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£15,765 when new
We like the Kia Cee’d here. We really do. Well, apart from the daft spelling. And the looks. So you’d have thought we’d prefer the Pro_cee’d, because apart from the even more ridiculous spelling and under_scoring, this three-door version is much sharper looking. It’s no Civic Type S, but easily matches up to Golfs, Focuses, Astras and the like. And yet I still prefer the five-door Cee’d. The Pro_underscore is a good car, but it’s no sports hatch, and I find it more disappointing as a result. The engine to go for is certainly the 1.6-diesel, as the 2.0-litre is just a fraction more raucous - it’s still pretty quiet and faster, but not enough to make it better. The rest of the driving experience simply isn’t sporty enough to justify Kia’s marketing of the car, or the price. The steering is too vague, and the chassis doesn’t sparkle as much as you’d expect it to. Kia has stiffened all the dampers up, but that’s not been totally successful, because the five-door’s ride is one of the best things about it. To some extent, this is being overly picky. It is a Kia, after all. And the thing feels exceptionally well-built for a Korean pretender that under_cuts its European rivals on price.