It's all change for the cee'd
ON sale from this month the new, second generation Kia cee'd offers a genuine alternative to the established volume selling brands with sharper styling, more efficient engineering and added equipment.
Longer, narrower and lower than before, the new cee'd has evolved into a more sporting, upmarket looking model.
The longer body sits on a longer wheelbase which allows the cee'd to expand what was already a generous sized cabin giving front passengers increased head and legroom and more shoulder room while adding 40 litres to boot space turning it into a class leading 380 litre volume.
The new cee'd is offered with the choice of four engines: 1.4 and 1.6 capacities in both petrol and diesel. All promise better fuel economy than before – up to 76mpg – and lower emissions – down to 97 g/km.
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Likely to be the best seller is the competent, if unspectacular,126bhp 1.6-litre diesel with stop-start which has a combined cycle potential fuel economy of more than 76mpg, with CO2 emissions from 97 g/km, depending on the wheel and tyre combination.
For a livelier performance you will need to opt for the 133bhp 1.6-litre petrol which is familiar from the Kia Sportage. It can be pushed harder and is more responsive in all gears.
One of the best features of the cee'd that might get overlooked is the way it handles. Kia is one of the few brands in the sector to offer independent rear suspension which gives it a very balanced feel on the road.
Where Kia has made fewer strides forward is with the steering – despite the introduction of a new optional Flex Steer function within the standard motor driven power steering.
The new cee'd is available in five trim grades – named 1, 2, 3 and 4 in the now-customary Kia fashion – with the option of a 4 Tech version.
All come with safety features such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) plus electrically adjustable heated door mirrors, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, height-adjustable driver's seat, air conditioning, steering wheel-mounted controls, front electric windows and daytime running lights.
There's also remote central locking, a cooled glovebox, a flat-folding 60:40 split rear seat, an iPod-compatible audio system with radio and CD player, USB port and Bluetooth connectivity.
The top seller will be grade 2 that adds in 16-inch alloy wheels, cornering lights, LED daytime running lights and rear combination lamps, electrically folding and heated door mirrors, leather trim on the steering wheel, gearshifter and hand brake, greater use of chrome highlights, a rear centre armrest, all-round electric windows, cruise control with speed limiter, reversing sensors and the Flex Steer function.
All this added kit and technology doesn't come cheap with prices starting from £14,395 – in fact, in some cases the new cee'd is up to £4,000 more expensive than before.
The latest model may not be the revolution that its predecessor was but it is helping Kia to take a step up out of the bargain basement.