In-depth reviews

Kia Ceed hatchback review

"The Kia Ceed hatchback takes on the establishment and gets close to causing an upset, offering more space and fun than before"

Carbuyer Rating

4.2 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.5 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Price
£22,545 - £31,175

Pros

  • Fun to drive
  • Value for money
  • Upmarket interior

Cons

  • Quite high CO2 emissions
  • Firm ride with large wheels
  • Automatic lags behind rivals

Verdict - is the Kia Ceed a good car?

The Kia Ceed is a great choice for people looking for a simple family hatchback that’s good value. It does exactly what you need in a car like this: it’s practical, well-equipped, comfortable, quiet inside and looks smart, but not flashy, from the outside. It’s also relatively cheap to run, should be reliable and has a very long warranty. It’s not as good to drive as some similar models and isn’t as efficient as some of the hybrid models available today, though.

Kia Ceed models, specs and alternatives

The Kia Ceed joins familiar names in the family hatchback class including the Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf. There’s also an estate version called the Kia Ceed Sportswagon, a more stylish-looking ProCeed version and even a model called the XCeed, which is taller and has a more rugged, SUV-like look (but it’s all the same car under the skin).

Best family cars 2023Top 10 best family cars 2024

The Ceed has been around for quite a long time, and developed a reputation for being a worthy, if a little dull alternative to the Ford Focus and SEAT Leon. However this most recent version should start to change that, as it’s actually surprisingly good to drive while also being comfortable, practical and quiet inside. Light controls mean it’s nice and easy to use, but without sacrificing enjoyment on twisty roads.

There aren’t many engines to choose from but the 1.5-litre T-GDi petrol motor is all you really need in a car like this. It has plenty of power, at 158bhp, so it can go from 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds, which is over a second faster than the equivalent Peugeot 308. It’s available with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed automatic.

Don’t fret the lack of a diesel option either as this engine is capable of around 50mpg according to official figures - although in a recent test against the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, we achieved a little less than that (about 45mpg).

Nearly every version of the Kia Ceed comes as standard with a crisp-shifting six-speed manual gearbox; however, opt for the range-topping GT-Line S model and you’ll instead get a seven-speed automatic transmission.

Speaking of the GT-Line S, this is one of four trim levels that are offered, alongside ‘2’, GT-Line and ‘3’. The level of standard equipment is high for even the base ‘2’ specification, with 16-inch alloy wheels, an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cruise control and a reversing camera all coming as part of the base price.

We recommend stepping up to the sporty-looking GT-Line, though, as this gets a racier bodykit, LED headlights, 17-inch diamond-cut alloys, heated seats and a larger 10.25-inch infotainment system with sat nav. Only around £500 more is the ‘3’ which ditches the GT-Line’s sportier styling in favour of a subtler look. 

The aforementioned top-of-the-range GT-Line S regains the standard GT-Line’s more-aggressive look, on top of digital dials and sumptuous leather and suede upholstery, but we’d avoid it as it costs a lot of money.

While the Ceed’s overall shape is conventional, Kia’s designers have graced the five-door hatch with some intricate details. This is clearest on the tail-lights; each unit is made from 48 honeycomb-shaped LED elements, which sit behind smoked glass. It’s a smart-looking model, especially next to the rather plain-looking previous-generation Ceeds.

Aside from its sporty drive and long equipment list, many will choose the Ceed because of its long seven-year warranty. Kia also managed an impressive sixth-place finish in our 2022 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, so the chances are you shouldn’t need to use it.

Trim levels

Power options

  • 2
  • GT-Line
  • 3
  • GT-Line S
  • 1.5 T-GDi manual (158bhp)
  • 1.5 T-GDi auto (158bhp)

Kia Ceed alternatives

Petrol family cars

Hybrid family cars

Electric family cars

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0T GDi ISG 2 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £18,875

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.6 CRDi 48V ISG 2 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £22,470

Fastest

  • Name
    1.6T GDi ISG GT 5dr DCT
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £27,110

Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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