It’s been quite a journey for Korean brands in this country, particularly Kia.
From very much sideshow in the 1990s with some, shall we say, quirky models like the the Pride, the early Sportage, (a model I first drove on holiday in America in 2001 and totally unrecognisable in today’s line-up) and the Carens.
Korean cars were rock bottom price and offered cheap motoring with excellent warranties, a groundbreaking seven years on the case of Kia.
That all changed with financial crash and the scrappage scheme which made these cars even more affordabl and importantly a new customer base, but also ushered in a new era of motors starting to match the traditional brands.
The Ceed is an excellent example, with contemporary styling, (hide the badge and it could be any mainstream hatchback), smart looking, high quality interiors, a fine range of engines and of course retaining what was the ground-breaking seven year, unlimited miles warranty.
Renamed from the clunky looking cee’d, the car is real C-segment alternative and although no longer bargain basement, has plenty to offer for the money.
This particular model was all of £20k, so things have moved on apace. But it is jam packed with standard kit, many to be found on executive class cars, features torquey, fuel efficient engines, a spritely three-pot one-litre petrol in this case, and low running costs.
It’s no surprise it could be mistaken for a European hatchback given that it is designed in German and built in Slovakia.
New from the ground up this year, all engines meet the latest Euro-6d-Temp emissions regulations. There are 15 variants with five engines, two transmissions and six trims new safety and advanced driver assistance systems and it is the first Kia to offer Lane Following Assist technology
The exterior features a lower, wider and dynamic appearance, sitting on eye-catching alloy wheels, it has sharper lines than its predecessor and wider, so called ‘tiger-nose’ grille and lower air intake with so-called ‘Ice cube’ LED front daytime running lights.
A smart, if not stunning looking profile.
It gets even better inside with the roomier cabin featuring horizontal dashboard layout, high quality soft touch materials, neat, logical controls and switchgear and eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system on this model which controls navigation and smartphone connectivity via Apple Carplay or Android Auto.
It also features Bluetoother connectivity with voice recognition, DAB radio with MP3 capability and Kia Connected Services with TomTom Live.
Also standard on this model is reversing camera, cruise control and auto dimming mirror and a novel, but extremely useful addition is the windscreen washer level warning.
A clever redesign of existing dimensions means that available space is better used with more head, leg and shoulder room throughout.
In practical terms the latest model’s boot has a capacity of 395 litres with a split-level boot floor, while fold the split rear seats and 1,291 litres become available.
The split floor can give deeper boot space or be used to conceal items which can be secured with hooks. Extra storage comes from centre console storage box, front and rear door storage and setback pockets.
On the road the 118bhp petrol engine delivers decent pace, it hits 60mph in 10.7 seconds, but feels quicker with the throaty rasp of the three pot engine. Mated to a slick, six speed manual gearbox, it pulls well through all the gears. Economy is good with a claimed 48.7mpg.
Upgraded suspension means the ride is comfortable and the handling surprisingly sharp, making for a pleasant driving experience.
The C segment is a tough sector to crash, but this latest family-friendly Ceed has plenty going for it.
It’s still relatively cheap considering the equipment lieve, , is packed with kit, looks goods and has high quality build and fittings.
Oh, and there’s that seven year warranty of course.
Mechanical: 118bhp, 998cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max speed: 118mph
0-62mph: 10.7 seconds
Combined mpg: 48.7
Insurance group: 28E
CO2 emissions: 131g/km
Warranty: 7yrs/unlimited miles