In hatchback guise, the new Kia Cee'd goes on sale 1 July, with the Cee'd sport wagon available in the UK in October. A three-door variant follows in March 2013, while Kia's hot Pro-Ceed, which is rumoured to possess 200bhp, will be available at around the same time.
The new Kia Cee’d is longer and lower than its predecessor, with a wider track, giving the five-door hatchback variant a more sporty profile.
The car’s length is now 4310mm, 50mm greater than the old version, and by lowering the ride height, the car’s overall height is reduced by 10mm to 1470mm. Although the new Cee’d is based on a new platform, is shares the old car’s 2650mm wheelbase, which is one of the longest in its segment.
The increase in overall length means front seat occupants have 12mm more headroom and 21mm more legroom, while rear passengers gain 5mm of shoulder room. Cargo capacity is boosted by 12 per cent to 380 litres (up 40 litres over the old car) with the rear seats upright.
The bodyshell is 10mm narrower on the new version, but the front and rear track have been increased by 17mm and 32mm, respectively. To reduced drag to 0.30, the car also has a more shallow windscreen angle, smooth covers beneath the engine bay and the central floor, a rear spoiler above the tailgate and reprofiled rear lamp clusters.
Fuel consumption has been improved by an average of four per cent across the model range. It will be available with five diesel and petrol engines ranging from 89bhp to 133bhp, but Kia hasn’t yet determined which units will power its c-segment challenger in the UK.
Kia anticipates that its top of the range diesel – the 1.6-litre variable geometry turbo unit – will be the most popular choice. Generating 126bhp and 192lb ft, the engine will be offered with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions and will take the new Cee’d from 0-62mph in less than 11sec. This variant offers a claimed 68.9mpg on the combined cycle and emits 97g/km of CO2.
The most powerful petrol will be a 1.6-litre which possesses 133bhp and 122lb ft, and can take the Cee’d from 0-62mph in 9.9sec. Fuel economy for this version is 48.7mpg and CO2 emissions are rated at 119g/km.
All engines will be offered with a choice of manual or automatic six-speed transmissions. Some 1.6 GDI variants will also be available with Kia’s new six-speed dual clutch transmission.
As with other Kia models in Europe, the new Cee’d will be available with fuel-saving technologies developed under the company’s EcoDynamics sub-brand, including start-stop, low-rolling resistance tyres and an alternator management system.
Kia is also promising a smoother ride and improved handling from the new Cee’d, which features fully independent, subframe-mounted suspension with MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link set-up at the rear.
The Cee’d bodyshell is 45 per cent stiffer than the original model, which enabled Kia’s engineers to introduce numerous small changes to components, springs and shock absorbers that influence ride quality, refinement and NVH.
Improvements to the front suspension include an increased castor angle (for greater straight-line stability, larger wheel bearings in a reinforced hub, and larger diameter bushes for the subframe attachments. At the rear, geometry changes ensure more accurate tracking, the trailing arms have larger bushes and friction has been reduced throughout the system.
The new Cee’d will be available with an optional Flex Steer system for improved driving dynamics. This system introduces three operating modes – comfort, normal and sport – allowing the driver to vary the level of steering assistance and the weight of feedback.
The new Cee’d five-door will go on sale across Europe from the second quarter of this year, with the estate due to follow at a later date. The new Cee’d will be manufactured at Kia’s Zilina facility in Slovakia.
Michael Cole, Managing Director at Kia UK said he has high hopes for the new Cee'd. UK sales are up 29 per cent year on year, and the Cee'd it set to accelerate that. The company has already overtaken Renault to become the 8th largest manufacturer operating in the UK.
He said: "Our goal for this year is to establish ourselves firmly in the top ten. In the past year we've launched Picanto, Rio, Optima and now Cee'd. Our product is better than ever, and people aren't just buying for the seven year warranty but the design and quality as well."