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In-depth reviews

Kia Ceed hatchback - Engines, drive & performance

The Kia Ceed is only available with one petrol engine; thankfully, it's a good one

Carbuyer Rating

4.2 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.

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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

The new 1.5-litre T-GDI petrol engine with 158bhp takes a respectable 8.4 seconds to get from 0-62mph. It’s an impressive engine, feeling smooth and punchy when pulling away or if you put your foot down in a higher gear – although when you let your foot off the accelerator pedal and dip the clutch it takes a while for the revs to drop, so it’s more suited to those who change gear slowly.

There was previously a 1.0-litre T-GDI petrol, with 118bhp and offering acceleration from 0-60mph in 11.2 seconds, but this isn't currently available to order. We're hoping Kia will bring this back if supply shortages affecting the industry subside.

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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 has also been removed from the Kia ProCeed lineup.

Diesel engines

Kia previously offered a 1.6-litre CRDi diesel engine with 134bhp and mild-hybrid hardware, but it isn't currently available to order - though of course you can buy them used, so it’s worth mentioning. Not only was it quieter than before it was 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.

Model 

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

1.5 T-GDi

158bhp

8.4s

130mph

1.0 T-GDi (discontinued)

118bhp

11.2s

118mph

1.6 CRDi diesel (discontinued)

134bhp

10s

117mph

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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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