Our cars: Kia Ceed - December
Week ending 21 December
Driven this eek: 200 miles
If you like the look of our Kia Ceed, but think it lacking in sporting appeal, the confirmation of a new GT version might excite you.
To be launched in mid-2013, the new model will hit 62mph from a standstill in just 7.9 seconds. It'll feature a modified version of our long-termer's 1.6 diesel unit, tuned to produce a whopping 201bhp (ours produces a mere 126bhp). The chassis will be uprated, while the body will receive sportier-looking grilles, bumpers, and 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside, there'll be new Recaro sports seats and updated trim.
Will it be any good? Well the chassis of the Cee'd certainly shows potential. Our car handles well, and its ride is comfortable, so tweaks to the suspension, wheels and tyres could produce quite a nimble GT. Hopefully the steering will be made a bit sharper, for a sportier drive, but we already know the rest of the car is pretty good as it is.
To be honest Kia are doing pretty well without the sporting appeal. Our regular Cee'd is such an impressive car, it's not surprising to hear it's played a large part in helping Kia achieve its most successful annual UK sales figures ever; year-on-year sales were up an impressive 21.5%.
Week ending 14 December
Mileage this week 250
Read the full Kia Ceed review
This week I’ve been driving our long-term Ford Focus, swapping directly from it back to the Ceed. The comparison’s fascinating, because the two hatchbacks are similar in price: the Cee’d is £18,295, the Focus £17,945.
The Focus promises much, but doesn’t always deliver. At idle, its much-lauded 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine is whisper quiet, but rev it and a familiar thrum emerges. Some like the noise; others are not so keen. The Ceed by contrast is gruff low down, but grows more refined as speed increases.
The steering of the Focus is quick, and more responsive than the Ceed’s, but it’s not as much fun to drive as Focuses of old. Next to the smart and roomier interior of the Ceed, the Zetec-trimmed Focus is decidedly low-rent. The Focus also struggles to better 38mpg in our True MPG tests, whereas our diesel Cee’d records 55mpg.
However, the biggest difference is in equipment levels. The Ceed is comprehensively equipped, whereas the Focus is so sparsely equipped I wouldn’t be surprised to hear they were charging extra for the steering wheel.
A higher-specced Focus might be a better proposition; a lower-specced Ceed is a better proposition yet, with ‘1’ trim only £16,295. Me? I’d take the steering and engine from the Focus (and put up with the larger bills), and everything else from the Ceed.
Week ending December 7
Driven this week: 200 miles
I had two bikes and a weekend's worth of luggage to transport to the countryside this week, and reckoned that the Ceed would be just about the right size to squeeze everything in.
Thankfully my reckoning was spot on, and we made it to Shropshire and back without having to leave anything behind. Naturally, getting this much stuff in the back of a small hatchback was only made possible by dropping the rear seats. If you fold the rear-seat bases into the footwell, then you should in theory get even more carrying space.
However, given the amount of oddments there was to carry, I found it was better to leave the bases in place, as this meant the footwell was left clear for slotting soft bags into. Thankfully, there was no noticeable loss to the overall capacity, either.