Used Kia Cee’d 2012-2018 review

What is it like?

(2012 - 2018)
Used Kia Cee’d 12-present
Review continues below...

What's the used Kia Ceed hatchback like?

The Kia Cee’d family hatchback is cheap to buy and comes from new with a transferable seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty. Those points alone will be enough for some to make it sound like an ideal used car purchase, especially if bought at a year or two or three old. 

However, there are a few other important boxes the Cee'd needs to tick if it is to genuinely be considered a rival to the likes of the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf. That’s why, compared with its predecessor, this second-generation Cee’d was so much more stylish inside and out, and even contained underskin changes that attempted to make it more fun to drive.

To kick off with, though, the Cee'd’s engine range is solid rather than spectacular. It was available with 1.4 (99bhp) and 1.6-litre (133bhp) GDI petrols, and 1.4 (89bhp) and 1.6-litre (126bhp) CRDi diesels. As for gearboxes, a decent dual-clutch automatic gearbox was available with the larger petrol engine, while early diesels came with a torque converter automatic.

The entry-level '1' models came with 15in steel wheels, rear spoiler, heated door mirrors, front electric windows and hill start assist as standard on the outside, while inside you'll find air conditioning, a cooled glovebox, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and a DAB radio as standard. Upgrade to an SR7 Cee'd and it included 16in alloys, rear parking sensors, privacy glass and adaptive headlights, while paying a bit more for the '2' may lose a couple of features but added folding door mirrors, cruise control, vanity mirrors, front foglights and LED day-running-lights. 

Buying a '3' trimmed Kia Cee'd added luxuries such as 16in alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, electrically adjustable lumbar support, automatic wipers and Kia's 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system complete with TomTom-powered sat-nav and a reversing camera, while the '4' gained 17in alloy wheels, leather seats, heated front seats and steering wheel, keyless start and entry and an electronic parking brake. The '4 Tech' trim included a panoramic sunroof, adaptive xenon headlights, an electrically adjustable driver's seats, front parking sensors and numerous Kia safety technology.

The C'eed GT-Line chiefly came with a sporty bodykit, twin exhaust system, and numerous GT-Line specced interior details, while the GT models came with 18in alloys, Recaro front seats, 17in brake discs and LED front foglights.

Out on the road, the pick of the petrols is the 1.4, which is cheaper to buy and a little smoother, if ultimately slower. If you’re after a diesel it’s worth spending the extra on the more powerful 1.6. Whichever Cee’d you choose, don’t expect a thrilling driving experience. The Golf, Focus and Seat Leon are all much more satisfying in terms of steering response and agility (that even applies to sportier GT versions of the Cee’d from 2014 with their 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine). Having said that, if you simply want a car that is undemanding to drive, has a soft ride and isn’t too noisy, the Cee’d gives little cause for complaint.

Just as importantly, seeing as this is a car aimed at families, the Cee’d has a boot that is larger than a you’ll find in the Focus and a match for the Golf's. You can extend the space by folding the rear backrests in a 60/40 split, although to get them to go completely flat requires you to first lift the seat base out of the way.

In terms of seating, up to three passengers won’t have much to complain about in the Cee'd, because there’s a good amount of room in the front and the back seats, as well as doors that open nice and wide. You can also get a third person on the rear bench with a modicum more space than in some of its rivals, although it’s still far from ideal for longer journeys.

The Cee’d range was given a facelift in 2016 that included the introduction of a 1.0-litre T-GDI turbocharged petrol engine with either 99bhp or 118bhp. At the same time, Kia added extra sound deadening to make the Cee’d quieter to drive, and introduced a more powerful 134bhp version of its 1.6-litre diesel, which was also offered with a seven-speed DCT dual-clutch automatic.

The Cee'd scored a maximum five stars when crash-tested by Euro NCAP. It was replaced by an all-new model in 2018.

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Used Kia Cee’d 12-present
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