I recently had the loan of a 2015 Kia Cee’d 1.6 CRDI 1 EcoDynamic for a few weeks and I was pleasantly surprised by Kia’s “entry level”, small family hatchback.
Hyundai hold a major share of Kia Motors having rescued them from bankruptcy (beating off bids from Ford) in 1998 during the Asian Financial Crisis. It seems to have been a good investment for Hyundai as over the past few years Kia have gone from strength to strength (I know that’s an old Peugeot slogan, but it fits).
Anyway, back to the car. Prior to taking the loan of this car I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid at Kia. My old prejudices of Kia being cheap and nasty tat were the only reason, but boy was I wrong!
The car was very comfortable, with supportive seats and was able to squeeze three full size children’s booster seats across the rear bench with relative ease. This was complimented by a class beating 380 litre luggage capacity.
The entry level (yes, that phrase again) model I drove came with more bells than Westminster Abbey. This included bluetooth connectivity and the ability to making a phone call without your hands leaving the steering wheel. I was really impressed by the voice command which coped pretty impressively with my mixed Norn Iron brogue. The car also came with the usual radio controls on the steering wheel plus all sorts of USB and auxiliary ports in the centre console that would keep all the tech heads wired up.
The 1.6 CRDI engine boasts an impressive 126bhp which was mated to a smooth 6 speed gearbox. The car didn’t feel quick, but that said you do have to keep an eye on the speedo as you get up to national limits before you know it. This EcoDynamic engine has a claimed 76mpg, but I was unable to get it above 54mpg despite shifting gear when the display told me to change up or down.
Now it’s no sports car and obviously doesn’t handle like one. A spirited drive resulted in some understeer. Road noise from the front was a tad loud for such a modern car, so much so that the interior rear view mirror vibrated more than a kango hammer! Some of the plastics in the dash did feel a little cheap, but as a family hatch it did the job I needed it to. If I’m honest I was looking for faults to try and not get attached to the car!
The Cee’d, currently in its 2nd incarnation, is an attractive little car with what Kia have dubbed a “tiger nose grill”. It is available in at least 6 different trim levels with few engines to choose from, 1.4 98 bhp petrol, 1.4 CRDI 89bhp diesel, 1.6 CRDI 126bhp diesel and a 1.6 GDi 133bhp petrol all mated to a 6 speed manual or auto box.
Hidden amongst this line up is the sexy little GT Line model which Kia label as a “warm hatch”. This version comes with an aggressive styling pack and revised interior. Crucially, it gains the 1.6T GDi 201bhp petrol engine and available in a 3 or 5 door guise.
Other reviews likened the car to a poor mans A3. A bit of a back handed complement, but representative of the solid build quality and premium spec of the car. But I honestly can’t make that comparison having never driven a modern A3. It is fair to say that Kia have come a long way in a short time and it has made me think more than twice about Kia as a comfortable and competent daily driver.