Kia Cee'd hatchback

Price  £14,805 - £24,205

Kia Cee'd hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • 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 petrols (a 1.4 and a 1.6-litre) are smooth enough, but feel underpowered. Both of the diesels are stronger and more efficient.

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.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.4 / 5

Efficient diesels are a highlight of the Kia Cee’d range, while value pricing and reasonable 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

4.7 / 5

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

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

3.7 / 5
based on 3 reviews
4 / 5
"Open the front door and you’re greeted by an attractive, well-built, strongly specced and roomy interior. The Cee’d has grown in length by 50mm (but reduced in height and width, both by 10mm), which equates to 21mm more legroom in the back, and 12mm more headroom. This is a seriously spacious small car, with more than enough room for four (five at a pinch) above average-size adults to travel in comfort."
3 / 5
"The design and engineering has been done in Germany and as before the Cee'd is built in Slovakia. Kia's credibility as a maker of cars that can compete with those from Europe and Japan comes largely from the previous Kia Cee'd, and the new one aims to continue the process."
"Kia says this car combines styling typically found on a sporty coupé, with the space and functionality of a five-door hatch. It'll come with the same engine range as before but emissions are down and fuel economy has been improved. The new cee’d is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor with the same long wheelbase. It will be available with 1.4 and 1-6-litre petrol engines and 1.4 and 1.6-litre diesel engines offering power outputs from 89bhp to 133bhp. The updated engines deliver a 4% average improvement in fuel consumption across the range, while the 127bhp diesel achieves a claimed fuel consumption of 76mpg and CO2 emissions of 97g/km."
4 / 5
"The six-speed manual gearbox (there's also a traditional six-speed auto as an option) has an easy change which helps make the Cee'd whisk along in town and on open roads with almost serene progress. Where it doesn't quite come together is on motorways. Sixth gear is extremely high - to aid economy - with the result that the engine has very little in the way of acceleration in this gear."
What owners say 
4.4 /5 based on 159 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
16 Jul 2015
Own this car? Leave your review.