Having planted the seeds of its British and European success more than a decade ago, Korean car company Kia looks set to capitalise further with its new third generation Ceed hatchback.
Ahead of first UK deliveries in August, I’ve just been driving it in glorious Slovakia – or should that be ‘Slova-Kia’ – from the smart 12-year-old factory in a picturesque valley in Zilina where it is made.
Here’s what you need to know. This five-door family hatchback looks the business and won’t disgrace your driveway. It drives well. Prices are reasonable.
Ceed sown: The third generation of the model has been especially engineered for UK’s potholed roads
Lower, wider and with a longer wheelbase and rear overhang than the car it replaces, it has more interior space.
You’re spoilt for choice on new and improved engines contributing towards 11 trim and engine combinations at launch.
And it’s been engineered especially for the UK’s increasingly potholed roads.
The driver has a lower, sportier driving position, while both in the front have more headroom.
Passengers in the back have more shoulder room. The larger 395-litre boot has plenty of space for bags.
There is a choice of seven paint finishes with ‘ice cube’ LED daytime running lights as standard.
It’s a decently priced alternative to pricier rivals like the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. If you want a bigger load-lugger an estate model is about to follow.
Kia: It is a decently priced alternative to Ford Focus or VW Golf
I was pleasantly surprised driving the engaging entry-level Ceed ‘2’ with a sprightly and frugal turbo-charged 1.0 litre T-GDi 3-cylinder 118bhp petrol engine linked to a nifty six-speed manual gear-box.
With a base price of £18,295 it has many features that would be ‘extras’ on dearer rivals, though a smaller 7 inch dashboard display.
It averages 52.3 miles to the gallon and manages 58.9mpg when cruising. Pretty good up steep hills with acceleration from rest to 60mph is 10.9 seconds with a top speed of 116mph.
Speed: It averages 52.3 miles to the gallon and manages 58.9mpg when cruising
The more rounded performance package came with the new fully stocked ‘First Edition’ Ceed in fetching Blue Fame with a smoothly powerful turbo-charged 1.4 litre T-GDi 4-cylinder 138bhp petrol engine linked to a seven-speed automatic gearbox that comes into its own in ‘Sport’ mode.
It accelerates from rest to 60mph in a nippier 8.9 seconds up to a top speed of 128mph, yet still manages an average 50.4mpg.
The heftier £26,850 price tag does include lots of kit as standard including a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, panoramic roof, black leather seats, 17 inch alloys (16 inch is standard), privacy glass, and an electronic parking brake.
The eight-inch sat-nav and entertainment touchscreen complements a decent dashboard and interior inspired by Kia’s sporty Stinger muscle car.
The main attraction of the new ‘U3’ 1.6 litre CRDi 114bhp diesel linked to a manual six speed gear-box – which I drove in ‘2’ level trim priced from £19,545 – is the economical 74.3mpg average, and low tax CO2 emissions of 99g/km appealing to high-mileage company car drivers.
The 1.4 petrol is smoother and livelier.
Potholes: It’s been engineered especially for the UK’s increasingly potholed roads
The new Ceed is the first to offer a new autonomous ‘lane-following assist’ technology which uses sensors to monitor traffic and white lines, and controls acceleration, braking and steering at speeds between 0 and 81mph.
You really do feel the automated tug and nudge on the steering wheel when the car uses white-line road markings to keep the Ceed in its lane on motorways and on major roads. A warning sounds if you take your hands off the wheel for too long.
Other safety technologies include ‘smart’ cruise control with ‘Stop & Go’, blind spot and rear-cross traffic collision warnings, pedestrian recognition, smart parking assist, and forward collision-avoidance assist.
SLOVAKIA CAR BOOM
With a population of just 5million, Slovakia has more car-workers per head of population than anywhere in Europe.
Jaguar Land Rover is building its Discovery, and PSA Peugeot-Citroen, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche build a million cars a year there.
Regardless of trim level, every Ceed is equipped as standard with a range of electronic stability and braking systems which kick in automatically if they detect a loss of traction, as well as a driver attention warning.
The new car was designed at Kia’s European design centre in Frankfurt, Germany, under the direction of European design chief Gregory Guillaume and chief design officer Peter Schreyer who created the original Audi TT.
In truth, the worst thing about Ceed is still probably its chunkily convoluted name – but even that has been improved.
At the launch of the first generation car back in 2006 and the second in 2012, someone in ‘marketing’ clearly decided that for a car designed in Frankfurt and built in Slovakia, they had to reflect European love and harmony.
So the name ‘cee’d’ in arty lower case – with an aberrant apostrophe – was born from ‘seed’ and the idealistic acronym for ‘Community of Europe with European Design’.
Lost in translation, it’s taken Kia’s more pragmatic British bosses 12 years and to the brink of Brexit to finally convince head office to ditch the apostrophe, add a capital letter and call it Ceed.
The fact people had problem searching for ‘cee’d’ online was a key factor, I’m told.
Lego creates James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 model
The kit was launched by Naomie Harris
James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5, based loosely on a version used in the 1964 film Goldfinger, is now available for £129.99 — but you have to build it yourself from 1,290 pieces.
It’s been created by Lego as a 1:8 scale model and comes complete with machine guns, revolving number plate, tyre slashers, bulletproof shield and ejector seat.
The kit was launched by Naomie Harris, who played Miss Moneypenny in recent Bond outings, alongside a real DB5 at Lego’s London flagship store in Leicester Square.
The toymaker’s version looks slabby compared to the gorgeously curvaceous original, but it’s a snip compared to the £1,961,500 which a real DB5, driven by Pierce Brosnan in the film GoldenEye, fetched at Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed auction earlier this month. Enough for more than 15,000 Lego versions.
- Ever felt you’re on a road to nowhere? I happened to be heading south from the North-East this week during a late-night roadwork closure on the M1 between Nottingham and Leicester, when confusing ‘diversion’ signs ran out, leaving frustrated motorists driving around in circles.
- Highways England apologised for the cone chaos while it carries out months of ‘improvements’ and creates a ‘smart’ motorway. If you’ve had similar ‘diverting’ experiences, let me know.
- Jaguar Land Rover has applied to trademark the name ‘Road Rover’ — last used internally decades ago on an experimental model. Expect a sleek electric crossover range, says motor mag Autocar.
- Howay the Jags! The open-air NE1 Newcastle Motor Show takes over the elegant heart of the city on the August 4 and 5 weekend.
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