What is it?
You may have noticed our reasonably priced car has been upgraded. Kia launched this second generation Cee’d in the UK last year; with the lease up on our old one, we’ve gone and and replaced it with this model. The oily bits may not be all new but there was nothing wrong with them to start with, and the new body and interior on top give it much more appeal against the likes of the Golf and Focus. It isn’t as cheap as it was but Kia hasn’t forgotten we expect it to offer more than the mainstream for less. This one still does.
So, clever Kia, huh. Retaining all the talents of the original, enhancing its weak points yet still playing the value card well. The car’s the star?
Kia has done well here — it’s emulated the talents of the class-leading VW Golf closer than many would ever have predicted. If the first Cee’d was about Ford Focus-like driver engagement, this one is about ride quality and refinement, talents it provides in abundance. It is a very comfortable and cushy car on roads from town to country, with absorbency few can match. This does mean it’s a bit softer in corners than the class best, but it’s still agile and dynamic enough.
Engines are strong too. The petrol units are a little revvy but the direct-injection 1.6-litre is impressive when you work it, while the diesels are a bit clattery but otherwise well up to standard.
On the inside
The interior is probably the biggest advance over the original Cee’d, showing much better design and finish to complement the already-strong build quality. The architecture is similar to the larger Optima and is loaded with high-end details such as the built-in touchscreen sat nav and cowled dials detailed in thin chrome edging. Dual-zone climate control and an electronic parking brake are further premium touches.
There are some very upmarket details in evidence too, such as the Merc-like sliding tray in the centre console and a full-colour display in the instrument panel. Kia has enhanced the impressive room of the original Cee’d with greater attention to ergonomic detail, while seats and trims continue the upmarket feel. The rear is easier to get in and out of, the boot is bigger and more practical, even the hatch door is now easier to shut.
The big draw of a Kia is the seven-year warranty. In reality, that’s nice to have but don’t overlook the reliability, quality and economy. The only stumbling block is prices: they’re higher than they used to be. The car is a measure for it and equipment beats most, but it will still require careful marketing by Kia to ensure the car’s admirably strong value message isn’t lost.