Kia Ceed review

Category: Family car

Section: Costs & verdict

Available fuel types:petrol, diesel
Available colours:
Kia Ceed
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RRP £18,855What Car? Target Price from£17,683

Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

Kia is no longer the budget brand it once was, so pricing is competitive rather than ultra-cheap next to rivals such as the Ford Focus, Skoda Octavia and Skoda Scala, especially as you move up the trim and engine ranges. But if you stick to our favoured 1.0 T-GDi in 2 trim, which is towards the entry point of the Ceed lineup, it works out comparatively decent value. And the good news is that significant discounts have always been available on the Ceed, so make sure you check out our New Car Buying service for the latest savings.

An area where Kia has become more competitive recently is in its finance deals, with the Ceed coming with very reasonable monthly payments on a PCP arrangement – even next to the good-value rivals mentioned above. Leasing rates are also on the money, so to speak.

There's less good news if you're a company car driver paying benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax. Despite having relatively small engines, petrol versions of the Ceed aren’t particularly fuel-efficient and emit more CO2 than the best rivals, pushing up your tax bill. The diesels aren’t especially competitive, either.

If maximising your miles per gallon is all important, you’d be better looking at the more efficient Skoda Scala or Toyota Corolla hybrid, but in the Ceed range the 114bhp 1.6 diesel is your best bet. Just bear in mind you really need to be averaging upwards of 15,000 miles a year for it to make financial sense, though.

Equipment, options and extras

No Ceed is poorly equipped, and with the exception of metallic paint, Kia doesn’t really do options. That can be a bind, though, because it means an expensive trim upgrade is necessary if there's a specific feature you want.

Entry-level 2 trim gets 16in alloy wheels, automatic headlights, a leather trimmed steering wheel and gearknob, air-con, cruise control, all-round electric windows, electrically adjusted and heated door mirrors, plus the rear-view camera and infotainment package we mentioned earlier. We’d stick with this trim to keep the price down, because there are better cars around for the same price as higher trims.

That said, if you are really taken by the Ceed, an upgrade to 3 trim is worth a look if you can wangle a good discount. It adds the better infotainment system and rear parking sensors, along with privacy glass, power-folding door mirrors, an automatically dimming rear-view mirror, dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers and and larger 17in alloy wheels. The higher trim levels are way too pricey to justify.

Kia Ceed

Reliability

Kia has a great reliability record, finishing sixth out of the 31 manufacturers featured in the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey – above all of the Ceed’s mainstream rivals apart from Toyota.

Even if you do have a problem, Kia’s seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty is the longest available currently on a new car.

Safety and security

Things appear quite promising if you look at the amount of safety equipment all trims receive: automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-keeping assistance and a driver attention monitoring system.

However, when safety experts Euro NCAP tested the Ceed it found some concerns: the driver’s head made contact with the steering wheel in a frontal collision, while protection for the front passenger’s chest was poor in the side-on crash test with a pole. As a result it gets just four stars out of five, which is very rare in this class and indicates that the Ceed is less safe than many rivals, including the Ford Focus and outstandingly safe Mazda 3.

According to Euro NCAP, you can make it potentially safer by adding the Advanced Driving Assistance Pack. This includes traffic sign recognition, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring and an upgraded AEB system that includes pedestrian and cyclist detection. It’s standard on the higher trims but optional on the lower ones, and bumps the Ceed’s overall rating up to five stars. Just bear in mind, that while it could help you avoid an accident, the same weakness described above still apply if you’re unlucky enough to hit something. 

On top of that security expert Thatcham has shown the Ceed to be relatively easy to break into and steal, despite having a standard alarm and immobiliser.

Kia Ceed
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Overview

The Ceed is competitive in lots of areas but, unlike its best rivals, it fails to be outstanding in any area. Long warranty aside, there's little compelling reason to recommend it over the better-handling Ford Focus, the more practical Skoda Octavia or Skoda Scala, or the more refined and comfortable Volkswagen Golf. The 1.0-litre petrol in entry-level '2' trim is the sweet spot of the Ceed line-up – but we’d definitely add the optional safety pack.

  • Entry-level versions represent good value for money
  • Class-leading warranty
  • Decent-sized boot
  • Not especially practical
  • Weak safety and security ratings
  • Unsettled ride over rough surfaces

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