< Kia Cee'd Review 2007
 
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Kia Cee'd
Kia Cee'd
Price, 7-year Guaranty Will Shake Up Europeans

Looks Terrific Too; Quality, Ride Up There With The Best
Dopey Name Can’t Help; Time To Face Down The Marketing Types

Kia Cee'd
Kia Cee'd
Kia Cee'd
Kia Cee'd
Kia Cee'd


NICE, France This is becoming a habit. First, Nissan convinced itself that Qashqai was a sensible name which would not cost it sales. Now we have the eminently sensible and up-and-coming Kia succumbing to smart-Alec talk from some tassel-shoed marketing man suggesting that its beautiful little Focus/Golf challenger can do the job, despite being called a cee’d.

Unpronounceable, unspellable, and meaning-free, Kia also insists that we all deny the rules of grammar and spell it starting with a small “c”. I decline.

It may be that Kia will overcome these self-imposed hurdles, because the Cee’d is a terrific five-seat family hatchback. It looks cute, and has lost from its genes any hint of drab, functional, dumpy but worthy Korean. That’s not surprising because it was designed in Europe, and manufactured in Kia’s new plant in Zilina, Slovakia. It looks good from every angle, with a hint of Fiat Stilo to the rear, and its big Sorrento SUV cousin from the front. Just look at the Kia Cerato, the car the Cee’d replaces. The Cerato might be honest and reliable, but it can’t disguise its Korean birthplace with its dull, unimaginative styling. The Cee’d changes all that. 

World class guarantee
Kia might have dropped its dodgy styling but it hasn’t messed with its most attractive feature – a copper bottomed, all embracing, world-class guarantee that takes any worry out of motoring. In fact Kia has extended its warranty to 7 years.

“As a demonstration of faith in the quality of the car and the standards of workmanship in that new factory, cee’d (sic) is backed by a unique seven-year warranty. It covers the entire drive-train (the engine and all the bits which convey power to the road) for seven years or 100,000 miles and it is transferable to subsequent owners. The rest of the car, bumper-to-bumper, is covered for five years,” said Kia.

Paint is guaranteed for 5-years or 100,000 miles. A 3-year roadside assistance package is also included as standard.

If that doesn’t grab you, perhaps the prices and specification will. Air conditioning is standard across the range. All but the entry level models get USB ports, AUX input (whatever that is) and MP3 capability, with full iPod compatibility from mid-2007. Prices start at £11,000 (€16,650). Looking across the range, like-for-like prices are about £3,000 (€4,500) less than the equivalent Ford Focus.

Automatic for £1,000
Engine options include two 1.6 litre diesels, with either 90 or 115 bhp, with 5 or 6-speed gearboxes. There’s a 1.4 litre 105 bhp or 1.6 litre 122 bhp petrol motor. A 4-speed automatic is available on the 1.6 petrol for £1,000 (€1,500). Later in 2007 Kia will offer a 2.0 litre diesel.

There are three trim levels – S, GS and LS. As well as the air-con and technology gizmo access, the S includes front electric windows and 6 airbags. If you opt for the 1.6 litre diesel, that will cost you £12,245 (€18,530). GS adds bigger alloy wheels, remote locking, a better sound system and improved techy abilities for USB and MP3 use – with the same diesel that will cost £12,995 (€19,670). LS brings fully-automatic climate control, rear electric windows, front fog lamps and half-leather upholstery - £14,245 (€21,560) with the same diesel.

On the road, the Cee’d is very impressive. The car rides confidently and comfortably. The high-tech electric power-steering delivers excellent light responsive driving feel and accuracy, and saves fuel too. The suspension thumps a bit when the going gets tough. Safety is good, with airbags ready to explode all around you if there’s a crash. Kia says it wants to gain a 5-star NCAP passenger safety rating, in other words it hasn’t got one yet.  The cabin is classy and impressive. There’s loads of room in the back.

Great gearbox
The six-speed gearbox on the 1.6 litre diesel I drove around the hills and highways north of Nice was notably excellent, allowing quick and accurate changes. The engine was a gem, with great flexibility.

The trouble is that most cars in this segment of the market at the moment are also hard to fault. They all drive well, are built to a high standard, and are designed with many clever touches to aid load lugging and people moving. Kia has the advantage of the 7-year warranty, but it insists on humiliating you with that dopey name. When you consider the price as well, it would be silly to worry about the mad name. Grit your teeth and do it.


Neil Winton – February 1, 2007

Kia Cee’d CRDi LS
Engine:
1.6 litre, 4-cylinder diesel
Power:
115 bhp
Gearbox:
six speed manual
Drive:
front wheels
Acceleration:
0-62/100 km/h – 11.5 seconds
Top Speed:
not given
Fuel Consumption:
claimed combined – 60.1 mpg-4.7 l/kms
CO2 Emissions:
125 g/km
Length:
4,235 mm
Width:
1,790
Height:
1,480
Weight:
1,468 kg
Suspension:
McPherson/multi-link
Warranty:
7 years/100,000 miles
Price:
£14,245-€21,560
Competition:
Ford Focus, VW Golf etc
Same for Less:
this is it
Would I buy one?
I have a Honda Jazz. No.
Rating:
**** out of 5
For:
cute, well made, amazing guarantee, cheap
Against:
asinine name, not quite up to Ford Focus, VW Golf, but mighty close

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