Our cars: Kia Ceed - November
Week ending November 30
Driven this week: 270 miles
Read the full Kia Ceed review
The Bluetooth phone system in our Ceed is a great feature. I had no problem connecting my mobile – the instructions are clear and simple to follow. I was impressed also by the phonebook download function and call history, which I'm sure has only been available on high-end systems in the past. The Kia's refined cabin even helps cut out background noise while you're on a call.
The only thing that lets down the Ceed's phone system is the budget audio unit and cheap-sounding speakers. The callers all sound like they're on a child's walkie-talkie. Shame.
Week ending November 23
Driven this week: 530 miles
I've spent quite a bit of time in our Kia Ceed this week, having not driven one for a while. It's even better than I remembered.
I covered a mix of urban, rural and motorway routes and the Ceed was good to drive on all of them. There's some road noise, but refinement is good and the engine - despite Mark's comments last week - seems pretty quiet to me. It's not especially strong, but I had no problem maintaining a decent pace on the motorway.
My one reservation is the Ceed's driver's seat. I find the angle of the base a bit too steep, and the seats themselves are exceptionally firm. On long journeys the front of the cushion felt like it was digging into my leg.
I normally drive a Honda Civic, which has very soft seat cushioning. This doesn't provide the same level of support, but it does mean you can shift around in the seat, to slightly alter your position. I find it much more comfortable.
By Leo Wilkinson
Week ending November 16
Driven this week: 550 miles
This week I've driven three Kia Ceeds.
As well as our regular long-termer, I've sampled a newer (2000-mile) version of the same car, the 1.6-litre 126bhp model in 2 trim, and a 1.4 diesel Sportswagon, the estate version of the Ceed.
The comparison was interesting. Although I hadn't noticed a decline of any sort in our long-termer, the 2000-mile car felt tighter, with controls that felt more positive and steering that was just a fraction meatier. Its engine also seemed quieter than our car's, which has become rather clattery since the colder weather has arrived.
The 1.4 diesel engine in the Sportswagon I tried produces only 89bhp so, unsurprisingly, it isn't as quick. Revving it beyond its power peak of 3500rpm is also a pointless exercise, and if you do it produces a rather unpleasant noise.
The Sportswagon's extra space is welcome, though, and compared with others in this class it's an impressive all-rounder.
Kia Ceed 1.6 CRDi 2 ISG
Week ending November 9
Driven this week: 350 miles
Read the full Kia Ceed review
I needed to drive north to Birmingham earlier this week to try out MG's new MG6 diesel – and I thought that our 1.6-litre Kia would be a useful point of reference, so I pinched the keys from its regular keeper, Mark Pearson.
I can't tell you what I thought of the MG just yet (check back on whatcar.com in a couple of weeks), but it was a good opportunity to see if the Ceed still impresses me as much as it did on its original launch.
The good news is that it does. After about five hours of driving, I still felt fresh – testament to the seat support and driving position – and at no point did the 126bhp 1.6-litre diesel feel outgunned in the M40 traffic.
Downsides? There's a fair amount of wind noise at fast motorway speeds, and even after 100 miles of motoring, when you pull up at traffic lights there’s no doubt that you're in a diesel. Other motors – notably those in the VW Group's latest models – quieten down considerably as they warm up.
The Kia's engine isn't the noisiest on the market by any means, but it's a little too reluctant to give up its diesel rattle.
By John McIlroy
Week ending November 2
Driven this week: 201 miles
Our chief road tester Pete Tullin had a go in the Ceed this week, and when a man with as much experience of driving and reviewing cars as Pete has a go, it's always advisable to take note.
Like others who've driven the car, he was generally impressed. However, he was disappointed by the gruffness of the diesel engine, and the noise levels generally. He thought the Ceed seemed to be missing that final edge of refinement that marks out the leaders in this class.
The steering also gave him slight cause for concern. He thought it felt vague around the straight-ahead, and then inconsistently weighted as cornering forces built up. On the plus side, he was impressed by the grip offered by the Kia's Continental tyres.