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 competes strongly with compact hatchback rivals on space, style and quality – plus it comes with Kia's excellent seven-year warranty."

The Kia Cee’d is a stylish and great-value family hatchback that's a solid alternative to class-leading rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf and SEAT Leon. It features bold design, generous equipment and an upmarket interior, and has helped transform Kia's image from budget brand to mainstream manufacturer. It's good to drive, too, with composed handling and decent refinement.

The interior is roomy, there's plenty of useful cabin storage and a well shaped 360-litre boot. There's also the option of a versatile Kia Cee'd SW estate, which promises a maximum luggage capacity of 1,660 litres. Buyers looking for a little more style can pick the three-door Kia Pro_cee’d, which mixes coupe style with decent practicality.

The five-door model has four basic trim levels to choose from – 1, 2, 3, and 4, while Kia creates special-edition models from time to time. The range-topping 4 is also available in Tech form, which adds desirable kit such as powered seats, a self-parking system and lane-departure warning. There's also a GT version, with more power, distinctive styling tweaks and sportier suspension – although its performance isn’t quite on a par with more established high-performance hatchbacks such as the VW Golf GTI or Ford Focus ST.

All models are generously equipped, with air-conditioning, a Bluetooth phone connection and front foglamps fitted as standard to the 1. The 2 adds alloy wheels and cruise control. Our pick is the 3, which gets all the above kit, plus dual-zone climate control and Kia's intuitive touchscreen sat-nav system, while undercutting the more sparsely equipped VW Golf Match's price.

Another highlight is Kia's seven-year/100,000 mile warranty. Not only does it deliver extra peace of mind, it also helps boost the Ceed's residual values – although it still trails the VW Golf and SEAT Leon in this respect. However, given the length of the guarantee, we’d have expected more than a single year's breakdown recovery to be included in the package.

Even so, with all of these attributes coupled with that long warranty, you'll be hard pressed to find a car that makes a better used buy.

If the Kia has a weak point, it's the limited engine choice. Just four engines are available – two petrols and two diesels. The 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre petrols are fairly smooth and refined, but feel sluggish in the real world, requiring you to make constant use of the standard six-speed manual gearbox. The 1.4-litre CRDi diesel doesn’t offer much extra performance, but it compensates with CO2 emissions of 97g/km and claimed fuel economy of nearly 80mpg. However, it's the 126bhp 1.6-litre diesel that's the pick of the bunch, thanks to its blend of strong acceleration and low running costs.

In addition, there's the sporty 1.6-litre turbocharged Cee’d GT, which has 201bhp and can accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds. Fuel economy is disappointing, though.

A six-speed manual gearbox is standard across the range, while the 1.6-litre petrol engine is available with a six-speed twin-clutch automatic and the 1.6-litre diesel can be fitted with a traditional six-speed automatic. Both automatic gearboxes get steering wheel-mounted shift paddles for changing gear manually if you want.

The Kia Cee’d was awarded a five-star safety rating by Euro NCAP. All versions get six airbags, electronic stability control and seatbelt reminders. The top of the range 4 Tech adds lane-departure warning to this list.

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 
25 Sep 2014
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