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Kia Ceed 1.0 T-GDI review

Kia updates its cee'd making it an even more compelling purchase.

Kyle Fortune

Words: Kyle Fortune

Published on: September 3, 2015

Words: Kyle Fortune

Published on: September 3, 2015

Tech Specs

Model testedKia cee'd 1.0 T-GDI GT Line
Pricingrange starts at €19,104
Engine1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Transmissionsix-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body stylefive-door hatchback
CO2 emissions109g/km (Band A3, €190 per annum)
Combined economy57.6mpg (4.9 litres/100km)
Top speed190km/h
0-100km/h11.1 seconds
Power120hp at 6,000rpm
Torque170Nm at 4,000rpm
Boot space380/1318 litres
EuroNCAP rating5-star; 89% adult; 88% child; 61% pedestrian; 86% safety assist

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Kia's relentless march to mainstream respectability owes a lot to the big-selling cee'd hatchback. It has been revised for 2015 with new engines, more equipment and the same excellent value. Here we review the new 1.0-litre petrol option.

In the metal 4/5

The cee'd has always been an inoffensively styled hatchback, and the changes Kia has made for the new model do little to change that. All versions get reshaped bumpers, some revisions to the lights (LED at the rear) and new alloy wheel choices, so it's a modest update. That's the case inside too, where nothing's going to stand out as particularly new, though the cee'd cabin remains as smart as ever. Material quality is high, space is good and equipment levels generous; there's a lot to like and little or nothing to complain about - the cee'd is as attractive a proposition as it's always been.

The newest thing about the range, in cosmetic terms, is the addition of the GT Line specification. It takes elements of the style of the range-topping cee'd GT hot hatch (which isn't officially on sale in Ireland) and applies them to the regular cee'd (it'll be available in three- and five-door versions, as well as the SW estate) giving the cee'd a shot of visual adrenaline. It adds the cool 'ice-cube' LED driving lights and a more assertively sporting exterior look with some similarly racy interior changes. It's enough to turn the cee'd from inoffensive and ordinary to something a lot more memorable and desirable.

Driving it 3.5/5

The technical changes are relatively light, though there is a notable exception. Kia has added a 1.0-litre turbocharged direct-injection three-cylinder petrol engine to the range, offered with either 100- or 120hp. Both share the same 170Nm torque figure; the 20hp advantage gives the high-power version a marginally quicker 0-100km/h time. It joins the existing petrol and diesel engine options, though its output, economy and emissions make the current petrol offerings look pointless. Kia Europe anticipates the new three-cylinder unit to take the majority of petrol sales and it's even likely to pinch some diesel sales. Until we know pricing in Ireland we can't make that call here.

The new engine was developed with a focus on economy and emissions, the downsized unit doing without a balancer shaft to reduce internal friction. Any concerns about vibration and harshness as a result are unfounded. It's clearly a three-cylinder engine, the slightly off-beat throb being characteristic, but it's never intrusive and when revved, it sounds good and is pleasingly willing, though there's no real need to rev it for it to produce its best. The turbo gives decent low- and mid-range torque, so the 1.0-litre's flexibility means it'll pull along at low engine speeds in high gears comfortably, and the performance on tap feels more muscular than the numbers suggest it will.

In GT Line specification it does come with the same spring rates at the rear as its more sporting sibling, which is slightly to the detriment of comfort, though it's never harsh. To drive it's hardly what we'd call thrilling, but there's a base level of competence that's admirable; the cee'd's appeal is its no-hassle approach with decent grip levels and predictable handling. The firm is pretty vocal about its intent to be more engaging and sporting in its drive and its recent addition of an ex-BMW M Performance Chief Engineer is a clear signal of intent, though his arrival at Kia was too late to get involved with this revised cee'd. The steering is light of weight and of any feel, but it's accurate enough, while the six-speed manual gearbox is slick in operation, the clutch light and all the controls work easily. The cee'd is not memorable to drive then, but very difficult to fault.

What you get for your money 4/5

Kia Ireland has yet to confirm pricing for the new GT Line or the new 1.0-litre petrol engine, but we've been told that the rest of the range will remain largely unchanged in terms of cost. At the time of writing, that means a starting price of €19,104 for the cee'd 1.4 TX petrol, rising to €24,050 for the entry-level 1.6-litre diesel version, in higher specification EX trim. More high-tech equipment will be added to the options list as part of the update and as ever all cee'ds will come with Kia's excellent seven-year warranty.

Summary

Kia's changes to the cee'd add to its attractiveness to buyers, it remaining an enticing value proposition that's well equipped and capable. The new GT Line trim adds a visual boost, while the equally new 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine is an economical addition to the line-up that should help tip the balance back towards petrol engines - if the price is right.



Alternatives

Car Reviews | Ford Focus | CompleteCar.ie
Ford Focus vs. Kia Ceed 1.0 T-GDI: still the sharpest handling car in the class, the Focus is the most fun to drive, but not the best value proposition.

Car Reviews | Toyota Auris | CompleteCar.ie
Toyota Auris vs. Kia Ceed 1.0 T-GDI: it might not excite, but it's a competent all-rounder, even if the Kia is cheaper and better equipped as standard.
Car Reviews | Volkswagen Golf | CompleteCar.ie
Volkswagen Golf vs. Kia Ceed 1.0 T-GDI: the car that defines the segment, for good reason; a brilliant car, but it's expensive.

Tech Specs

Model testedKia cee'd 1.0 T-GDI GT Line
Pricingrange starts at €19,104
Engine1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Transmissionsix-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body stylefive-door hatchback
CO2 emissions109g/km (Band A3, €190 per annum)
Combined economy57.6mpg (4.9 litres/100km)
Top speed190km/h
0-100km/h11.1 seconds
Power120hp at 6,000rpm
Torque170Nm at 4,000rpm
Boot space380/1318 litres
EuroNCAP rating5-star; 89% adult; 88% child; 61% pedestrian; 86% safety assist