KIA'S evolution from a budget car maker to a sought-after brand has been nothing short of transformational.
Driving Kias for the first time 15 years ago they had plenty to recommend them but the undisputed standout feature was value for money.
This emerging Korean marque was undercutting Japanese and European car makers by some considerable distance but buyers needed to makes compromises,
From an exterior perspective they were drab rather than stylish and on the inside quality and refinement were lacking.
The first game-changer for Kia was its Sorento SUV which delivered a decent looking and capable family 4x4 that gave cars costing more than twice the price a real run for their money.
Since then Kia has delivered model after model that have upped the ante and closed the gap on the Japanese and Europeans.
Having former Audi design supremo Peter Schreyer on board certainly helped but much work has been done across the board to drive Kia onwards and upwards at a rapid pace.
Engineering and interior ergonomics have advanced at rates reminiscent of the rise of Japanese marques decades ago when they had the Europeans in their sights.
Today cars like the Sportage are setting the pace in their class while more quirky creations like the Soul show Kia is capable of thinking outside the box when it wants to.
The original cee'd represented Kia's effort to do battle with established family hatchbacks like the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf and represented a great effort, though it was still slightly off the pace.
Since then it has evolved considerably and the current version has very little that's lacking - perhaps only that slightly convoluted name that still seems a tad odd.
While the latest cee'd doesn't boast the more individual looks of the Sportage it's a nice looking car.
Simple and elegant it certainly isn't going to offend at all and its simplicity should ensure the design will age well.
This GT-Line model apes the look of the more performance-focused GT model and as such has added appeal.
Stand-out features at the front include the ice cube-style LED daytime running lights with black surround and a black high-gloss mesh main grille with a graphite chrome surround.
At the rear there's a snazzy rear bumper with a recessed numberplate and dual exhausts.
Seventeen-inch alloy wheels complete the sporty looking package.
The interior is stylishly crafted and easily on a par with its more established rivals in the segment - with elements that hint towards the premium end of the market rather than the mainstream.
Once upon a time Kia interiors and instrumentation were garish and gaudy but this oozes sophistication and style.
There are also some sporty flourishes in the GT line including a leather steering wheel and gear knob and alloy pedals.
The cee'd is also immensely practical, a roomy family hatchback with the feel of a much bigger car, almost like a compact MPV.
Another attraction is Kia's new three-cylinder petrol engine making its debut in this car.
In line with the current trend for efficient but powerful three-cylinder units it is far more capable than it's relatively meagre 1.0-litre capacity might suggest.
This direct injection unit shows how far Kia have come in engineering terms. Smooth, refined and potent it represents a strong argument from a buyer's perspective for going down the efficient petrol route rather than plumping for a diesel.
It delivers 118bhp and helps to deliver a surprisingly pleasant driving experience for the more enthusiastic driver.
At the same time it offers 57.6mpg on the combined fuel cycle, with CO2 emissions of 115g/km.
It's not just that impressive engine that helps deliver a decent driver's car either. The cee'd handles splendidly and offers a genuinely fun drive - even though the GT-Line doesn't have any special suspension set-up.
It's comfortable too with the kind of ride quality befitting a far more expensive piece of machinery.