What is it?
Although the Kia Ceed lags behind the Kia Sportage and Kia Niro in terms of sales, the European-designed and built C-segment hatch has long been a symbol of Kia’s intent to become a true equal to mainstream European firms.
The Korean brand has undoubtedly achieved that in recent years through new models featuring bold styling and cutting-edge tech. And so, in a way, the aim of this mid-life facelift for the Ceed feels as much about trying to keep pace with the rest of the Kia range as matching rivals.
As a result, the third-generation Ceed has received design changes to bring it into line with the firm’s latest design trends – which include Kia’s new logo – as well as a smattering of new interior tech and driver assistance systems.
The Ceed’s engine line-up was revamped earlier this year to include two new powertrains: a 1.6-litre mild-hybrid turbo diesel and the 1.5-litre T-GDI turbocharged petrol tested here, which replaces the 1.4-litre turbo petrol previously offered. The 1.0-litre turbo petrol unit that has been offered previously remains.
What's it like?
Our GT-Line test car was a late pre-production example, and UK specifications and pricing have yet to be finalised. Still, it was representative of the finished design and shows how Kia has done its best to bring some of the new-found styling flair shown on its latest models to the Ceed, with a slightly revised grille and new air intakes in the bumper, and new front and rear lights.
GT-Line models feature a new rear light cluster containing 48 honeycomb-shaped LED modules. The multi-function lights work as brake lights and moving indicator signals. It’s very stylish in operation, which will please anyone stuck behind you in traffic.
The interior has also received an upgrade, notably with higher-spec cars gaining a new 12.3in digital instrument display and 10.25in touchscreen - although, unlike some rivals, it pleasingly retains plenty of physical buttons and switches.
Kia has also added a host of new driver assistance systems to the Ceed, including upgraded blind-spot warning technology and a revamped rear-view monitor. What the firm hasn’t messed with is the ride and handling, so the car retains the refinement and composure to hold its own against a host of formidable class rivals.
The new 1.5-litre engine bucks industry trends by lacking even the mildest of hybrid electrification, but it’s a smooth, pliant unit, with the use of Kia’s Continuously Variable Valve Duration technology helping to add refinement and lift the claimed fuel economy. The engine’s punchy turbo power is easily accessible and certainly offers some verve and pep, although it’s at its best when being used for quiet, efficient cruising. Certainly, in terms of ride, handling and powertrain, the Ceed makes for an easy-going companion, which is exactly what most people are looking for in a family hatch.