Kia Cee'd hatchback

Price  £14,905 - £24,295

Kia Cee'd hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Comfortable and easy to drive
  • Excellent value new or used
  • Lots of space inside
  • Steering is overly light
  • Rivals hold more value used
  • Ford Focus is better to drive

At a glance

"The Kia Cee'd runs its rivals close for space, style and build quality – plus it comes with Kia's excellent seven-year warranty."

The Kia Cee’d goes head-to-head with established family-hatchback class players such as the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, Vauxhall Astra and SEAT Leon. Gone are the days when Kia was a ‘cheap and cheerful’ step down from those brands – it's now a serious competitor on all fronts. The marque still trades on value for money, though, emphasising its cars’ generous standard equipment and industry-leading seven-year warranty.

Cee’d buyers have a choice of three petrol and two diesel engines. The petrol line-up consists of a recently introduced 1.0-litre three-cylinder that's not exactly quick, but pretty efficient, plus there are 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrols that promise more power, but poorer fuel economy. If you’d prefer a diesel, the options are an 89bhp 1.4-litre or a 134bhp 1.6-litre. The latter is a great all-rounder, but the 1.0-litre petrol may be worth looking at if you drive mainly in town and don’t cover many miles a year.

A six-speed manual gearbox comes as standard across the range, but you can specify a six-speed automatic with the 1.6-litre petrol or a seven-speed automatic with the 1.0-litre petrol or 1.6-litre diesel should you wish. The seven-speed in particular improves fuel economy compared to the manual.

Petrolheads will be drawn to the high-performance Kia Cee’d GT hot hatchback (which we’ve reviewed separately). It has its own more powerful turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine, but it's not as fast as some other hot hatchbacks – 0-62mph takes 7.4 seconds – and fuel economy is unimpressive, too.

On the road, the standard Cee’d is smooth and stable rather than highly involving like its chief rival the Ford Focus. It's not quite as comfortable as the Volkswagen Golf, either, although it's not bad by any stretch.

Interior space is a plus point, with five wide-opening doors, plentiful cabin storage space and a decent boot for carrying all your stuff. Trim levels are pretty simple – they’re called 1, 2, 3, 4 and 4 Tech – but Kia does offer special editions from time to time, so it's worth checking what your local dealer has available right now. No matter what Cee’d you go for, you get DAB digital radio, Bluetooth, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver's seat, a front central armrest and a useful 60:40 split-folding rear seat.

Our favourite trim level is the 3, as it adds touchscreen sat nav and dual-zone climate control to the 2's alloy wheels and cruise control. Taken together, these features make day-to-day motoring easier and should also boost your Cee’d's appeal on the secondhand market in a few years' time.

Kias have a fairly good reputation for reliability, backed up by the manufacturer's well known seven-year/100,000-mile warranty. A five-star crash-safety score for the Cee'd from the experts at Euro NCAP provides further reassurance for potential owners.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.4 / 5

Efficient diesels are a highlight of the Kia Cee’d range, while good-value pricing and servicing costs won’t break the bank

Engines, drive & performance

4 / 5

The Kia Cee’d is a safe and secure hatchback that handles reasonably well, although it can’t match rivals for driving fun

Interior & comfort

4.4 / 5

The Kia Cee'd interior is well made and organised

Practicality & boot space

4.8 / 5

The Kia Cee’d is a match for rivals when it comes to passenger and boot space, with plenty of cabin storage and a generous load area

Reliability & safety

4.4 / 5

Seven-year warranty demonstrates confidence that the Kia Cee’d will run like clockwork

What the others say

3.9 / 5
based on 4 reviews
4 / 5
"The Kia Cee'd is a well built and practical family hatchback. It's a shame it's let down by a dull drive."
4 / 5
"The Kia Ceed can compete with the best hatchbacks in a number of areas, so it should definitely feature on your shortlist."
4 / 5
"The Cee'd boasts a practical boot, as well as frugal engines with low CO2 emissions. However, the steering lacks feel, and rivals offer better handling."
7 / 10
"Despite some very good rivals, it wouldn’t be too difficult to justify choosing a Kia Cee’d, particularly with that unbeatable seven-year warranty."
What owners say 
4.4 /5 based on 159 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
23 Nov 2015
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