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SECTOR Lower Medium PRICE €14,280 – €23,600 approx (ex taxes) FUEL 3.70 – 5.5l/100km CO2 97 – 145g/km
Five years on from the launch of the original model and Kia brings us the second-generation cee’d, replacing the first car that it designed and built in Europe. Neither Kia nor sister brand Hyundai have slackened the pace of development in recent years and both have reaped the rewards – booming sales in Europe and North America and rising market share where others are losing it. Can Kia expect to do the same again with the latest Slovakian-built model?
In a word, yes. The latest cee’d shares a lot with the latest Hyundai i30 – the same basic platform and powertrains, for instance. And like everything else Kia and Hyundai, the learning process has been a rapid one. Where petrol and diesel engines were off the pace when cee’d 1 was launched, the company is offering latest technology and class competitive engines in the latest model.
Most European countries will get the choice of two petrol and three diesel engines. The larger petrol engine, the direct-injection 135hp 1.6-litre unit, is available with Kia’s first ever dual-clutch automated transmission (DCT). The diesel choices are between a 1.4-litre 89hp and 1.6-litre offering either 110hp or 128hp. Curiously, the 109g/km CO2 1.4-litre engine is not the lowest emitter. That is the 1.6-litre EcoDynamics variant with 97g/km, which should ensure fleet interest. The second cee’d diesel curiosity is that the 1.6-litre diesel is also the highest emitting engine in the range with 145g/km CO2, when paired with the six-speed automatic gearbox. Standard transmission is a six-speed manual with all engines.
The interior looks a little more ordinary than the latest Hyundai i30 with a plainer looking dashboard, albeit with new audio systems including an integrated display for standard models. Curiously the car feels slightly more substantial than it’s Hyundai cousin. The Kia doors shut with a thunk not a clang.
Equipment will vary according to market, but our UK spec models offered ESC as standard and active head restraints, while other standard items include electric heated door mirrors, a reach and rake adjustable steering wheel, air conditioning, steering wheel remote controls, an iPod compatible audio system, with Bluetooth connectivity and USB socket. A host of new options includes a heated steering wheel and dual zone climate control.
The 1.6-litre petrol engine is very smooth, but the brand new, low-mileage examples did not feel particularly powerful. Maximum power is produced at 6,300rpm, so the engine needs to be worked to extract that. The engine was generally refined although it sounded coarser at high revs. The DCT transmission makes the best of the engine – well-adapted to its characteristics, but the trade off is no automatic stop/start, available with both 1.6-litre diesel and petrol manual models.
The 1.6-litre diesel was more appealing with superior low speed torque. It is a little noisy when cold but becomes far quieter as the engine warms up. Cruising at motorway speeds in Switzerland was refined – the most noticeable source of noise was wind, with some road noise but little from the engine. Long gearing means the engine was turning over at around 2,500rpm at an indicated 75mph.
The stiffer bodyshell contributes to the cee’d’s impressive ride and handling. It may not be up to Focus and Golf standards, but it has a supple ride and predictable handling. Most versions have flex steer, allowing the driver to dial in extra assistance when parking.
Each new Kia brings a tangible improvement and the second-generation cee’d is no exception. It’s comfortable, refined and has low emissions, giving plenty of fleet appeal.