The all-new Kia Cee’d shares much with the 2012 Hyundai i30, but has a clean crisp style all of its own.
The design and engineering has been done in Germany and as before the Cee’d is built in Slovakia. Kia’s credibility as a maker of cars that can compete with those from Europe and Japan comes largely from the previous Kia Cee’d, and the new one aims to continue the process.
The nose bears a new version of the pinched Kia grille, separated from the headlights. The waistline rises steeply as it heads rearwards, and the whole car is 50mm longer and, in a welcome development, 10mm narrower despite having extra interior space. Weight has dropped slightly, too. There’s an attempt to give the cabin a premium feel, and the engines – two petrol and two diesel, each type of 1.4 or 1.6 litres – are all calibrated to generate minimal CO2.
Power options are 99 or 133bhp petrol, 89bhp for the 1.4 turbodiesel and either 108 or 126bhp for the 1.6 diesel. All come with six-speed gearboxes, be they manual, conventional auto or double-clutch semi-auto.
But if you care little about how your car handles and prefer a relaxed, comfortable ride, then the Kia scores highly – it handles bumps and ruts okay, with just a hint of firmness. However, it’s sensitive to tyres: the cars we tested were fitted with Hankooks or Continentals, the former adding an extra degree of firmness.
As with trim levels, prices will be announced closer to June, but Kia hopes they’ll start from around £14,500 and settle at around 5 per cent less than the equivalent Focus. But don’t forget that every Cee’d comes with something no other rival does – a seven-year warranty.
There’ll be more Cee’d action later this year, too, with the estate arriving in September and then a three-door Pro_cee’d being shown at the Paris Motor Show at the end of that month – it’ll be more coupe than three-door according to Kia, and come with the 184bhp 1.6 turbo engine from sister company Hyundai’s Veloster coupe.