The Kia Cee'd's dual-clutch transmission is better than the auto, but the manual is the best

What is it?

In theory, a dual-clutch transmission should prove a natural fit for Kia's most sophisticated car yet. However, and as with the Cee'd in general, something has gone awry between concept and execution. The first disappointment is that if you want this 'DCT' 'box you have to buy the 1.6-litre petrol. It's unavailable on the other variants.

What's it like?

If you buy a dual-clutch 'box for your Volkswagen Golf it will slightly improve your economy and emissions with no measurable effect on performance. But adding DCT to your Cee'd adds half a second to your 0-62mph time, costs you 2.5mpg and ups the CO2 by 5g/km.

That said, on the road the gearbox works quite well. If you place it into manual mode, the shifts are quick and smooth. In automatic it sets similarly high standards, as long as you're just wafting around. But if you drive fast but not furiously, the gearbox holds on to lower ratios too long, exposing you to the engine's high-rev exertions. On the lower-revving diesel model it would probably have worked a treat.

Should I buy one?

In fact, the 1.6-litre diesel Cee'd is so far preferable to the petrol that it is the latter's inevitably lower price that provides the only real incentive. But if to that price you add the four-figure sum Kia will charge for its dual-clutch auto, that advantage will probably be negated. In short, the idea of a dual-clutch automatic Cee'd is somewhat more appealing than the reality.

Price: £20,500 (est); 0-62mph: 10.4sec; Top speed: 121mph; Economy: 46.3mpg (combined); CO2: 140g/km; Kerb weight: 1193kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1591cc, petrol; Power: 133bhp at 6300rpm; Torque: 116lb ft at 4850rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd dual-clutch auto

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Orangewheels 6 June 2012

It seems surprising that

It seems surprising that after VW got the twin clutch box so right from the start that 5 years later other big manufacturers can't yet get to VW's level, let alone improve upon it.