Kia Ceed – You Reap What You Sow
Kia has well and truly planted its cee’d in the UK car market.
And while it has a number of things going for it, the most talked about is its warranty package. You’ll probably get fed up with the car long before that runs out…
Although that might be a bit unfair, because the new Kia is such a good all round package that you could very conceivably opt to buy another one. But, as Hyundai owners found out with the five-year deal offered by the Korean giant on its new products, it makes shifting the car second-hand an easier proposition when you can sell it after three years with two years of the deal still to go. Now Kia have beaten that with a incredible seven-year 100,000-mile warranty on the new cee’d, which went on sale in the UK in February. It’s probably the most important car they have ever launched in the UK, taking over from the worthy but not exactly top-selling Cerato. It’s been designed in Europe, because if you want a car to appeal to Europeans the only place to put it together is in Europe. It’s built in Europe at a new state-of-the-art factory in Slovakia. And it’s sold exclusively in Europe. And to make it sell, they’ve given it a Euro hatchback look, with the sort of neat five-door styling that makes it look not a lot different to its main rivals, the Focus/Golf/307/Astra/Megane quartet in the C sector. Later in the year comes the three-door, and Motoring Citizen readers probably won’t have missed the convertible concept we featured a while back. If that doesn’t get people into cee’d ownership, then I don’t know what will. Where they’ve attempted to win over converts – apart from with the warranty – is in the standard equipment, which includes driver and front passenger active head restraints (you can never have too many safety features in my opinion); aircon with a cooled glovebox; and USB port, AUX input and MP3 capability on all but entry-level models because they know we all like using our iPods.
Our test car, the 1.6 diesel-powered offering, combined decent performance with good economy over our time behind the wheel, and the clutch and five-speed gearbox have a synchronicity that others will be envious of. Quick, smooth changes prompt you to tick the ‘exemplary’ box. Brakes are good, progressive and with no snatching, so you can bring it to a quick halt without any dramas and, while there’s a bit of body roll evident if you indulge in some exuberant cornering, it has an overall user-friendly set up that will win it a lot of chums. Ride is comfortable, and it absorbs potholes and undulations well. Seats are OK – not over-supportive, and maybe a bit on the flat side, but certainly comfortable enough. You can drive a fair way without any aches of pains to distract you. Its wide-track, long wheelbase and relatively tall roofline means here is plenty room aboard for five adults, and there’s a decent boot for luggage too, before you start playing around with the rear seats to get Great Aunt Maud’s antique chest of drawers back home.
It’s roomy and well-priced, starting at under £11,000 on the road, with our test car, an LS spec vehicle with the 1.6 CRDi engine, the most expensive at £14,245. With its 115bhp and 255Nm of torque at 1900rpm upwards, acceleration was again given good marks. Not earth-shattering, but not at all bad.
The interior is neat without setting the world on fire but the info panel in the centre gives all the relevant information you could possibly need. There’s also a set of lights to let you know if those in the back are belted up. A neat touch but possibly a bit superfluous.
Like I said, the cee’d’s been planted, and it will grow. Kia are aiming for three per cent of the UK market and 100,000 sales annually. It’s not an unrealistic target.