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The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.9

In a competitive sector packed with strong products like the Ford Focus and resurgent Volkswagen Golf the Kia Ceed attempts to set itself apart by sticking to traditional values of generous equipment levels, good build quality and the reassurance of that seven-year warranty. A solid if not scintillating performer, it’s well worth a look if you want a dependable and well-equipped hatchback.

Reasons to buy

  • Well finished interior
  • Good passenger space
  • Decent driving manners

Running costs for a Kia Cee'd 3/5

The Kia isn't quite as cheap compared to the opposition as you might think, but it still represents good value for money thanks to fairly generous equipment levels. Compared to rivals such as the Ford Focus, or the Volkswagen Golf, the Ceed can't compete on fuel economy. However, it's broadly in line with the Focus in terms of purchase price, and cheaper to buy than the equivalent Golf. The Kia is also cheap to service and maintain. The VW's impressive residual values, however, mean that overall, all three are broadly similar in terms of running costs.

Reliability of a Kia Cee'd 5/5

Kia has an excellent reputation for reliability, though saying that its position has slipped a little in the last couple of years on the respected JD Power Vehicle Dependability Survey and it doesn’t score so well for customer service either. It’s still a strong performer though and all Kia models come with an industry-leading, factory-backed, seven-year (or 100,000-mile) warranty, so even picking up a low-mileage used model should keep you covered.

Safety for a Kia Cee'd 4/5

The Ceed hatchback has the usual array of airbags, rear Isofix childseat mountings and other features you’d expect of a modern hatchback. All models also include automatic braking should you fail to react to stationary obstacles in your path, though the upgraded version with pedestrian detection is only available on some models. A system to nudge you back on track if you drift out of your lane on the motorway is standard on all Ceeds, as is a reversing camera. You need to pay extra for blind-spot warnings, alerts for traffic crossing behind you when reversing out of driveways or parking spaces and a lane following system to automatically maintain a safe distance to the car in front.

How comfortable is the Kia Cee'd 4/5

Kia has invested in sophisticated suspension for the Ceed where some rivals cut costs with simpler systems, the benefit to the occupants realised as surefooted handling and a comfortable ride over the bumps.

The Ceed feels spacious in the front, but the rear might be a bit tight for taller passengers. As with most small hatchbacks, the middle rear seat is smaller, but is fine on shorter journeys. Inside the cabin, there are several storage areas, all of which are usefully sized. The front door bins can carry water bottles, along with other smaller items, while two cupholders nestle in between the front seats. In addition to the wireless charging pad, the 12-volt socket and USB port in the front are easy to reach and shouldn’t leave you with cables running everywhere. A cover closes over these when not required.

Features of the Kia Cee'd 4/5

The Ceed’s interior is sensibly laid out, user-friendly and well equipped. A large touch-screen controlled navigation system is standard on all but the most basic models but even the smaller screen on these versions is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so you can always plug your phone in and use your apps to get you around. A fully digital instrument cluster – similar to the ‘virtual cockpit’ seen on many Volkswagen family products – is available on the top trim level too and worth considering if you’re into your tech. All Ceeds get DAB, Bluetooth and MP3 playback as standard with a premium JBL stereo available on higher trim levels. Cruise control, air-conditioning (dual zone on fancier models), steering wheel infotainment controls, a dual height boot floor and split-fold rear seats are standard too, materials, trim and features improving as you progress up the range in the usual way.

Power for a Kia Cee'd 3/5

While the Sportswagon estate has a plug-in hybrid option too the Ceed hatchback sticks with conventional engines for now. The petrol options start with an economical 1.0-litre three-cylinder that punches well above its weight in town driving and copes surprisingly well with motorways too, thanks to well-considered ratios on the standard six-speed manual gearbox. The 1.4-litre petrol offers a bit more power and the option of a seven-speed ‘dual-clutch’ style automatic while the 1.6 petrol in the GT has a feisty 204 horsepower and has the automatic as standard.