Kia has refined is best-selling car, the Ceed with new levels of driving comfort and smoothness as Michael Moroney found out during his recent test drive. Here he examines its performance and value offer

The third generation Kia Ceed, now with a slight name change, is among Kia’s best sellers here in Ireland and across Europe.

The Ceed has not lost its identity with the new model and the upgrade is very evolutionary as the car retains its clear identity.

The first impression of the new Ceed is that it is lower than in the past and Kia also claims that it’s slightly wider to give more interior space. The overall shape remains largely unchanged while it is more refined in styling terms.

After the initial drive the most noticeable feature for me was the smoothness of the driving experience and that lasted over the entire 600km that I drove the car. This is mainly due to the new generation engines and Kia claims of improved suspension and noise suppression.

I should not have been surprised as Kia claims that refinement and the suppression of noise, vibration and harshness was a principal focus during the new Ceed’s development.
Compared to the outgoing model it now has thicker, more insulating dashboard padding, more sound-absorbent insulation around the rear wheel arches, and a new insulation layer beneath the cabin carpet, reducing engine and road noise. Kia also claims a reduction in wind noise.

This new Ceed comes with more engine options than before with two new petrol engines, an entry level 1.0 litre, three-cylinder turbo-charged unit and a larger 1.4 litre, four cylinder turbo-charged engine. The range is completed with an upgraded 1.6 litre turbo-diesel engine.

I drove the Ceed powered by the entry level 1.0 litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine and was very impressed by the driving experience. This is a car that’s quiet and smooth to drive, really suitable for city driving with an engine and six-speed gearbox combination that’s so easy to use for longer drives.

This petrol powered Ceed comes with a fuel economy rating of 18.5km/litre (5.41/100km or 52mpg), which I found very difficult to reach. Compare this with the diesel version of the same car and you’ll find that there is almost a 40% economy difference, and that’s before you factor in the 10c/litre price advantage of diesel over petrol at the pumps.

So while this new smooth and beautiful to drive 1.0-litre Kia Ceed looks attractive, the economy figures will continue to push car buyers in the direction of diesel. Despite the motor industry move to ‘cleaner’ petrol engine cars, the car owner will suffer in terms of fuel economy. And this is why I believe that new Ceed owners will still opt for the 1.6 litre turbo-diesel versions, based on that old saying from the world of US politics, “its the economy stupid.”

There is no denying that out on the road for longer runs this car gives a very pleasant driving experience. The dash layout has been changed to give the driver a clear zone of visibility and ease of use from the large touchscreen infotainment unit. It’s easy to be comfortable in the new Kia Ceed.

Entry prices have increased significantly now starting at €22,695 for the K2 version with the neat 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine. There is a €2,000 price jump to the entry level diesel versions, and that’s the one that has to be considered more seriously in terms of ownership cost, based solely on fuel economy and a lower annual road tax cost.

This new Ceed competes in a price and specification sensitive market, where on paper, with the important benefit of its seven year warranty, is now pitched at the higher end, most noticeably against its related Hyundai i30.

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