In-depth reviews

Kia Ceed hatchback - Engines, drive & performance

Both of the Kia Ceed's T-GDI petrol engines are smooth and punchy, but the smaller engine should be enough for most

Kia has designed the latest Ceed to be more engaging, sharpening up its chassis and serving up quicker steering with fewer turns lock-to-lock. Drivers can also choose from Normal and Sport modes, adjusting settings like the feel of the steering and sensitivity of the throttle to suit more relaxed, economy-focused driving or having a bit more fun.

The steering impresses with its direct and weighty feel, while there’s less body lean than in previous versions of Kia’s family hatch. Ride comfort in town on 17-inch alloy wheels (fitted to most trim levels) disappoints, because while the stiff new suspension helps cornering, the Ceed has a firmer ride than before. It’s grippy and composed, though, making the Ceed more enjoyable than the Hyundai i30, even if it’s not quite an enthusiast's choice like the Ford Focus or Mazda3.

Kia Ceed petrol engines

There are three petrol engines and all can be recommended, depending on your needs. The 1.0-litre T-GDI has 118bhp and accelerates from 0-60mph in 10.8 seconds, while the new 1.5-litre T-GDI with 158bhp takes a respectable 8.1 seconds to do the same. It’s an impressive engine, feeling smooth and punchy when pulling away or if you put your foot down in a higher gear.

A 1.6-litre petrol with 201bhp is reserved for the GT model; it’s not quite a hot hatchback like the Honda Civic Type R but its 7.1-second 0-60mph time is pretty quick. It’s only available with Kia’s seven-speed automatic gearbox and is a little heavier on fuel, managing 41.5mpg.

Every engine besides the 1.6-litre petrol is paired with a six-speed manual gearbox, unless you choose the optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, which is available for the 1.5-litre T-GDi petrol and 1.6-litre CRDi diesel. This costs around £800, but we found it could be a bit sluggish, so we recommend sticking with the easy and sweet-shifting manual.

Diesel engines

Kia has introduced a 1.6-litre CRDi diesel engine with 134bhp and mild-hybrid hardware. Not only is it quieter than before, it’s also a lot cleaner. Both the manual and automatic versions take less than 10 seconds to go from 0-60mph. Despite the engine’s relatively modest output, it feels brisk enough on the road and proves a good match for the entry-level 2.0-litre TDI in the Volkswagen Golf, with its extra torque making it feel a bit quicker in real-word scenarios. It’s just as quiet and boasts smooth power delivery, too.

The diesel features 48-volt mild-hybrid technology, which recuperates some energy as the car decelerates and under braking, stores it in a small battery and then uses it to assist the engine.

Most Popular

New Toyota GR86 unveiled
2021 Toyota GR86 - front 3/4 view
Toyota
6 Apr 2021

New Toyota GR86 unveiled

Best new car deals 2021
i20
Deals
9 Apr 2021

Best new car deals 2021

UK road tax rules for 2021 explained
2021 Road Tax explained
Tips and advice
8 Apr 2021

UK road tax rules for 2021 explained

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Tips and advice
28 Dec 2020

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Tips and advice
10 Nov 2020

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – what's the difference?
Tips and Advice
23 Mar 2020

PCP vs HP – what's the difference?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
24 Feb 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Best car interiors
Best cars
10 Mar 2020

Best car interiors

Best electric cars
Best cars
24 Dec 2020

Best electric cars

Best cheap-to-run cars
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
1 Feb 2021

Best cheap-to-run cars

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Hot hatches
9 Apr 2020

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks