Top cee'd: Kia sets new levels
When the original Kia cee’d appeared on the market some six years ago, even the dreaded Jeremy Clarkson was impressed. As I recall it, just about the only thing the Top Gear presenter could find to criticise was the rather odd name.
The cee’d rapidly transformed the image of a company that up to that point was perceived as appealing only to the logical side of the brain rather than also offering an emotional side to the buying decision.
The decisive change came with Kia’s decision to create cars specifically to suit the markets in which they were to be sold – hence the European-style flair exhibited by the cee’d. Validating this policy, close on half-a-million examples of the original cee’d were sold – 55,000 of them in the UK.
With the latest cee’d, Kia lifts itself into a different league, with a cutting edge vehicle that’s a mass market product yet serves as a wonderful showcase of quality engineering and forward thinking technology – backed, as before, by the seven-year, 100,000 mile warranty that now comes as standard with every new Kia, right across the range.
Typical of the company’s customer led attention to detail is such a relatively minor tem as the fuel filler cap. Research shows that American and Far Eastern buyers like to have a release lever mounted inside the cabin while Europeans prefer the cap to be linked to the central locking system so that it can be opened with just a push on the cap. Under the new Kia policy each market gets the system it prefers.
The second generation Cee’d raises the benchmark for fuel economy in its class, with average consumption reductions of four per cent over the outgoing model.
Four engines are available – petrol versions of 1.4 and 1.4 litre sizes and diesels of the same two sizes.
Available only with the bigger petrol motor, an advanced new DCT double-clutch gearbox allows fully automatic gear-changes or manual changes through steering wheel mounted flappy paddles, without the fuel consumption penalties that afflict conventional auto boxes.
Since one clutch works with gears one, t here and five and the other with gears two, four and six, the transmission is primed for the next up or down change, ensuring shifts are silky smooth.
75-mpg consumption figures are attainable with the 1.6 diesel while petrol versions will better 49 mpg.
The car is spacious and comfortable and delivered me faultlessly on a long cross-country hp, as well as being nippy round town. And, as you’d expect from a Kia, standard equipment levels are very high, with all the little extras the market no longer wants to be without, from sat/nav to reversing aids. Cee’d prices range from £14,395 to £23,795.