Kia Cee'd hatchback
Price £14,805 - £24,205
- Lots of space inside
- Comfortable and easy to drive
- Excellent value whether you buy new or used
- Rivals hold their value better
- Steering is overly light
- Focus 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 is an alternative to family hatchbacks like the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and SEAT Leon. These rivals are all very good, but the Kia hopes to win over buyers with its combination of affordability, good looks, generous equipment and a long warranty.
Unfortunately, while some of its rivals offer a wide range of small, powerful and efficient engines, the standard Cee’d has a choice of just four: two petrols and two diesels. The 1.4 and a 1.6-litre petrols are smooth enough, but feel underpowered. The 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine is slow, but is very smooth, has a characterful noise and is much more economical than the other petrol offerings. The diesel engines are a better choice if you value loew running costs.
For its blend of acceleration and low running costs, our favourite is the more powerful 1.6-litre CRDi. The standard gearbox is a six-speed manual but both 1.6s are also available as automatics, complete with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles for a sportier driver experience.
The sporty Kia Cee’d GT (reviewed separately) has its own more powerful 1.6-litre petrol engine. Unfortunately, it's not quite hot-hatch quick (0-62mph takes 7.4 seconds) and it's also thirsty and expensive to tax.
Unlike the Ford Focus, no version of the Cee’d is especially fun to drive, but it's at least stable and surefooted on the road. It's refined, too, but the suspension is rather firm. We find the Volkswagen Golf to be more comfortable.
The Cee’d is a roomy five-door hatchback with plenty of storage space and a good-sized boot. There are four main trim levels called 1, 2, 3 and 4, plus a few special editions that fine-tune the equipment a little. Even the basic 1 is very well equipped, with a height-adjustable driver's-seat, an adjustable steering wheel, a front central armrest, air-conditioning and a 60:40 split-folding rear seat.
But our pick of the range is the 3, which – in addition to the 2's alloy wheels and cruise control – has dual-zone climate control and a touchscreen sat-nav system.
Owners seem to be happy with the reliability of their Cee’ds, something that's underlined by the car's industry-leading, seven-year/100,000-mile warranty. It's safe, too, as demonstrated by the maximum five-star crash-test score from Euro NCAP.
Efficient diesels are a highlight of the Kia Cee’d range, while value pricing and reasonable servicing costs won’t break the bank
The Kia Cee’d is a safe and secure hatchback that handles reasonably well, although it can’t match rivals for driving fun
If you want to add options to a Kia Cee’d, you have to move up a grade, because there aren’t many extras you can choose
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
Seven-year warranty demonstrates confidence that the Kia Cee’d will run like clockwork