Our cars: Kia Ceed - August

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Kia Ceed
Kia Ceed
Kia Ceed 1.6 CRDi 2 ISG

Week ending August 31
Mileage: 4400
Miles this week: 1471


Read the full Kia Ceed review

The Kia has been on its first real adventure – a 1500 mile round trip to the Dordogne, in south west France, four up and carrying a considerable amount of holiday luggage, in temperatures as high as 38 degrees centigrade.

Surprisingly well it did, too. It took the autoroutes in its stride, cruising with impressive refinement, and producing noticeably less road noise than on British roads. It spent many hours at or around the speed limit of 130km/h (81mph), keeping up a good average speed by never dropping much below it. Despite such treatment, the dash readout often indicated 47mpg, with quick calculations at the pumps backing this figure up.

Despite the great heat outside, things were pleasantly cool inside, thanks to the efficient air-con. Indeed all we lacked in terms of equipment was sat-nav (standard on higher trims but not available on our '2'), which might have saved us a bit of confusion, and a couple of u-turns.

Was it big enough for a family of four? No, not quite. With careful packing and good use made of its reasonable boot, there was still too much to be stored between the two children in the back, below their feet, and even on their laps. Ditto the front passenger.

Admittedly a small hatch like the Ceed isn't the obvious choice for a long-distance family holiday, but it put up an impressive performance nonetheless.

Mark.Pearson@whatcar.com

Week ending August 24
Mileage: 2945
Driven this week 160 miles


Where the Ceed really excels over its rivals is that it positively encourages and rewards smooth driving.

The drivetrain is refined, the gearchange action is slick, the clutch bite is light, and even the vague steering (the most disappointing part of the driving experience) requires only minimal effort. The brakes are good, being easy to modulate smoothly. The ride never offends, and the visibility, the comfort of the seats, and the build quality of the neat interior all add to this little car's suaveness. It's no wonder passengers view it so favourably.

It's handsomely equipped, too, and both driver and passenger get one-touch electric windows, which is a small detail, but often a real boon. There's plenty of storage space inside, with cup-holders to hand, and a neat ledge at the bottom of the centre console for placing your mobile.

Indeed to my ears it's only the clatter of the diesel engine at start up, and the gruffness of it under load, that detract from this car's refinement. Putting aside the issue of inferior fuel economy, I wonder what the petrol-engined versions of the new Ceed are like to drive?

Mark.Pearson@whatcar.com

Week ending August 17
Mileage: 2800
Driven this week: 150 miles


Read the full Kia Ceed review

A quick trip from Surrey to the Sussex coast during the recent hot spell produced an average fuel consumption figure of 44.4mpg.

This was actually a little up on the mid- to late-30s figures I've been achieving, despite the car being four-up with the air-con on, and pressing on (where possible) through the countryside. A bit more care with the right foot and a lot less air-con might yield an even better figure, although with an outside temperature of near 30 degrees I wasn't going without cool air, and we were in a hurry to get to the beach.

The only fly in an otherwise smooth journey was the noise made by the tyres; not only the road noise, which is only just the right side of tolerable, but the howling from the front tyres at every roundabout taken at a brisk pace. Was it just the heat? Was it that heavy right foot again, or was it those (decently sized) Continental tyres, demonstrating some want of finesse?

The handbook recommends 32psi all round, but I had already checked them and found that Kia had set them all at 34psi. I tried 36psi, and found the ride unchanged, and slightly less howl on roundabouts, but alas there was still too much general tyre roar fed back into the cabin.

Mark.Pearson@whatcar.com

Week ending August 10
Mileage: 2650
Driven this week: 150 miles

Read the full Kia Ceed review

Keen drivers – like me – will be disappointed by the Ceed's electrically assisted steering. It's light, so requires little effort, but it's vague around the straight-ahead, and slow to react.

The Ceed - like its close relative the Hyundai i30 - features Flexsteer, which offers three different levels of assistance to the steering: Comfort, Normal and Sport.

In practice, Comfort and Normal feel pretty much the same, while Sport seems merely to add unwanted weight. Alas, what Flexsteer offers is merely three shades of grey.

Mark.Pearson@whatcar.com

Kia Cee'd 1.6 CRDi 2 ISG
Week ending August 3
Mileage: 2500
Driven this week: 150 miles


Although our Kia Ceed is deservedly proving a big success, I have concerns about its fuel economy.

According to the MPG indicator on the instrument display, I'm seldom bettering 36mpg in my urban potterings, whereas the official figure for the urban cycle is 67.3mpg (an impressive 74.3mpg in the more commonly quoted Combined cycle). Our own TrueMPG figure for the urban crawl is 48.0mpg (and 53.3mpg in the Combined cycle).

My morning commute threw up some interesting figures. The first two miles of travel from my house is on a busy A-road with a 40mph limit, and here the Ceed averaged out at 36.8mpg, according to the in-car readout. Re-setting the readout, the next mile through a local park with a 20mph speed restriction produced figures between 75mpg and 88mpg. The final mile was through the stop and go of early-morning Teddington High Street, and here the car averaged around 61mpg.

So, if I stick to 20mph, or breeze gently down a barely awake high street, making full use of the shift indicator and the ISG (stop-start), I might better my overall figure. My higher consumption figure might be due to the short journeys and suburban driving I've been doing, or maybe to a heavy right foot, or probably a combination of both.

Some longer trips beckon, so it should fare better then.

Mark.Pearson@whatcar.com

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