This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Kia Ceed Hatchback review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Kia's engines offering a few extra horsepower compared with similar-sized alternatives. The entry-level 1.4-litre engine produces 105bhp and will accelerate from 0-62mph in 11.6 seconds but it feels sluggish and has to be worked hard. The 122bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine is better - it's quite a lively unit and will sprint from 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds while returning good fuel economy of 44mpg.

There's also a 1.6-litre diesel which is available in two power outputs - 90bhp and 115bhp. The standard 1.6 CRDi completes the 0-62mph dash in 13.8 seconds, while the high-power version will do the same in 11.5 seconds. This is our pick of the engine range and the effortless engine suits the Cee'd's character. All 1.6-litre cars come with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard, while a four-speed automatic option is offered on the 1.6 petrol model.

The quickest model in the line-up is 2.0-litre diesel with 138bhp and this is the only car in the range to come with a six-speed gearbox. However, it was discontinued in late 2009 when the Cee'd was facelifted.

It's a surprisingly pleasant and enjoyable car to drive. Although the electric power steering lacks feel and is a little light, the Cee'd feels comfortable and is happy on more demanding routes too with plenty of grip. Safe and composed rather than involving the Cee'd is nevertheless a competent and well mannered hatchback. Thanks to a smooth ride the Kia is also a hushed cruiser and will happily eat up motorway miles.

When the car was revised in 2009, the suspension was also tweaked and consequently facelifted models are more enjoyable to drive with less body roll. The steering also has more weight, giving extra reassurance in corners.