When Kia Motors broke ground on its first wholly owned factory outside of its home territory, in Slovakia in 2004, it might have imagined getting to this point more quickly, but be that as it may.

At the third time of asking, the firm seems finally to have succeeded in making a European-style family hatchback that is designed, engineered, finished and tuned to a standard of which a great many of its better-established European rivals would be rightly proud. After a couple of nearly cars, the Ceed has fulfilled its potential.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
A big step up in the hatchback class is a watershed moment for Kia

That doesn’t mean it has become a class-leading car in our estimation, but it certainly now has a roster of static and dynamic qualities that’s long enough to make it more worthy of recommendation than all but the very best cars in one of the toughest market segments in the world.

The Ceed is now a top-five contender and outranks the Astra, Octavia, Mégane and others that shoppers at the value end of the hatchback spectrum might be considering. And if that sounds like a bit of a coming of age for Kia, that’s exactly how it seems to us.

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