IN an era when virtually every new car on the market seems to be an SUV it's great to get behind the wheel of a sporting hatchback.
And not just any sporting hatchback but one which has been a best seller for Korean car maker Kia since the first generation models rolled off the production line back in 2006.
The all-new, third generation Ceed is a very different animal to the original, but like the Mk 1 is expected to account for a high proportion of Kia's European sales.
Lower, wider and with a longer rear overhang than the model it replaces the latest version, particularly in GT format as looked at here, oozes style and street cred both inside and out.
With streamlined, athletic styling and a ride height reduced by 5mm compared to other Ceed models the GT is not only the quickest model in the range but has the looks to prove it.
With twin built-in exhausts and 18-inch alloy wheels framing the red brake calipers the GT sets the standard.
Step inside and the sports theme continue here too with high-backed sports seats in a black leather and suede effect with contrasting red stripe, red GT emblem and red stitching.
Sharp, easy to read dials with red pointers sit immediately in front of the driver and there's a centrally set iPad-style touch screen to access both the satellite navigation system and numerous on-board features.
The same screen shows exactly what's behind you when you go into reverse courtesy of a colour reversing camera, but if your reversing skills leave much to be desired the GT will park itself for you with you just controlling the brake and accelerator.
The stylish interior is enhanced by the use of piano black inserts on the dashboard and around the gearshift, mirroring the material sitting below the traditional Kia "tiger nose" grille. And the distinctive Kia ice cube-like daylight running lights have gone, giving way to a more up-market interpretation.
Hit the push-button starter and the 1.6-litre, 201bhp engine bursts into life with a nice throaty roar which can be enhanced if you hit the Sport button.
Opting for Sport also sharpens up the driving dynamics of the car with changes to the weight of the steering and to the engine and transmission responses. The revs tend to remain higher too to give you a sharper getaway.
On the move the Ceed GT is a impressive mover which lives up to its badging with a lively response to the accelerator - hitting 62 miles per hour in just 7.2 seconds, and good road holding and cornering.
The ride is on the firm side as you would expect from a GT model but not at the expense of comfort. But while sound proofing is good there is quite a lot of road noise.
The sports seats with their large side and thigh bolsters are a boon on sharp corners, holding you firmly in place to help ensure you have anything but a boring drive.
The Ceed GT is a very well equipped car with standard features including heated seats, a heated steering wheel and a whole compendium of safety features.
And it has the distinction of being both a sensible family car - with generous interior space for passengers and 395 litres of luggage space (rising to 1,291 litres with the rear seatbacks lowered) - and a thrill-a-minute GT.