With 133bhp on tap, you’d think the 1.6-litre GDI petrol engine would have sufficient grunt to move things along at a brisk rate, but it doesn’t feel nearly as punchy as its 9.9sec 0-62mph sprint time would suggest. A much better bet is the 126bhp 1.6-litre diesel, which pulls strongly, revs sweetly and is relaxed at motorway speeds.
The Cee’d’s underpinnings are as sophisticated as the best European hatches and, for the most part, it’s comfortably controlled. If anything, the suspension is just a tad slack, allowing the bonnet to bob up and down too much over undulating surfaces. There’s also too much delay between steering inputs and the nose of the car changing direction.
You need to rev the petrol engine quite hard to exact any kind of performance, and when you do, it becomes pretty vocal. The stronger torque of the diesel engine means it demands less throttle pressure, allowing you to stroke it along, short-shifting through the gears, minimising revs and mechanical clatter. Wind and road noise are pretty well isolated, too.
The Cee’d’s pricing is very aggressive indeed, especially when you consider how much standard kit you get. The seven-year/100,000-mile transferable warranty also provides some reassurance. Combined with competitive running costs, all this has a positive effect on residual values.
The overall quality of the Cee’d is good, so good that our only real gripe is reserved for the seats, which look a bit cheap and lack side support. The cabin is smartly trimmed, with plenty of soft touch plastics and expensive-looking decorative panels. Kia is so confident that its cars will stand the test of time that the Cee’d comes with a 100,000-mile seven-year warranty.
The Cee’d has achieved the full five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests, and it's easy to see why. Standard equipment includes six airbags, electronic stability control, and hill-start assist. Theft resistance is boosted by deadlocks, an automatic door locking function and locking wheelnuts.
Most people will have little difficulty dialling in a comfortable driving position thanks to a wide range of adjustments for the driver’s seat and steering wheel. The Supervision cluster fitted to top of the range cars has to be seen to really be appreciated. It’s effectively an HD upgrade for the main instrumentation, delivering superb clarity to help minimise eyestrain.
One of the many positive aspects of the Cee’d is that it provides an exceptional amount of space - there’s plenty of room for four to spread out in comfort, or for five to travel at a pinch. The boot has a reasonably low lip too and offers 380 litres of space; that’s a good deal more than either the VW Golf or Ford Focus. With the rear seats folded flat, that volume increases to an equally impressive 1318 litres.
There are five trim levels increasing in plushness from basic 1 to 4 Tech. All models get air-con, front electric windows, central locking, an iPod-compatible CD stereo and Bluetooth connectivity. Reversing sensors are standard from Cee’d 2, while Cee’d 3 and Cee’d 4 have a colour reversing camera integrated into the navigation screen. Cee’d 4 Tech adds Parallel Park Assist System (PPAS) which automatically steers the car into kerbside spaces.
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