Kia Ceed hatchback performance
With only three engine options, there’s far less choice than you’ll get with rivals such as the Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Golf.
Still, even the cheapest petrol engine – a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder unit – provides the sort of performance that most buyers will find quite adequate, even on the motorway. It's worth pointing out that rivals with similar 1.0-litre turbocharged engines have a bit more low-down shove, though, and you have to rev the Ceed harder to get the best from it.
If you want or need more poke, there’s a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol that proves really flexible in the real world and very proficient at keeping pace with fast-moving traffic. Available on 3 trim and above, it’s not much more money to buy, but it does have slightly worse claimed fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
The final engine is a 1.6-litre diesel that we haven’t yet tried. Our experience of the mechanically very similar Hyundai i30 shows that it pulls eagerly at all but very low revs. However, it's not much punchier than the 1.0 petrol, so it’s only worth considering if economy is your priority.
Kia Ceed hatchback ride
If comfort is your absolute top priority, you might want to strike the Ceed from your wish list and instead look to the Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus, which are two of the most comfortable cars in the class. The Ceed won’t rattle your fillings out, mind, and it's very compliant over large intrusions such as sleeping policemen, but it fails to be quite so masking over rough town roads or indented motorways.
The good news is the Ceed doesn't crash or bang harshly over nasty potholes, and we've found that upgrading from 16in to 17in wheels doesn’t make the ride noticeably less comfortable, as it can in some cars.
Kia Ceed hatchback handling
The Ceed’s quick steering gives it a lively turn-in to corners, and that starts you thinking that it's a pretty well-sorted car. And up to a point that's the case, but push harder and you'll find that the steering is nowhere near as feelsome as the Focus’s, nor as progressively weighted as the Octavia’s and Golf's. The upshot is you feel a little less confident in placing the Ceed accurately in bends.
And while the Ceed feels generally nimble and flows nicely along a country road at seven-tenths pace, in fast cornering it’s not particularly well tied down at the rear. As a result, it has to rely quite heavily on its electronic systems, and making an emergency lane change, for example, can feel quite alarming.
There's an easy pick in this class if you want something truly enjoyable to drive: the impressively well-sorted Focus.
Kia Ceed hatchback refinement
We certainly wouldn’t call the Ceed noisy, but it isn't as refined as the likes of the Golf and Focus. Our biggest complaint is that the 1.0 petrol sends a fair few vibrations through the controls and sounds a little coarse. The 1.4 transmits less buzzing through to the interior and also needs less of a workout to get the Ceed up to speed, but it's still relatively uncivilised when you gun it.
Speaking of its controls, the slightly hair-trigger accelerator of the 1.4 makes you prone to enacting a more abrupt getaway than you might like, and the Ceed's notchy manual gearbox isn't as slick as the Focus's.
At motorway speeds, the Ceed burdens you with quite a bit of road roar, but it has slightly less wind noise than the Skoda Octavia and its suspension proves much quieter across bumps.