- Superb refinement
- Smooth and comfortable drive
- Plenty of tech
Launched at the end of 2021, this third generation 5-door hatchback in entry-level 2 spec which is built in Slovakia gives nothing away to rivals and beats most with its equipment and value.
But that’s almost doing it an injustice because it also drives extremely well, with front strut and rear multi-link suspension putting it in a sporting class which doubles as a load lugging family hold all.
We tried the best-selling 2 model, with a 1.0-litre engine with standard 6-speed manual gearbox, but you can order a more powerful petrol or hybrid diesel in the hatchback style. There's also a Sports Wagon design.
Kia's engineers have very carefully developed the little engine to make it smooth and responsive as well as economical with modest emissions at the tailpipe, and it comes with an automatic stop/start function to stretch the miles per gallon.
It all worked very well on test, and although we tried our best we couldn't manage to get it above 50mpg, but were extremely close to doing so.
Having a smooth, easy changing 6-speed gearbox with really well-chosen ratios and visible reminders to change up is key to the Ceed’s economy. We found it was possibly too long-legged for our hilly test route and needed frequent down-changes to pull along and maintain progress, but it was utterly composed on two 50-mile motorway runs.
No one pretends the Ceed 1.0-litre GDi is a performance family car, but it’s handling is surprisingly good and suggests it could easily take a lot more power while providing a very comfortable ride.
Noise levels were surprisingly low for such a small engine when it was pushed hard through the gears, and it really was very composed at the legal limit on motorways.
Wind and other mechanical noises were modest, and it was only the occasional suspension bump-thump which could be heard.
Those in front have good seat adjustment and legroom, but it’s slightly shorter for three in the back, although all found the seats comfortable.
Oddments room throughout was good even if the compartments weren't huge, while the boot space was adequate but not generous unless the seats were folded, and it was easy to load and exit.
For the driver, everything came to hand and foot as it should and everything was logically laid out on the wheel spokes, low down on the fascia or more prominently on the central console to control heating and ventilation.
Technology and Safety
The central 8-inch display for infotainment was very clear and well-marked, as were the driver’s speedometer and tachometer instruments with supporting dials for fuel and engine temperature.
We liked the big front and rear windows, deep side windows and the wash/wipe but thought the intelligent headlights were slow responding and not particularly bright or wide unless you were on main beam, when it was much better.
There are a host of driving aids to elevate safety and integrate with a user’s smartphone, but no standard navigation built in at grade 2.
The Kia Ceed 2 might be an entry-level model on paper, but its refinement puts it above many competitors, and it would embarrass larger challengers costing significantly more money, particularly when you consider its excellent range of equipment and standard 7-year warranty.