DESPITE the seemingly unstoppable rise of SUVs and crossovers there still seems to be a market for the faithful family hatchback.
For many years such mid-sized cars were the go-to vehicles for most families.
While many buyers might now overlook them in favour of something boasting SUV-styling and a high driving position they still have much to recommend them.
Think back to when something like the Ford Focus was the best selling car in Britain and rivals like the Volkswagen Golf, Vauxhall Astra and a whole host of others clambered for a share of this hotly contested and highly popular segment.
Interestingly it's a segment some have now bowed out of, like Nissan - which no longer has an Almera - just crossovers like the Juke and Qashqai.
Kia's long-serving Ceed has probably been one of the more overlooked hatchbacks over the years it has been with us - the Korean car maker's SUVs getting most of the plaudits.
It is certainly a car that has improved with age - as indeed have most Kias.
Design-wise the original was not overly exciting but the latest version is actually rather eye-catching.
At the risk of over-egging the plaudits I might be so bold as to suggest it looks a little Mercedes-like as far as its overall profile is concerned.
The third generation version does much to up the game compared to its predecessors.
In addition to those classy looks it's bigger for a start, wider and with a longer rear overhang to provide an additional 15 litres of boot space.
On the inside there has been noticeable move upmarket and quality is to the fore throughout in terms of materials and equipment.
The dashboard is impressively laid out and characterised by top-notch switchgear where no corner seems to have been cut.
The centrally placed infotainment touchscreen is well designed and very intuitive too.
As far as the range goes there's plenty of choice with three engines, two transmissions and four trim levels.
Engine-wise there are two petrols - a 1.0-litre 118bhp unit or an all-new 1.4-litre unit delivering 138bhp.
On the diesel side the Ceed is available with a 1.6-litre engine offering 114bhp.
A slick-shifting six-speed manual gearbox is the standard offering, while the 1.4-litre T-GDi and 1.6-litre CRDi powertrains are available with a seven-speed DCT automatic transmission.
Trim levels are 2, Blue Edition, 3 and First Edition.
Even an entry level 2 model comes with 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.
Blue Edition adds 17-inch alloys, privacy glass, rear parking sensors, stainless steel pedals, a USB fast charger, an eight-inch touchscreen with sat nav and more, while 3 also has dual-zone automatic air conditioning and upgraded upholstery.
Blue Edition is a special version that comes in a Blue Flame colour.
This was a range-topping First Edition model and felt both super plush and high tech.
Features include a park assist system, black leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats with huge scope for adjustment, a sunroof, heated steering wheel and plenty more.
This car had the 1.4 T-GDi turbocharged petrol engine, which proved a smooth performer and a great example of the very grown-up generation of smaller petrol units that deliver an irresistible blend of performance and economy.
Travelling from 0-60mph in 8.6 seconds might not seem super quick but it felt sprightly enough and has a combined economy figure of 50mpg.
The Kia engineers have clearly worked hard at delivering a car that is engaging to drive and while it's no thrill machine I found it an enjoyable experience overall.
It handled nicely and ride quality was noticeably smooth and comfortable too.
Safety features on First Edition cars are also impressive and include smart cruise control with Stop and Go, blind spot collision warning, smart parking assist and pedestrian recognition for forward collision warning.