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Kia Ceed Hatch 5Dr 1.4T-GDI 138hp First Edition 6Spd

Date: 08 August 2018   |   Author: Rachel Boagey

The Kia Ceed has lost its apostrophe but gained a new look and myriad improvements. Does it finally have the edge on the VW Golf and Ford Focus?
Standard equipment:
LED lights on the front and rear, six-speed manual gearbox, Bluetooth, automatic lights, keyless entry
Petrol: 118hp 1.0, 138hp 1.4
Diesel: 114hp 1.6
2, First Edition
Six-speed manual, seven-speed dual clutch

How many focus group sessions do you think it required before Kia took the heroic decision to drop the apostrophe from its Ceed nameplate? 

Probably as many as it took to come up with the Cee'd name in the first place, which is an anagram of 'Community of Europe, with European Design'. Yes, really.

In many ways, this tells you all you need to know about the Ceed.

Although it has always been a sturdy car, offering plenty of standard equipment, affordable running costs and a reasonable driving experience, it has also felt as if it was designed and engineered by committee rather than by a company intent on establishing its own unique DNA.   

The all-new Ceed is looking to change this. 

Kia Rear

Higher quality 

Certainly, the latest model has a more dramatic look, thanks to its lower, longer and wider stance, allied to sharper lines, new bumpers, rakish C-pillars and a subtle rear spoiler.

Inside, the materials are also of higher quality and Kia reckons much of the design inspiration came from its head-turning Stinger model. 

While most of the fixtures and fittings feel solid and many surfaces are finished with cool metallic or satin chrome trim, there are still plenty of pesky piano black shiny bits splashed about the place. 

On the whole, the results are successful, and the looks and feel are every bit as appealing as the latest Ford Focus, if not quite a match for the class-leading VW Golf.

Kia Interior

As ever, the Ceed is well equipped. Even the lower '2' trim gets cruise control with a speed limiter, front wiper de-icer and auto headlight control. A 7in touchscreen is also standard on First Edition trim, as well as many safety benefits such as lane-keeping assist and forward-collision assist. 

Head and legroom are both reasonably generous, boot space is up to 395 litres, and that's a bit more than the 380 litres you get in a Golf.

Driver engagement 

Kia reckons the Ceed's ride and handling characteristics have been turned up a notch to elevate dynamism and driver engagement, and the difference is clear. It's immediately obvious around a loose corner that the grip and handling have been improved, with tightly controlled body roll, while high-speed cornering is also aided by a faster steering rack. As you'd expect from a family car, the Ceed provides a quiet and comfortable drive all round.

When it comes to powertrains, two petrol options are available: a 1.0-litre T-GDi producing 118hp, and a new 1.4-litre T-GDi power unit, which, until the hot-shot versions arrive, will be the most powerful Ceed. It produces a healthy 138hp, and it's a pretty smooth and civilised device, but it is also quite sluggish below 2,000rpm, so you need to give it a fair bit of coaxing before it gets into its comfort zone.

Kia Front

There's also a 1.6-litre diesel engine, which produces 114hp, and will no doubt be of interest to fleets, as it's available with an eco pack on the manual gearbox derivatives. Emissions are planned to be as low as 99g/km with the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). 

Every engine is fitted with a six-speed manual transmission, which is quick and light to change up and down, while the 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre engines are available with Kia's seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Kia says a mild hybrid version will follow next year too. 

Feeling the heat?

The Ceed has always felt the heat from the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and VW Golf but this new model seems better placed to handle those pressures.

Traditional strengths of high equipment levels and a superb seven-year 100,000-mile warranty are now complemented by a stronger sense of style and improved dynamics. Something tells us the Ceed might play an important role in bolstering Kia's future sales figures. 

Kia Ceed Hatch 5Dr 1.4T-GDI 138hp First Edition 6Spd

P11D £25,695

On sale August

Residual value 30.8%

Depreciation £17,770

Fuel £7,140

Service, maintenance and repair £1,718

Cost per mile 61.8p

Fuel consumption 48.7mpg

CO2 (BIK band) 132g/km (27%)  

BIK 20/40% a month £116/£231

Boot space 395 litres

Engine size/power 1,353cc/138hp


  • Well equipped, improved looks and driving characteristics.
  • Engine a little sluggish, still some cheap materials inside.