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Kia cee’d 4 1.6 CRDi 7-DCT Auto

Click to view picture gallery“While being a millionaire no longer
  has the cachet it once had, selling
a million is still a pretty good test of
  a car
. Kias mid-sized ceed hatch
  has already passed the seven-figure
  hurdle, and
now its even better...”

RECENTLY ENHANCED WITH MORE connectivity, new trims and new powertrains, the latest cee'd models also come with two new powerplants: a 1.0-litre state-of-the-art three-cylinder petrol engine (98 or 118bhp) along with a new and slightly more powerful 134bhp 1.6-litre turbodiesel with tax-friendly CO2 emissions that dip as low as 94g/km.

The diesel also offers a choice between a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed dual-clutch (7-DCT) automatic transmission which combines the advantages of a manual and an auto.

With emissions of just
103g/km and the
likelihood for most
drivers of improving on
our hard-used cee’d’s
53.1mpg, running one
certainly isn’t going
to dent your children’s
We've just been driving the 1.6 dual-clutch version that's good for 124mph and does the zero-to-sixty 'sprint' in 10.2 seconds. Officially 72.4mpg is the 'paper' economy figure; a week's hard driving in the real-world saw a real-life average of 53.1mpg. And with emissions of just 103g/km and the likelihood for most drivers of improving on our hard-used cee'd's test figure, running one certainly isn't going to dent your children's inheritance.

Neither will the five-door cee'd's on-the-road prices — kicking-off at 15,105, the 19- model line-up tops out at 24,495 covering eight spec levels: 1, SR7, 2, 3, 4, 4 Tech, the newly-added GT-Line and the full-blown GT that packs 201bhp. If you like the car but only want three-doors, then there's the pro_cee'd; alternatively, if you have a need to lug there's a Sportswagon with space to spare.

Visually the cee'd is a well proportioned and stylish hatchback with a 'planted' stance. It's fronted by the unmistakable Kia trademark 'tiger's nose' black mesh grille and striking wraparound headlamp units cut back into the wings and underscored by curved LED daytime running lights. Combined with that, a full-width black lower section linking chrome-enhanced foglight housings creates a sporty demeanour.

Flat-cut wheel arches are filled by machine-faced 17-inch alloy wheels, and a rising waistline and window-line emphasise the cee'd's wedge-shaped profile. A seamlessly-integrated bumper, bold wraparound LED tail light units, and a neat roof spoiler finish off the five-door bodyshape very nicely.

For many buyers, of course, the cee'd ownership equation is boosted significantly by Kia's seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty as well as the option of two servicing packages which cover all routine maintenance for three or five years — all transferable if the car is sold before they expire.

As Tesco's marketing jingle rightly has it: Every Little Helps. And the cee'd's new 1.6 turbodiesel now has that little extra: power is up from 126 to 134bhp. Torque, too, is increased; manual cars now get 206lb ft while 7-DCT autos have 221lb ft at 1,750rpm.

It's a jaunty engine and its 10.2-second 0-60mph time feels satisfyingly brisk; plus there's more than enough torque low down and upwards and onwards through the mid-range — exactly where you need muscle in everyday driving. Motorways are cruised quietly and the extra insulation both under the bonnet and in the cabin does a good job of blocking out noise wherever you find yourself driving, making the cee'd a satisfying car to travel in.

Comfort is taken
seriously: the front seats
are winter-friendly
for you and your front
passenger with three-
stage heating;
the steering-wheel rim is
also heated, plus there
are ample convenience
features such as the
electric parking brake
and paddle-shifters for
the dual-clutch auto...”
Getting aboard is as quick and easy as can be thanks to keyless entry; even as you approach the cee'd is getting ready for you by moving the powerfold door mirrors out from their parked position. And once behind the wheel getting away is equally uncomplicated courtesy of keyless starting — just press the illuminated aluminium Start Engine button.

The parking brake is electronic so nothing to do there either as it automatically releases when you move off. Should you want some windows open that too is hassle-free as all four have one-touch up/down operation.

Within the cee'd's 4.3-metre body is a wheelbase that's one of the longest in class and a roomy cabin that scores high for ambiance — a tasteful selection of two-tone leather, chrome filleting, and feel-good, soft-touch surfaces for your fingertips makes for a very pleasant interior.

The leather-wrapped wheel is full-on multifunction with controls for cruise, speed limiter, audio, phone, and the driver's computer (a TFT display within the central speedometer) plus a button to change the steering mode that offers Sport, Normal, and Comfort weightings.

Talking of comfort, the front seats are winter-friendly for you and your front passenger with three-stage heating; the steering-wheel rim is also heated, plus there are ample convenience features too — the dual-clutch auto set-up not only allows you to manually override the shifting using the selector lever, but there are also paddle-shifters on the wheel's horizontal bars.

There's plenty of personal space for the driver and whoever's riding shotgun — for a start, headroom hasn't been sacrificed by the coupe-like roofline; you'll enjoy a full fist of it. At the other extreme there's decent foot room with stainless steel pedals and a well-set left-foot rest. In between, your body will quickly settle into the comfy supportive seats that provide especially good upper back and shoulder support. Smoothly adjustable, well-padded headrests and powered lumbar and manual seat height adjustment ensure you really are sitting pretty and the A1 driving position is complemented by A1 visibility in all directions.

The dials are easy on the eyes and quickly read while touches such as the auto-dimming rearview mirror and the door mirror adjustment controls being sited on the right-hand fascia to the right of the steering wheel are also welcome (so much easier to adjust there than in the usual, wrist-twisting position on the driver's door favoured by just about all carmakers).

The central armrest slides fore and aft without masking the parking brake switch and beneath it you'll find a deep, 'stuff'-swallowing storage bin. The cooled glovebox is a boon in the warmer weather (as too is the 2Zone climate control), plus it's damped so doesn't spill its contents every time you open it. All little things that make the cabin a place you really can feel at ease in.

Connectivity is now
comprehensive via
Kia Connected Services
featuring TomTom.
The navigation is of the
no-brainer variety with
clear and trustworthy
spoken directions —
in the cee’d you won’t be
hearing ‘Make a U-turn’
very often, if at all...”
Connectivity is now comprehensive via Kia Connected Services featuring TomTom, with all of it accessed through a 7-inch central touchscreen: European mapping, traffic messaging, and full UK postcode entry (essential although quite a number of significantly more expensive cars still don't have it) plus fast, short or economical route planning. The navigation is of the no-brainer variety with clear and trustworthy spoken directions — in the cee'd you won't be hearing 'Make a U-turn' very often, if at all.

Critical driver information provided by TomTom also includes speed camera locations plus local search and weather details. The touchscreen also displays the view from the colour reversing camera, making parking equally hassle-free. DAB digital radio is standard as is Bluetooth with music streaming.

The cee'd's cabin is well specced with desirable kit including keyless entry and start with a Start/Stop Engine button, wheel-mounted shift-paddles for the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, two-tone leather upholstery, heated front seats with powered lumbar adjustment, a heated multifunction steering wheel, Flex Steer, dual-zone climate control, 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with integrated TomTom SatNav, Bluetooth, DAB radio, reversing camera, parking sensors, cruise control and speed limiter, powerfold (automatically on locking/unlocking) heated door mirrors with LED indicators and kerbside lights, electronic parking brake, high-def LCD driver's information display, one-touch (up/down) electric windows, cooled glovebox, ambient cabin lighting, dual-tone horn, stainless steel pedals and scuff plates, rear privacy glass, and a set of stylish 17-inch alloy wheels.

Safety kit includes six airbags (twin front, side and curtain), Electronic Stability Control, Hill Start assist, Emergency Stop Signalling (in an emergency stop the rear brake lights flash to alert following traffic), LED daytime running lights, cornering lights, LED rear lights, drive-away automatic door locking, auto wipers with de-icing elements, auto lights, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Entry to and exit from the rear cabin is unimpeded, and it's as smartly finished as the front with two-tone leather seats and two-tone door panels. Door bins are large and will take good care of your liquid refreshments be they cans or bottles while dedicated air vents keep you cosy or cool.

You sit a few inches higher than your compatriots up front (while still leaving a fist of air between your head and the roof-lining) and enjoy good views out when you're not dozing comfortably with your inner arm resting easily on the wide centre armrest; if you need to stretch you can, and there's ample foot room even for three pairs of feet for those times a trio of adults need to travel side-by-side.

To be sure,
the suspension tweaks
have done their job
and the cee’d feels keen,
handling now with
a bit more bite that’s
reassuringly underwritten
by a grippy chassis;
even on blustery
motorways it feels stable
and secure...”
The cee'd makes maximum use of the versatile load space by not just folding down its 60:40-split rear seatbacks but by sliding and tipping the bases first, which means you don't get an almost flat loadbay floor — you get a totally flat one. Excellent news if your load is on the heavy side or long enough to take up the maximum 1,318 litres.

Bottle straps and a stretchy luggage net keeps smaller items in place, either in the 380-litre boot with rear passengers aboard or the Full Monty cargo bay with the seats down. Also present and correct: those indispensable bag-holder hooks — how on Earth did we manage in the days before them?

Lift the boot floor (helpfully, it has its own stay) and you'll find a handy 8-compartment multi-tray; beneath that is a space-saver spare so if you do get a puncture you won't have to rush to the nearest garage, and neither will you have to bin the tyre as you do if you use a puncture repair aerosol. Unexpectedly, the cee'd's also a good tow-car — it's capable of pulling a braked 1,500kg.

All the latest cee'd models benefit from a modified fully independent suspension set-up that now includes torque vectoring to minimise understeer during hard cornering. It works, is all you really need to know. To be sure, the suspension tweaks have done their job and the cee'd feels keen, handling now with a bit more bite that's reassuringly underwritten by a grippy chassis; even on blustery motorways it feels stable and secure.

The motor-driven power-steering has also come in for some fine-tuning and now responds quicker, while offering the driver a choice of three steering weightings: Normal, Comfort and Sport. All-in-all it's a good result dynamically — further improved by quick, clean shifts from the dual-clutch autobox and reassuring brakes when you need them. The cee'd also holds up its end in family-friendliness with a comfortable ride.

Looking at this latest, sportier cee'd, it's very easy to like. And not just for its looks; it's good to drive, comfortable, as practical as it is roomy, and goes easy on the fuel. Mr Kipling may make exceedingly good cakes, but Mr Kia makes exceedingly good hatchbacks! ~ MotorBar
Kia cee'd 4 1.6 CRDi 7-DCT Auto | 23,730
Maximum speed: 124mph | 0-60mph: 10.2 seconds | Test Average: 53.1mpg
Power: 134bhp | Torque: 221lb ft | CO2: 103g/km