but it especially shines cruising motorways — at the UK's legal limit its suspension hits its sweet spot and the ride feels unexpectedly serene; enough to keep you and your passengers relaxed for mile after mile. Exactly what you need from a family-friendly hatchback.

Measuring 4.3 metres
nose-to-tail and seating
four/five, the Ceed still
manages to fit in a
decent sized boot that
doesn’t eat into the
passenger space.
With the back seats in
use there’s 395 litres
which, for the record,
beats what Ford and VW
give you in their Focus
and Golf models.
Fold down the 60:40-split
rear seatbacks and
you’ll open up a 1,291-
litre loadbay with a level
and seamless floor...”
The 1.5-litre powerplant puts out a punchy 158bhp backed up by an equally strong 187lb ft of torque from 1,500rpm — an effective set of numbers that endow it with a decent surge of oomph from low-down and torque that makes light work of climbing hills without down-changing. Pootling or pressing on, the turboed petrol engine always feels nicely peppy, a quality underscored by its refinement. And on motorways it serves up quiet cruising while returning pound-stretching economy.

While the Ceed does a great job of being all things 'family', it also handles. Although not pretending to be a hard-charging hot-hatch, it nevertheless has enough ability to deliver some worthwhile driving satisfaction on point-to-point solo trips.

There's reassuring grip and the easily accessible power on tap is a nice fit with the chassis' inherent composure and predictable responses — enough, in fact, to bring a smile to your lips. Confident braking — from the ventilated discs up front and the solid discs bringing up the rear — adds another comforting layer of reassurance whether you're modulating your line through some twisties before dropping a couple of gears or just reacting to an unexpected hazard.

Measuring 4.3 metres nose-to-tail and seating four/five, the Ceed still manages to fit in a decent sized boot that doesn't eat into the passenger space. With the back seats in use there's 395 litres which, for the record, beats what Ford and VW give you in their Focus and Golf models.

Access is straightforward courtesy of a high-lifting rear tailgate and you'll find all the expected features such as a 12V power socket, bag hooks, corner bins, and an easily removed parcel shelf luggage cover, along with something unexpected — a versatile dual-height floor as well as an underfloor storage bin. Fold down the 60:40-split rear seatbacks and you'll open up a 1,291-litre loadbay with a level and seamless floor. And if you prefer to tow stuff rather than pack it in behind you, the Ceed will happily haul a braked 1,000kg.

So, should you cross out the Golf on your shortlist and put a Ceed on your drive? Drive the Kia for a week and you might surprise yourself by going not for the German but for the Korean player. That's because the good value Ceed hatchback is everything a family car should be, and an easy car to say Yes to. ~ MotorBar
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Kia Ceed 1.5 T-GDi '3' | 24,500
Maximum speed: 130mph | 0-62mph: 8.4seconds | Test Average: 56.1mpg
Power: 158bhp | Torque: 187lb ft | CO2: 129g/km

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