Review Kia Cee’d

Things are hotting up more than global warming in the C-segment as yet another contender attempts to sow their seeds in this highly sought after family based sector. Kia have launched their all-new cee’d, - no not a misprint, just a silly name - that replaces the Cerato and is available to buy from 1st February 2007.

Now Kia have built up an excee’dingly good reputation for producing quality, good value for money vehicles but is there a need to feed a brand new vehicle into the battlefield against the likes of the Ford Focus or VW Golf? Well Kia seems to think so lets proceed as I am running out of ee words!

The Kia cee’d is the first Kia car to have been designed in Europe built in Europe and will only be sold in Europe. To lure potential customers, the cee’d is also the only European car to come with a seven year 100,000 mile warranty that covers the entire drive train for seven years or 100,000 miles and is transferable to subsequent owners providing the vehicle is regularly maintained in accordance with the servicing schedule plus a three year roadside assistance package. Prices start at just under £11,000 and rise to £14,000, which, for a five door family hatchback, will appease even the most stringent of females holding those purse strings.

But these females are shrewd; they want and demand value for money. There is no point buying a cee’d if there is no money left to feed the family! So Kia have equipped entry level S with air-conditioning, including a cooled glove box - height adjustable steering wheel, height and lumber adjustment on both driver and passenger seats, front electric windows, while securing is central locking with deadlocks. Keeping the cee’d fully in fashion is a fully integrated RDS radio CD player with MP3 a first for Kia.

For an extra £750, the GS comes with a six-speaker high-quality sound system, USB and auxiliary audio ports; you can even play MP3 files directly from a suitably loaded USB stick. Full iPod integration arrives in summer 2007 - at no extra cost. In addition, are 16-inch alloy wheels, remote central locking, body-coloured electric and heated door mirrors and a metallic centre-fascia. The top of the range LS versions gain fully automatic climate control with an air-quality system, rear electric windows, front fog lamps and half-leather upholstery for an extra £1,000.

The cee’d is waiting to be tested by Euro NCAP early spring but Kia is confident of a 5 star rating. This is because the cee'd have as standard across the whole range, twin front and front-side airbags, full-length curtain airbags and Intelligent Active Headrests. The front passenger airbag has a cut-off switch and two ISOFIX child-seat mounting points are fitted in the rear. All cee’d benefit from low insurance groups between 4E and 6E depending on trim and engine size.

Talking of which the cee’d will be available from launch with a choice of four petrol and diesel engines. The all new 1.6 litre CDRi Turbo diesel with either 90 or 115 bhp outputs are both Euro 4 compliant, achieve a staggering 60.1 mpg on a combined cycle (five speed manual) and comes with a five speed manual gearbox or a four speed automatic. A six-speed manual is exclusive to the 115bhp engine.

Kia’s proven 1.4 litre and 1.6 litre petrol engines have been updated now offering a respectable 46.3-mpg on a combined cycle with CO2 emissions down at 145 on the former while the latter on a manual clocks up 44,1 mpg (CO2 152) with the auto hot on its heels at 40.9 mpg. (CO2 165).

The ride and handling of the cee’d is brilliant as it stuck to the French roads like melted Brie. This is because the cee’d have a fully independent rear suspension thus making it a joy to drive. Thanks to the high levels of refinement, the curb noise is down as is the vibration and harnesses meaning you can still have a civilised conversation with the children The motor driven power steering lightens up at low speed and tightens at high to give more responsiveness and saves on fuel economy. It also takes those parking bays in its stride. The ABS features EBD and ESP will be an optional extra on the LS trim.

Inside are plenty of head, leg and elbowroom plus lots of storage solutions any busy family needs. The cargo area will easily accommodate the family luggage and for those awkward loads to the dump, the rear seats split 40/60. The instrument panel is easy to read albeit a bit on the bright side with the illuminated dials at night. The central console is small and neat withal the audio, heating and ventilation controls neatly stacked for drivers ease.

The cee’d offers exceptionally good value for money, has a low cost of ownership and low running costs that can only appease the modern day families. I do believe the cee’d will sucee’d in this cut throat C-segment.

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