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Kia cee’d 1.6 T-GDi GT

Click to view picture gallery“Petrol is finally having the last
  laugh: unceremoniously elbowed
  aside in favour of EU-sponsored
  diesels, unleaded is now back in
  favour with a passion...”

AND WHERE BETTER to appreciate the zip of an eager and revvable petrol motor than in a sporty GT hatchback. And Kia have just the bodyshell for it — their sharply-styled cee'd. With a turboed 201bhp under its bonnet, it's good for 143mph and will zip to 60mph in a crisp 7.3 seconds.

Even with two doors a-side, the cee'd GT cuts a sharp swathe through its Focus, Golf, Peugeot and Vauxhall classmates. A five-door version of the even racier-looking three-door pro_cee'd GT, the cee'd GT doesn't just rely on its head-turning looks to succeed but offers sports-hatch enthusiasts a well-rounded and appealing package blending affordability with performance alongside comfort and real-world practicality.

An eye-catcher? Absolutely. Its fluent wedge-shaped profile with a rising waistline, crisply styled nose and well-planted stance makes it hard to miss parked or on the move. Detailing is equally dramatic with a double-grille flanked by modish 'ice-cube' LED daytime running lights and long, clear lens headlights cut into the bonnet and upper front wings stretching back to midway above the flat-cut wheelarches.

Swing open the GTs
s door and waiting
for you is a well-padded
upholstered Recaro
sports seat with
pronounced bolstering
and a first-class driving
position — all in a stylish
but at the same time well
working cabin
for keen drivers...”
At the tail, capped by a spoiler atop the tailgate, are wraparound lights, a rear diffuser and an oval tailpipe at each corner. Front and rear, showing performance-oriented red brake-callipers, multi-spoke Graphite finish 18-inch alloys fill the wheel arches.

Swing open the driver's door and there's a sporty and smartly finished cabin waiting to greet you. Well-padded leather and suede-like Dinamica microfiber upholstered Recaro sports seats with pronounced bolstering brightened by red overstitching and embroidered 'GT' motifs are as holding and supportive as they look; plus they complement a first-class driving position with ample elbow and shoulder space for fancy wheel work.

More good news: both you and your front passenger will also enjoy powered lumbar adjustment and three- stage heating.

And, despite the cee'd's coupe-like roofline, you don't go short of headroom there's a fist-and-a-half of it while all round visibility is fine. The flat-bottomed leather-wrapped wheel features perforated 'work' areas and a heated rim and is particularly tactile, while a palm-fitting ball-style gearknob for the six-speed manual 'box falls perfectly to hand. Wheel-mounted multifunction controls include cruise, speed limiter, audio, phone, voice, as well as for the high-definition LCD driver's information display. This is a stylish but at the same time well arranged 'working' cabin for keen drivers.

The instruments are clear and simple to take in at a glance and the speedo can be toggled between a traditional analogue look and digital torque and turbo boost gauges; other core essentials include an orange digital speed readout in the multi-mode driver's trip display. Starting is also keyless via an illuminated aluminium Start Engine button. Fit and finish is of a high standard, with sporty overstitching and hi-gloss black and chrome highlights enhancing the dash and doors, making the GT-grade cockpit good on the eye and a satisfying place to spend time.

The central armrest slides fore and aft and in-cabin storage is well served with big, long door pockets, a drop-down sunglasses case, and an accommodatingly deep storage bin beneath the central armrest; the capacious glovebox is cooled, and the 2Zone climate control more than a match for those summer 'highs'.

“Connectivity is
comprehensive courtesy
of Kia Connected
Services with TomTom,
all accessed easily
through a seven-inch
central touchscreen with
crystal clear graphics —
at your fingertip is full UK
postcode entry with fast,
short or economical route
planning, and clear and
trustworthy spoken
directions, plus speed
camera location alerts for
added peace of mind...”
Connectivity is comprehensive courtesy of Kia Connected Services with TomTom, all accessed easily through a seven-inch central touchscreen with crystal clear graphics at your fingertip is full UK postcode entry with fast, short or economical route planning, European mapping, and traffic updates.

The navigation delivers clear and trustworthy spoken directions and for added peace of mind there are speed camera location alerts. Making life even easier is a local search facility and weather information, while for stress-free parking the touchscreen also shows the view from the colour reversing camera. A DAB digital radio is standard, as too is Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming.

As befits its range-toping status, the GT comes very well specced in addition to the numerous items already mentioned other kit includes dual-zone automatic AirCon, one-shot power windows (all four), ambient lighting, cruise-control with speed limiter, reversing sensors backed up by a high resolution reversing camera, powerfold (automatically on locking/unlocking) heated door mirrors with LED indicators and kerbside lights, stainless steel pedals and scuff plates, auto-dimming rearview mirror, tinted glass as well as rear privacy glass, and standout 18-inch alloy wheels.

Safety kit includes six airbags, Electronic Stability Control, Hill Start assist, Emergency Stop Signalling (in an emergency stop the rear brake lights automatically flash to alert following traffic), tyre pressure monitoring, LED daytime running lights, cornering lights, signature LED rear lights, auto wipes with de-icing elements, auto lights, drive-away automatic door locking, a dual-tone horn, and Isofix child seat fixings.

Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should; and just because an engine pumps out over 200bhp doesn't mean it has to sound like a trackday racer. Kia's 1.6-litre turboed petrol four-pot is all the better for its aural discretion if you're going to go quickly these days you really don't want to announce it to the world.

The upside is that every one of the cee'd GT's 201 horses can be used whenever you need them. Because backing up the 201bhp is 195lb ft of torque that, thanks to a wide powerband, is available from just 1,500rpm all the way through to 4,500rpm, ensuring poke is muscular and eager throughout the crucial mid-range.

With the Recaro keeping
you firmly in place it all
comes together keenly on
challengingly twisty
A-roads where the GT
chuckable predictability
keeps you in full
control and dictating the
pace as you pick
n flick
between the six ratios...”
Some might consider its 0-60mph sprint time of 7.3 seconds to be 'warm' rather than 'hot' but what's more important here is that the cee'd GT's in-gear flexibility and precise clean-shifting manual gearchange action makes it satisfying to pick 'n' flick between the six ratios whether you're pressing on or simply pootling on a family day out either way, you'll be sure to have a smile on your face even if you're unlikely to call on its 140mph+ top speed.

Kia's engineers have done a fine job of matching the performance available to the handling neither quite trumps the other so it's easy to get the best road-holding while getting the max power down for your driving style at any given moment.

Punt this cee'd hard and you'll find its sure-footedness and poise reassuring. There's decent weighting for the steering, which is sharper than that of its less-potent stablemates (the GT jettisons the selectable steering weightings that come with ordinary cee'd models' Flex Steer feature). GT cee'd models are also underpinned by an upgraded fully independent suspension set-up and deliver superior body control and more grip at speed for only a minimal trade-off in ride.

With the Recaro keeping you firmly in place it all comes together keenly on challengingly twisty A-roads where the GT's chuckable predictability keeps you in full control and dictating the pace. Supporting the dynamics is torque vectoring (to minimise understeer during hard cornering) along with beefier brakes plus strong grip from the chassis boosted by the Michelin Pilot Sport rubber.

Even rolling on 225/40 eighteen-inch rubber the GT's ride is more civilised than you'll find on many rival hot hatchbacks the cee'd serves up a well-damped ride that makes long trips, even at point-to-point pace, doubly satisfying. Nimble, fun and involving as well as composed and comfortable, this cee'd is undeniably a proper GT.

The big bonus with the cee'd is that there's no 'me or my dog' choices in the cabin when it comes to passengers there's four other seats to go round. And it's all good news if you're a passenger who's been pipped to sitting next to the driver entry to the back cabin is unimpeded, and it's as accommodating as the front.

“Every one of the GTs 201 horses can be used whenever you need. Because backing it up is 195lb ft of torque that thanks to a wide powerband is available from just 1,500rpm straight through to 4,500rpm, ensuring poke is muscular and eager throughout the crucial mid-range...”
Sizeable door bins will hold your drinks, large magazine pouches any oddments, and dedicated rear compartment climate vents will keep you as cool or as cosy as the weather dictates. Headroom is generous a full fist of it, no less despite rear passengers sitting several inches higher than those up front; and views out through the long side windows are uninterrupted.

When you're bored of people-watching you can doze in the informal armchair formed by the relaxing backrests and comfy centre and outer armrests. Plus there's lots of foot room (enough even when three need to travel side-by-side) and room for your legs to stretch. Add all that to the cee'd's decent ride quality and the GT more than delivers for family travel.

Given this is a five-seater hatchback, the GT doesn't disappoint when it comes to providing space for real-life luggage its 380 litres trump that of some rivals while its 60:40-split rear seatbacks can be folded down in two stages for either casual semi-flat use or lower and completely flat to form a long, seamless 1,318-litre loadbay for a full cargo load. Another big 'plus' the wide-opening rear doors make side-loading hassle free.

Bag-holder hooks and a stretchy luggage net help keep shopping it its rightful place plus. Lift the floor (conveniently it has a dedicated stay-up function) and you'll discover two further levels: the uppermost has a large and very handy multi-section storage tray; lift that and below you'll find a space-saver spare wheel and tool kit plus a second tray. Need to carry passengers and luggage and cargo? The GT will tow what you can't, or would rather not, put inside; upto a braked 1,400kg.

If you want quick and entertaining as well as practicality for real-world family duties then this the sportiest of cee'ds will do you proud while at the same time undercutting hot-hatches from the likes of Ford and Volkswagen on price. The GT also offers something else they can't: peace of mind from Kia's excellent 7-year/100,000 mile warranty that, along with Kia's servicing packages, is transferable when the car is sold. Nice one! ~ MotorBar
Kia c'eed 1.6 T-GDi GT | 24,010
Maximum speed: 143mph | 0-60mph: 7.3 seconds | Test Average: 33.6mpg
Power: 201bhp | Torque: 195lb ft | CO2: 170g/km