18.9.2012 Kia Cee'd CRDi review
Without fanfare, South Korean car maker Kia has launched a new Cee'd range with several models emitting 100 g/km CO2 or less. This is good for a non-hybrid car of this size and because of the effect of low CO2 outputs on company car tax, the Cee'd is now going to interest company car drivers and further raise sales.
Kia's European sales are already up a dramatic 25% in the first six months of 2012 while Peugeot, Fiat and Vauxhall-Opel consider factory closures because of low demand. Kia builds the Cee'd and its Sportage SUV at its factory in Slovakia. On first impressions the new Cee'd great looks feel slightly let down by the engines compared to the best in class, but it's still a very strong offering. Kias aren't cheap and cheerful any more but the company says buyers are choosing increasingly better equipped versions.
Review by Russell Bray for nextgreencar.com
Kia's 1.6 litre diesel engine has more low-end push than the 1.6 litre petrol but on some low mileage test cars it still didn't feel as punchy or state of the art as some engines from rival car makers. Impressively low CO2 emissions are to blame I suspect and you soon learn to compensate and drive round the initial flatness. The 1582cc engine produces 126bhp at 4,000rpm and 161 lbs ft of torque from 1,900rpm. Acceleration to 60 mph takes 11.5 seconds and the Cee'd will wind itself up to 122 mph flat out. Motorway cruising is fuss free with little sound from the engine, though some cars tried had more wind noise than expected.
On ultra smooth roads in Switzerland where the press launch of the new Cee'd was held, the car felt totally competent and predictable, if not actually encouraging you to get involved and push it a bit. What small bumps and imperfections we managed to seek out did not disturb the Cee'd's cornering demeanour which feels more stable and balanced than before. Level 2 trim models, from £16,395, come with a choice of 'feel' for the electrically assisted power steering. You can have comfort, sport or normal. Perhaps Kia's engineers couldn't make up their mind what to offer?
Kia's new Cee'd can stand comparison with any modern hatchback from Ford, Vauxhall or Volkswagen. The design team, led again by ex-Audi wizz, Peter Schreyer, is more grown up and sophisticated this time with the front grille and swept back headlights reminding of Maserati's exotic Coupe. The new Cee'd is slightly longer and lower than its predecessor and changed proportions make it look a lot more sporty and modern. Boot capacity has been increased by 40 litres to what Kia claims is a class best of 380 litres. 'Shut lines' between the doors and bodywork are impressively narrow and the doors close with the 'clunk' you get on an Audi. It is 4310mm in length and 1780mm wide.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Seats are well-shaped in the current Kia mode, though I felt I was sitting too high when in the front passenger seat and would have liked to have been able to lower the driver's more than adjustment allowed. There's a good range of adjustment for the steering column. Masses of buttons and switches are afflicting many cars and the Cee'd is no exception as you climb the model range. And who thought we would ever find a heated steering wheel in a Kia as well as a Range Rover?
Some models have cruise control and a speed limiter to help keep you legal. Kia has joined the fad, a backward step in my opinion, for electronic handbrakes which remove an element of driver control on slippery surfaces and in emergencies. I have also known them lock/freeze on in very cold conditions.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Official fuel figures are a frugal 67 mpg round town and 74 mpg on the combined average test cycle. We got 54 mpg on the test route (and 45 mpg for a 1.6 litre petrol). Carbon dioxide emissions of 100 g/km put the 1.6 Cee'd 2 in band A, removing it from current road tax or London city congestion charges. Choose a lower spec '1' trim version and the CO2 drops to 97 g/km with 68 to 76 mpg official fuel figures. Insurance is group 12 for both cars, and warranty is seven years/100,000 miles.
Kia's new Cee'd hatch shows what a modern common rail diesel engine can do when controlled by the right software and fitted in an optimised body. The Cee'd's aerodynamics have been improved, to a Cd of 0.30, compared to the previous model and most versions now have an automatic start-stop system to save fuel in stop-go traffic. Driver anticipation and sympathetic driving style still needed to get the best consumption though change up a gear dashboard arrow gives advice. The Cee'd has been given a Next Green Car Rating of 31.
Depending on the model, your Cee'd could be equipped with a host of equipment including parallel parking assistance which steers the car into spaces it assesses large enough, motorway lane departure warning, static and active front cornering lights and reversing camera. All models get Bluetooth phone and USB connections, air conditioning, electric door mirrors and hill start assist. Top models gain glass sunroofs, alloy wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats (electric with memory on the driver's). Satellite navigation is standard on the three upper trim levels. Metallic paint is £445. The interior of the higher spec models is very good indeed, but the cheaper ones have bland dashboards in comparison.
Model tested: Kia Cee'd 1.6 CRDi
Body-style: Five-door family hatchback
Engine/CO2: 126bhp, 1582cc 4-cylinder turbodiesel/100g/km
Trim grades: 1, 2, 3, 4, 4 Tech
On-road price: Range from £16,295. Test car £18,295
Warranty: Seven years/ 100,000 miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 4.0 STARS
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