Kia Ceed Review

The latest Kia Ceed is a well-equipped family hatchback, offering value for money and a sense of quality

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Feels solidly built
  • Great warranty protection
  • Enjoyable to drive
  • Not that many engine options
  • Not the most exciting design
  • Less comfortable ride on bigger wheels
Kia Ceed prices from £8,898.
Finance from £168.42 / month.

Solid, unpretentious, dependable. These are terms you might use to describe the VW Golf, but it’s actually Kia’s family hatchback, the Ceed, that we’re talking about here.

In fact, in terms of build quality, it feels like at least a match for most of the other cars in the class. That includes the Vauxhall Astra, Ford Focus, Peugeot 308, Seat Leon, Honda Civic and its close relation, the Hyundai i30.

On the outside, the Kia adds some visual flair by using design cues from the big, sporty Kia Stinger – especially the shape of the headlights and the ‘tiger nose’ grille. Overall, though, the Ceed is a subdued design – but that actually rather suits its no-nonsense, unflashy nature. This is not a car you’ll buy if you want to stand out from the crowd.

Inside, all the easily visible and accessible surfaces are finished with good quality, soft-touch plastics. There’s certainly little to differentiate between this car and class-leading cars such as the Golf and Focus, which is praise indeed, although if you’re really determined you can find cheaper-feeling scratchy plastics in out-of-sight areas. But that’s a fair compromise considering an equivalent VW Golf will cost you a couple of thousand pounds more and likely more in finance terms, too.

The Ceed is also very spacious, with the rear seats positioned lower in the car to provide really good headroom, meaning that it should be able to accommodate passengers over six feet in height, with plenty of legroom, too. The boot is large, measuring 391 litres with the rear seats in place (it rises to 1,291 litres when those rear seats are folded down), making it among the best in class – and bigger than you’ll find in a VW Golf, Renault Mégane or Seat Leon.

Where the Ceed’s predecessors have always given ground to some rivals – especially the Focus and Golf – is how they have felt to drive. But this Ceed is definitely much closer than it’s ever been to the class leaders. The car feels well balanced and enjoyable to drive with consistent levels of grip and good body control in corners, but the ride is something of a mixed bag. On models with 16-inch wheels, it copes well with bumps and rutted surfaces, but even the relatively minor increase to 17-inch wheels has an effect, adding a lumpiness to the ride quality. So it's close, but no cigar.

The engine range is straightforward and easy to navigate: three petrol engines and two diesels, each of which offers something different to buyers. Petrol options consist of a 120hp 1.0-litre, a 140hp 1.4-litre and a 204hp 1.6-litre and while diesels are unfashionable these days, there are 1.6-litre models with 116hp and 136hp on offer.

This newly developed diesel is refined and impressively quiet. At the top of the range of petrol engines, meanwhile, you’ll find the GT model, which is pleasingly punchy with its 204hp engine, complimented by the Ceed’s roadholding – which is well up to the task.

You get a choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed ‘DCT’ dual-clutch automatic, which in theory should provide faster gearchanges than an ordinary automatic. However, the auto isn’t as slick as the self-shifters in rival models such as the VW Golf, so we’d suggest sticking to the six-speed manual.

All Ceeds have plenty of standard equipment, with the base 2 trim level featuring one of the most comprehensive specifications in the class. Choose a more expensive trim and there’s an eight-inch touchscreen media system with sat-nav and a host of additional safety features available.

The family hatchback class has always been hugely competitive, with the Focus and Golf ruling the roost for many years. But Kia can justifiably say that the new Ceed is breathing down VW and Ford’s necks, offering better build quality than most of its rivals, a lot of kit for a competitive price - plus strong value finance offers - and accomplished engines.


Best Kia Ceed for...

Best for Economy – Kia Ceed 2 1.6 CRDi 6-speed manual

The entry-level ‘2’ specification gets smaller wheels than higher-spec versions. This, combined with low rolling resistance tyres, means you’ll squeeze the most out of a tank of fuel with this version of the Ceed.

Best for Families – Kia Ceed 3 1.0 T-GDi 6-speed manual

The Ceed’s smallest petrol engine still delivers enough go to keep you zipping along with the traffic even if you’re fully loaded with kids and luggage, while ‘3’ specification brings all the kit you need to keep the family entertained.

Best for Performance – Kia Ceed GT 1.6 T-GDi 6-speed manual

The fastest Ceed is the GT model. With 204hp it’s a bit short of power compared with hot hatches like the Golf GTI, so it’s really more of a ‘warm’ hatch than a hot hatch, but it is still entertainingly rapid, and genuinely fun to drive on a country road.


2018 New Kia Ceed goes on sale.
2019 Ceed models get ‘ISG’ mild hybrid technology, improving economy and performance.
Spring 2019 GT Line trim and performance-focused GT models go on sale.
Summer 2021 Updated model with refreshed design announced, released later in 2021

Understanding Kia Ceed names

Engine 1.4 T-GDI

The 1.4 T-GDi is one of five engine choices available to UK buyers for the Ceed – there are three petrol options and two diesels

Trim 3

UK buyers can choose from several variants. ‘3’ versions are mid-range but very well equipped nevertheless.

Gearbox 6-speed manual

Two different gearboxes options are available – a six-speed manual and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

Kia Ceed Engines

1.0 T-GDi, 1.4 T-GDi, 1.6 T-GDi, 1.6 CRDi

The Kia Ceed comes with three different petrol engines and two diesel options. Kicking off the range for UK buyers is the teensy 1.0-litre 1.0 T-GDi three-cylinder petrol engine. It might be small, but a turbocharger means it puts out a respectable 120hp, and is perfectly at home in town or on the motorway. The bigger 1.4 T-GDi petrol engine gets an extra cylinder and 140hp, making the Ceed a reasonably zippy car.

Of course, if you really want some performance punch you’ll be better off opting for the 1.6 T-GDi engine offered in the GT model. This delivers 204hp, meaning near-hot hatch pace and a potential top speed of 143mph.

For those needing to cover a lot of miles every year, however, there is the option of the 1.6 CRDi turbodiesel. This is an all-new design and combines impressive quietness with economy of nearly 60mpg and is available in 116hp and 136hp forms.






Top speed


1.0 T-GDi




0 - 62mph: 10.7-10.9 secs


1.4 T-GDi




0 - 62mph: 8.6-8.9 secs


1.6 CRDi




0 - 62mph: 10.5-10.6 secs


1.6 CRDi




0 - 62mph: 9.8 secs


1.6 T-GDi




0 - 62mph: 7.2 secs


Kia Ceed Trims

2, 3, Blue Edition, GT Line, GT Line S, GT

The Ceed range starts with the ‘2’ trim level in the UK, which includes plenty of standard kit – air-conditioning, digital radio, a seven-inch touchscreen media system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay mirroring, cruise control and a reversing camera.

Up your budget to a ‘3’ model, and the 16-inch alloy wheels of the ‘2’ (which look a little lost in the car’s wheelarches) become 17-inch models. Inside, there’s an eight-inch media system with sat-nav.

Blue Edition models get LED headlights that swivel as you turn the wheel and unique seat designs with part faux-leather trim for the side bolsters.

GT Line cars are distinguished by a dual exhaust, leather steering wheel, heated front seats and an engine start/stop button. GT Line S adds 18-inch wheels, a sunroof, adaptive cruise control, heated rear seats, a park assist function, blind-spot warning and a JBL sound system.

Kia Ceed Reliability and warranty

Kia has a reputation for doing well, but not outstandingly well, when it comes to reliability. The previous Ceed (the Cee’d, as it was), came 47th out of 150 cars in the 2018 Auto Express Driver Power customer satisfaction survey.

But the real draw of Kia is its market-leading seven-year/100,000-mile warranty – which can be carried on to the next owner when you come to sell. This means that you should be covered - and not have to pay extra - if many parts go wrong over this period.

Used Kia Ceed

Kias tend to hold on to their value fairly well – thanks in part to that enviable warranty and in part due to reasonable pricing in the first place. And the latest Ceed should be no exception. Consider the amount of equipment that comes as standard and you should still get plenty of car for your money.

Other Editions

Ceed (2012 – 2018)

The smart-looking and good-value Kia Cee’d is a sensible family car choice

Ceed Sportswagon (2018)

The Kia Ceed Sportswagon is a sensible and spacious family estate that trades glamour for practicality.