The Kia Cee’d is one of the most convincing models yet from the Korean manufacturer – a real challenger to not only its sister vehicle, the slightly more expensive Hyundai i30, but also the established small family hatchback benchmarks from Ford and Volkswagen.
The 128 ISG model gets a 126bhp/191lb ft, 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine with integrated stop-start. It returns average economy of 74.3mpg and emits 100g/km of CO2, and while it couldn’t match that fuel efficiency in our own True MPG test (which is calculated in real roads instead of a laboratory), it still managed a respectable 55.4mpg – a decent figure for a diesel with this much performance.
On the road, the diesel engine pulls sweetly from low revs, and while the headline 0-60mph figure of 11.5 seconds might not sound rapid, the in-gear acceleration is more than strong enough for a car of this size.
Perhaps more importantly, the diesel is a relatively refined companion. For starters you don’t need to push it hard to maintain a decent pace anyway, but should you choose to be more aggressive, it revs quite sweetly.
Inside, the Cee’d feels nicely screwed together, and while the plastics might not be quite as plush as those you’d find in the Hyundai, the layout is clear and easy to use. There’s room inside for four adults – or five, at a push – and the 380-litre boot is large for this type of car.
The standard equipment list is generous too, to the point where the entry-level 1 model has enough kit to make it our preferred option. You get air-con, electric windows, an iPod-compatible stereo and Bluetooth connectivity.
That sort of specification, plus the gutsy 126bhp motor, make the Cee’d CRDi a perfect Green COTY recommendation: excellent efficiency, with no obvious compromises.