The engine range isn’t as wide as those of some rivals and if it’s scintillating performance you’re after, you should look elsewhere. The entry-level 1.4-litre petrol is willing and surprisingly flexible; it’s more appealing than the 1.6-litre petrol, which provides stronger performance outright but feels wheezy. The three-cylinder 1.0-litre needs to be pushed hard, but it doesn’t mind it when you do.
The cheapest diesel versions have a 1.4-litre engine that has decent punch at low revs but performance is as leisurely as a 0-60mph time of around 13.0 seconds suggests. Our favourite engine is the higher-powered 1.6-litre CRDi diesel. It provides enough pace to satisfy most drivers, if not those used to the more powerful 2.0- and 2.2-litre diesel engines available in many of the Ceed’s rivals.
Kia calls the range-topping GT a ‘sporting hatch’ rather than a hot hatch. That’s just as well, because although performance is strong, its turbocharged 1.6-litre engine isn’t as gutsy as that of cars such as the Ford Focus ST.