Kia Ceed 1.4 T-GDI

GT-Line DCT

Kia Ceed, dynamic
Kia Ceed, front
Kia Ceed, dynamic, head on
Kia Ceed, rear
Kia Ceed, interior
Kia Ceed, dashboard

SINCE it first started rolling off production lines in late 2006 the Ceed, or cee'd as it was called then, has been a key part of Kia's ascent to the top table of the global motor industry.

Alongside the ever-popular Sportage SUV and Picanto supermini, this medium sized hatchback has been firmly established in the upwardly-mobile South Korean brand's best-selling list ever since.

Now, much to the relief of pedants like me, written with a capital letter and without a pointless apostrophe, it exemplifies Kia's winning formula - doing what it needs to very well indeed for the price without necessarily pulling up too many trees.

A 15-model range based around five engines, petrol and diesel ranging from 1.0 to 1.6-litres; manual and automatic transmissions; and six trim grades offers plenty of choice to suit all tastes and budgets - with prices starting from £18,855.

Mechanically the 1.4-litre T-GDI turbocharged petrol power plant in our test car is arguably the pick of the range for the balance that it strikes between decent everyday performance and economy.

Kicking out 138bhp and paired with a smooth seven-speed automatic transmission - a six-speed manual is also available - it will propel the Ceed from 0-60mph in less than nine seconds and on to a top speed of 127mph while offering 45.6 miles per gallon on average.

It's punchy and responsive enough to cope with urban driving conditions but also slips into a refined and relaxed cruise at motorway speeds.

The fully independent suspension system ensures that the ride remains comfortable, even over some of the patchy surfaces that pass for roads these days, and the handling is pleasantly nimble and agile - making for an enjoyable and uncomplicated driving experience.

Wider and lower than previous iterations the current, third-generation, Ceed hunkers down on the road and cuts quite a dynamic figure in any trim with its clean, smooth lines, smart alloys and sloping roofline.

Kia's trademark ‘tiger nose' grille is imposingly proportioned across the nose of the car and sits above a substantial air intake, which adds a muscular touch without going over the top. There are definitely echoes of the company's stylish Stinger sports saloon here - and that's no bad thing.

GT-Line cars like ours, sitting mid-range and costing £24,235, also get some of the sportier body kit and design cues featured on the 143mph full-on GT version - which is the one to look for if you want genuine boy-racer thrills - for added visual appeal.

The cabin offers good space for a family hatchback with room for four to travel comfortably, five on shorter journeys, with decent knee and head room in the back too, while personal storage is well catered for, certainly for front seat passengers.

Interior quality also impresses, with tactile, soft-touch materials used extensively and a reassuringly solid feel to all the switchgear and fixtures and fittings.

A good sized boot, at 395-litres, is capacious enough to cope with most day-to-day family needs and also features an adjustable floor which allows owners to lower or raise the height, to accommodate bulkier cargo or eradicate the load lip and create a hidden compartment beneath. The 60/40 split rear seats can also be folded down to boost load-carrying capacity to 1,291 litres.

As with all Kias, and what ensures the brand still offers great value for money despite being priced well above bargain-basement levels these days, the Ceed gets some genuinely impressive levels of kit for what you pay.

All cars get an intuitive touchscreen infotainment system, along with a reversing camera, DAB radio, Bluetooth with voice recognition and Android and Apple smartphone compatibility as well as cruise control, air conditioning, lane keep assist, automatic emergency braking and electric windows all-round.

GT-Line spec adds niceties such as navigation and privacy glass while automatic models also get paddle shifters and a drive mode select system, offering the choice of normal and sport driving characteristics, as well as all the sporty design extras.

The Ceed is a good looking, enjoyable to drive and very well equipped motor with decent space and practicality that won't break the bank - all fine reasons to take a look at it if you're shopping for a decent family hatchback.

FAST FACTS

Kia Ceed 1.4 T-GDI GT-Line DCT

Price: £24,235

Mechanical: 138bhp, 1,353cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 127mph

0-62mph: 8.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 45.6

Insurance Group: 14

C02 emissions:142g/km

Bik rating: 33%

Warranty: 7yrs/100,000 miles

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