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Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2

Kia’s hatch heads convincingly towards the top of the class


  • Well-equipped
  • Smart looks
  • Lots of space
  • Long warranty


  • Small engine range from launch
  • Firmer ride than before
  • Lack of rear seat storage
  • Limited personalisation


Kia Ceed review summary

Traditionally a value-focused alternative to the VW Golf, Ford Focus and stablemate to the Hyundai i30, the latest Kia Ceed is a step-change over the outgoing model. It adds a raft of new tech and a much better drive to its roster of talents.

For car spotters, the big news comes from the Kia badging department. The apostrophe in Ceed name has gone for good, replaced by a more sensible sans apostrophe moniker for a car offering massively enhanced appeal.

More Kia Ceed bodystyles to arrive by 2020

This five-door hatchback is the first of a whole raft of Ceed-based models to be launched between 2018 and 2020. These include an estate and – potentially – a crossover version, too. But there are no plans for a four-door saloon like the Hyundai i30 offers, or a three-door version (previously called Proceed).

Fancy something with a bit more style and more boot space? Read up on the 2019 Proceed shooting brake here

First up though is this car – which is lower, wider, and with a longer rear overhang than the old Ceed. It's a big change in terms of design, although you wouldn't necessarily recognise the fact straight away: it now has a cab-rearwards, breadvan-type shape (above).

Kia Ceed, side, blue

Ice-cube inspired LED daytime running lights are now standard across the range. These were previously available only on the sportier GT and GT-Line models, and it's hoped that these help to hint at this new car’s enhanced athleticism.

Kia Ceed offers sportier drive

Improved handling comes courtesy of a new, all-independent suspension set-up and steering that's been tuned for enthusiastic driving. The ride remains reasonably plush although there’s a harder edge to it than before.

Kia Ceed, six-speed gearbox

Power choices are limited (from launch), with 1.0- and 1.4-litre petrol engines, plus a 1.6-litre diesel. The latter two engines are brand new to the Kia line up.

Kia plans to release a mild-hybrid model in due course. There will also be the possibility of self-charging and plug-in hybrid versions later on.

GT version warms up Ceed hatchback for 2019

As with the previous Ceed GT, the 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine develops 204hp and drives the front wheels. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, but a seven-speed double-clutch automatic is available for the first time.

With styling tweaks inside and out to help differentiate it from the rest of the range, the GT sits lower on tweaked suspension and comes fitted with larger brakes. Performance figures are yet to be released, but we suspect this won’t trouble the more powerful and focused hot hatchbacks on offer from VW, Hyundai, Peugeot and SEAT, for instance.

Kia Ceed has plenty of space as standard

Constructed on Kia’s new K2 platform, the Ceed boasts more impressive space all-round that before, with genuinely class-leading levels of headroom and extra inches between rear seat passengers.

The boot has also grown to 395 litres, putting it right up there with rivals like the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf in terms of practicality.

Kia Ceed, interior

Rear seat passengers aren’t overly spoiled by storage space though, so it’s worth reminding them to leave anything that could rattle around in the boot.

Enhanced safety and tech offering

The Ceed is the first Kia to offer a semi-autonomous motorway driving mode, and as standard comes with high-tech kit like high beam assist and emergency city braking.

All models get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone compatibility as standard, plus a reversing camera, and loads of other kit we’ll get into in the Equipment section.

The Parkers VerdictThe Parkers Verdict

Value used to be the Kia Ceed’s strongest suit, alongside the company's industry-leading seven-year warranty. The appeal of this car has been massively broadened by improved driving dynamics and a smart new look inside and out.

It’s not quite up there with more performance-focused rivals, such as the Ford Focus and SEAT Leon in terms of exctement behind the wheel, but otherwise, The Ceed is a very impressive addition to the ranks of the small family car sector. The inclusion of additional driver enjoyment than before adds another string to what is already quite a talented bow.

Kia Ceed, rear, red

Read on for the full Kia Ceed hatchback review

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