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

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.5 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

4.0 out of 5

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 two petrol engines and both can be recommended, depending on your needs. The 1.0-litre T-GDI has 118bhp and accelerates from 0-60mph in 11.2 seconds, while the new 1.5-litre T-GDI with 158bhp takes a respectable 8.4 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.

Before the facelift, Kia also sold a GT model with a powerful 201bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine. While it wasn’t on the same level as something like the Hyundai i30 N or Ford Focus ST, it was pretty quick, hitting 0-60mph in around seven seconds. It brought higher running costs, was only available with an automatic gearbox, and made up a small proportion of sales. This engine is still available in the Kia ProCeed, however.

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 extra, 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 around 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 has a smooth power delivery.

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.

Next Steps

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
    £21,055

Fastest

  • Name
    1.6T GDi ISG GT 5dr DCT
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £26,760

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