2018 Kia Ceed - price, specs and release date

Our early prototype drive reveals the new Ceed is a promising family hatchback that is also, in the right version, one of the best-driving cars in the class...

2018 Kia Ceed review - price, specs and release date

The new Kia Ceed then. It will need to drive well in order to upset the family car market, and so far we’ve had a go in the turbo 1.4-litre with a manual gearbox, and the higher-powered diesel mated to a seven-speed dual clutch automatic.

2018 Kia Ceed review - price, specs and release date

2018 Kia Ceed on the road

The Ceed has traditionally been a good car to drive (if not quite class-leading) and Kia – which is partnered with Hyundai – is trying to give its cars a more dynamic feel.

In the case of the early 1.4 turbo with manual gearbox we tried, that’s evident. The Ceed steers relatively quickly – faster than a Volkswagen Golf – so feels quite agile, happy to change direction and it rides pretty well, too. It’s surprisingly rewarding and involving, while maintaining a strong degree of comfort.

Its engine is smooth and quiet, with a gearshift quality that’s light and positive. It’s genuinely one of the nicest cars to drive in this class.

The same’s less true of the diesel. At the time of writing, there’s still a bit of development work to be done on all models, but it’s the diesel that needs to have some of the top-end clatter quietened – which should be doable – but that the engine and gearbox combination is heavier also contributes to the diesel Ceed feeling less rewarding, and less comfortable, than the petrol version.

2018 Kia Ceed review - price, specs and release date

2018 Kia Ceed interior

Again, there’s a bit of work to be done inside before the latest Kia Ceed is production ready, but most of the plastics were full-production types.

And for the most part that’s fine. Some of the plastics are a bit shinier and flimsier of feel than you’d find in a Golf or Octavia, but you don’t have to go very far from the top of the class to find cars that the Ceed is competitive with. Besides, if Kia’s form is anything to go by, it’ll undercut those cars on price.

What’s interesting is that Kia says the driver sits 7cm further back than in the previous Ceed, which helps the crash performance and also visibility around the A-pillars. That they’re also placed lower means headroom isn’t affected, so this is still quite an easy car to get comfortable in.

The Kia Ceed also has one of the largest boots in the class, after the Peugeot 308 and class-best Skoda Octavia – although Kia argues the Octavia isn't a direct competitor. Unfortunately, as a result of that generous boot, rear legroom is no better than acceptable.

Next: 2018 Kia Ceed verdict >