Kia Ceed facelift Test Drive Review
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Kia has given the Ceed a mid-life makeover to help it compete against mid-size rivals including the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf. In the update, the Ceed's 1.6-litre diesel motor jumps in power from 126hp to 134hp, while emissions fall by up to 10g/km.
Meanwhile, Kia has introduced a new dual-clutch gearbox, which cuts emissions for automatic models by nearly 25% - meaning much lower benefit-in-kind payments for drivers.
A fleet-friendly 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit is also now available - in 98hp and 118hp guises - and returns claimed economy of 57.6mpg and emissions of just 115g/km, which places it into the 18% BIK band - the same as the more expensive manual 136hp diesel.
Also arriving with the updated Ceed is a GT Line trim, which offers the sporty styling of the powerful GT model without the performance or increased fuel costs.
The automatic diesel model provides reasonably strong performance while being capable of 67.3mpg and 109g/km(down from 72.4mpg and 102g/km for the manual). The new gearbox offers relatively smooth changes, although it can't compete with Volkswagen's DSG gearbox for ultimate smoothness or speed.
The diesel engine itself also can't match the refinement of rival motors, with a little more noise and vibration getting into the cabin than drivers might expect.
The suspension, on the other hand, provides a comfortable - though slightly firm - ride, although the payoff is that the Ceed proves nimble around corners with several steering weight settings to choose from: Comfort, Normal and Sport. There is little wind or road noise inside, too, which makes the Ceed quiet on the motorway.
More impressive, though, is the 1.0-litre petrol. In 118hp form this engine feels smooth, quiet and responsive, offering greater acceleration than the on-paper 10.7 seconds 0-62mph figure suggests.
The Ceed's interior feels well built and features a clear layout, but more upmarket rivals such as the VW Golf and BMW 1-series are more tactile and nicely designed. Space in both rows of seats, though, is generous, with even the middle rear seat offering decent leg and headroom. Visibility, however, isn't great, with large pillars front and rear.
Whole-life cost figures for the updated Ceed are yet to be released, but a list price of £23,730 for the range-topping 1.6 CRDi 4 DCT seems high, meaning that the stylish Seat Leon 1.6 TDI 110 SE Technology DSG (45.7p) is likely to offer better value.
Opt for a lower-specification Ceed, however, and the tables are likely to be turned, as '4' trim is stuffed with high-end kit and carries a £1600 premium over still well equipped '3' models.
Kia Ceed 1.6 CRDi 4 DCT
Model price range £14,905-£25,495
Vehicle Excise Duty £40
Fuel consumption 67.3mpg
CO2 (BIK band) 109g/km (19%)
Boot space (min/max) 380/1318 litres
Engine size/power 1582cc/136hp
Improved diesel and new 1.0-litre petrol engine boost fleet appeal, but top-spec models look pricey
The more frugal and powerful diesel unit is welcome, as is the impressive new petrol
The diesel engine isn't the most refined and the auto gearbox could be slicker