Kia Ceed

The Essentials

  • Price from £14,395
  • What Car? says: 4 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 76.3mpg
  • What is it? A Korean car that beats many European rivals on merit, not only on value

Great

  • It's roomy enough for you plus a trio of rugby players
  • Around town, it's quick on its feet
  • You get a seven-year warranty for peace of mind

Gripes

  • It's not as much fun as a Ford Focus
  • You have to buy the top-spec if you want luxuries
  • You'll feel it shudder if you drive over deep potholes
  • Drive

    It's in its element around town and copes reasonably well on country roads

  • Inside

    You can see what's going on around you and tweak the seat/wheel to get comfy

  • Safety

    There's plenty to protect you, including all-round airbags and anti-whiplash headrests

  • Reliability

    It's too early to tell how trustworthy it will be, but you get a seven-year warranty

  • Space

    You can fit four burly grown-ups in and the boot is big enough for lots of shopping

  • Standard and extras

    Even basic trim has plenty

  • What's it like to drive?

    Gone are the days when buying a Korean car meant suffering a shonky drive: the latest Cee'd's underpinnings are as sophisticated as the best European hatches. Ride comfort is most impressive, because the Kia mops up anything Britain's scarred roads can throw at it. If anything, the suspension is a tad slack, allowing the bonnet to bob up and down over undulating roads. The steering is a bit vague, too.
    Steer clear of the 133bhp 1.6 petrol engine. It isn't nearly as punchy as its power output suggests, so you need to work it hard to make brisk progress. The 126bhp 1.6 diesel is a much better bet, because it pulls strongly, revs sweetly and is remarkably quiet and efficient.

  • What's it like inside?

    One of the best things about the Cee'd is how big it is inside. There's plenty of room for four adults to stretch out in comfort, and boot is a good deal larger than most small family cars  including the VW Golf's, so can easily swallow a big buggy.
    You'll have little trouble finding a comfortable driving position thanks to a wide range of adjustments for the seats and steering wheel. The fuss-free dashboard also impresses, because all the important controls are large and easy to hit at a glance. It's just a shame the design and colour scheme is so bland.
    Top-spec cars have an easy-to-read HD system called Supervision fitted, to minimise eyestrain when reading the controls.
    There are five trim levels - from basic 1 to gadget-packed 4 Tech. We'd stick with the cheapest, though, because you still get air-con, electric front windows, central locking, and an iPod-compatible stereo system with Bluetooth connectivity.

  • How reliable is it?

    Kia has struggled with reliability in the past, but the previous-generation Cee'd scored above average marks for mechanical reliability in the most recent JD Power survey. And if anything does go wrong, there's the peace of mind of Kia's seven-year/100,000-mile warranty.
    Standard safety equipment includes six airbags and electronic stability control. In its 2012 crash test the Cee'd scored five stars, with 89% for adult protection and 88% for child protection - Ford's Focus scored 92% and 82% respectively.

  • Should I buy one?

    Absolutely. In the past, the Cee'd biggest draw was its low price, but this latest version beats most European rivals - including the Ford Focus - on merit. In fact, the only rival that stands head and shoulders above the Kia is the mighty VW Golf.
    The great news is the Cee'd's price is still temptingly low, and the diesel versions cost peanuts to run thanks to rock-bottom CO2 emissions and impressive fuel economy. Factor in that seven-year warranty, and you'd be mad not to consider the Cee'd.