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Kia Cee’d review


Is It 5 Grand Worse Than A VW Golf?

Capable, Smart, Undercuts European Competition
Mind-Boggling 7 Year Guarantee Is A Deal Clincher
**** out of 5

Dopey Name The Only Negative

LIVERPOOL Kia has face-lifted and revised its highly successful Cee’d small family car, although you’d be hard pressed to tell the new model from the old one.

And that’s no bad thing. After all, the old one looked so good that it really marked the turning point for this South Korean car maker. Kia used to be a producer of worthy, reliable but dull, cheap and cheerful cars which sold on price alone. Now Kia is a full competitor with Europe’s finest, with beautiful machines which sell just because they are desirable. The little Picanto is cute and well put together. The latest Sedona MPV and Sorento SUV will win buyers for their looks and quality as well as their price. The all-new Venga, arriving at a dealer near you next year, looks like a formidable competitor to the Honda Jazz, which I’ve rated the best small car for more than 7 years.

Kia Cee'd review 2009The fact that Kia retains it’s stunningly attractive, almost foolhardy-sounding guarantee – 7 years or 100,000 miles – that is unique (its Hyundai sibling offers 5 years unlimited mileage) makes Korean cars such compelling propositions. Korean cars tend to be very price competitive too, thanks in part to a favourable exchange rate (the Cee’d is made in Europe, at Zilina in Slovakia, so part of the advantage is probably lost). Shortly, too, a new trade agreement with the E.U. is about to kick-in which will remove the import tariff and cut the cost to you. Obsessive
The new Cee’d has a redesigned front grille, although it would take an obsessive to notice it. The interior has been upgraded with smart new materials and more standard equipment, helping it compete with class leaders like the Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3. The dynamics of the car have been improved too, with improved suspension to raise the driving experience and sharpen the steering responses. Computerised vehicle stability stuff has been added. There is also an estate car version. Jumping on the green bandwagon, the Cee’d now has “EcoDynamics”, with engineering improvements to increase fuel efficiency. Top-of-the-range models have “Intelligent Stop & Go”, which switches off the engine in heavy traffic when the car is halted.

Kia Zilina?
A new badging structure in theory will make it easier to understand the model line-up – Cee’d’ 1, Cee’d 2, and Cee’d 3. If only it didn’t have that ditzy name. Wouldn’t Zilina be better?

In the UK, Kia has 10-models based on the three trim levels and four engines – 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol units and two versions of the 1.6-litre turbo diesel. The 1.4 is a revised 89 bhp unit, while the power outputs of the 1.6 petrol (124 bhp) and the diesels (89 or 113 bhp) remain unchanged.

Prices start at £11,895. That’s about £3,000 under a Golf, with not much on it. The top of the range Kia Cee’d 3 1.6 CRDI auto, at £17,495, must be about £5,000 less than a similarly equipped Golf.

There is a £1,300 increment between each trim grade and a £1,000 premium to move from a petrol engine to a diesel or manual transmission to automatic.

Kia Cee'd review 2009The Cee’d 1 specification has been improved by adding body-coloured door handles, metallic-effect centre console panels, AUX and USB sockets and remote central locking. Cee’d 1 continues to provide among other things air conditioning with cooled glove box, and RDS radio-CD player that is compatible with MP3 players. There are front electric windows, deadlocks, six airbags, headlamp levellers, automatic door locking once the car is on the move, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, tinted glass, a trip computer, and 60:40 split folding rear seats. You can choose a 1.4-litre petrol engine, the 1.6-litre petrol with automatic transmission or the standard 1.6-litre diesel.

High power
Cee’d 2 has 16-inch alloy wheels and front fog-lights, body-coloured electric and heated door mirrors, and six-speaker sound system. Cee’d 2 is available with the 1.6-litre petrol engine with either manual or automatic transmission, and high power versions of the 1.6-litre CRDi diesel engine.

Kia Cee'd review 2009

Cee’d 3 comes with either the 1.6-litre petrol engine in manual transmission or the high-powered 1.6-litre diesel, manual or automatic. It also includes 17-inch wheels, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, rear electric windows, alloy pedals and Hill-start Assist.

If you compare prices with European competitors, you will be stunned to find that they are almost comparable to cars a class below. The Cee’d is priced closer to the smaller VW Polo rather than the comparable VW Golf.

Kia Cee'd review 2009

(Kia paid for a plane fare to Manchester and a night at a hotel)

Neil Winton – November 1, 2009

 Kia Cee’d 3 1.6 CRDI auto
Engine:4-cyinder diesel
113 bhp @ 4,000
255 Nm @ 1,900-2750
4-speed auto
front wheels
Acceleration:0-62-100 km/h 11.9 seconds
Top Speed:112 mph-180 km/h
Fuel Consumption:
claimed combined 49.6 mpg-5.7 l/km
CO2:150 g/km
Length:4,260 mm
1,374 kg
7-years/100,000 miles
Boot capacity:
340/1,300 litres
VW Golf, Vauxhall-Opel Astra, Honda Civic, Nissan Note, Mazda3, Ford Focus, Renault Megane, Peugeot 308, Citroen C4, Skoda Octavia, Hyundai i30, Mercedes A class, Seat Leon
Would I buy one?Hard to turn down that guarantee
For:looks good, drives well, priced to go, warranty to die for
Against:Doesn’t match Golf, but saves about £5,000 in the process

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