Kia Ceed spells it

out

Kia Ceed, 2018, nose
Kia Ceed, 2018, front
Kia Ceed, 2018, side
Kia Ceed, 2018, rear
Kia Ceed, 2018, rear seats
Kia Ceed, 2018, display screen
Kia Ceed, 2018, interior
Kia Ceed, 2018, boot

IT'S ditched the lower-case letters and annoying apostrophe, but the all-new third generation Ceed certainly spells out a warning to rivals.

It's not just a naming exercise either with cee'd becoming Ceed because the latest five-door model from the Korean marque oozes quality.

The car is new from the ground up and buyers can select from 11 variants that are based on three engines, two transmissions and four trim levels.

When the original Kia cee'd began production in Slovakia in 2006, who would have guessed that more than 1.3 million units would be built and, like its predecessors, the new Ceed has been designed, developed and engineered in Frankfurt by Kia's European design, product development and R&D teams.

And what a looker it is. The new Ceed is lower, wider and, with a longer rear overhang, looks far sportier and dynamic in its styling.

The traditional ‘tiger nose' grille has been stretched and there are lower air intakes as well as ice cube LED daytime running lights.

It features a 395-litre boot which is 15 litres larger than its predecessor and 60:40 split-folding rear seats can be lowered to increase the storage capacity to 1,291 litres.

The interior has taken a step upmarket too with the introduction of improved quality materials throughout.

The dashboard is laid out horizontally for a more sculpted appearance and the dash itself is split into two sections.

The upper half houses the floating touchscreen infotainment system and the lower level is where the controls for the audio, heating and ventilation are located.

There's a wide choice of powertrains on offer. On the petrol front is a 1.0-litre 118bhp engine or an all-new 1.4-litre unit delivering 138bhp.

Diesel fans will be delighted to learn that the Ceed is available with Kia's all-new U3 diesel engine that has been designed to be cleaner than the strict Euro-6d-Temp Emissions regulations laid down. It's a 1.6-litre engine with 114bhp.

Each engine is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, while the 1.4-litre T-GDi and 1.6-litre CRDi powertrains are also available with a seven-speed DCT automatic transmission.

Buyers can select from generously equipped trim levels called ‘2', ‘Blue Edition', ‘3' and ‘First Edition' and all models are front-wheel drive.

Grade ‘2' offers the likes of cruise control with speed limiter, air conditioning, electric windows, automatic lights, 16-inch alloys, fog lights, premium cloth upholstery, DAB radio, Bluetooth with voice recognition and full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

Move up to Blue Edition and you will see the introduction of 17-inch alloys, privacy glass, rear parking sensors, stainless steel pedals, a USB fast charger, an eight-inch touchscreen with sat nav and plenty more besides.

Blue Edition is a special version available from launch and is paired with the 1.4 T-GDI engine - it is available in a new launch colour called Blue Flame.

Grade ‘3' builds on the comprehensive equipment levels of Blue Edition and includes dual-zone automatic air conditioning and upgraded upholstery.

Finally, range-topping First Edition brings lots of smart technology with a park assist system. There's black leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats with 10-way power adjustment, a sunroof, heated steering wheel and a list that goes on.

We tried two Ceed models on motorways, country lanes and the twisting mountain roads of Slovakia.

First up was the 1.4 T-GDi petrol model in range-topping First Edition trim and mated to a seven-speed automatic gearbox.

This car, costing £26,850, could sprint to 60mph from a standing start in 8.9 seconds and maxed out at 128mph. According to official figures, it delivers combined fuel economy of 50.4mpg with carbon emissions of 127g/km.

The First Edition grade is premium in its styling and the level of on-board technology is very generous. Comfort levels are excellent and there's ample room in the back for two adults or three on shorter journeys.

The acceleration through the gears is smooth and responsive with ample power on tap. There are Normal and Sport driving modes that adjust the car's dynamics and economy with Sport livening up the throttle responses and steering for sharper handling.

Many of the roads in Slovakia were quite pitted so the drive was a fair reflection of how the car will handle back home and it proved most capable.

Kia focused on dynamism and driver engagement when upgrading the new suspension and steering systems and this is most apparent when firing along winding roads with lots of hairpin bends.

The road holding is accomplished and the cabin is refined with barely a sound filtering through from the engine or road surface.

Most bumps and dips are ironed out along the way, and all but the most severe surfaces are dealt with.

Motorway cruising is a breeze and even at higher national speed limits the car feels comfortable and confident to push on.

Next up was the Ceed ‘2' powered by the all-new 1.6-litre diesel engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.

This car, priced at £19,545, could complete the 0-60mph dash in 10.6 seconds, topped out at 118mph and boasted impressive running costs with combined fuel economy of 74.3mpg and carbon emissions of 99g/km.

Once again, the Ceed impressed on a range of roads and although it wasn't quite as sharp as the petrol model, it boasted ample power to overtake slower moving vehicles.

The diesel engine is nicely tuned and barely a sound can be heard even under heavy acceleration. This is the model that will have the fleet market sitting up and taking note.

The Ceed is packed with safety features and driver aids too such as seven airbags, high beam assist, driver attention warning, lane keep assist and forward collision warning with forward collision avoidance assist.

A first for Kia on the safety front is the introduction of Lane Follow Assist, which is fitted as standard to First Edition versions. This tracks the car in front of the Ceed in traffic and identifies safe and appropriate spaces in other lanes to gain ground in heavy traffic.

It detects lane markings to keep the car on track on motorways and controls acceleration, braking and steering depending on the convoy of vehicles ahead. This system operates between 0 and 81mph.

And there's even more safety and driver assist kit as standard on First Edition cars, such as smart cruise control with Stop and Go, blind spot collision warning, smart parking assist, plus pedestrian recognition for forward collision warning.

As usual, every Ceed comes with Kia's unique seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty which is fully transferable if the car is sold on.

The new Ceed is in showrooms from August 1 and will be priced from £18,295 rising to £26,850. The car is the first of a whole new Ceed family that Kia will be launching over the next two years - exciting times.

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