The South Korean carmaker has decided to take a direct aim at the Volkswagen Golf with the new Ceed. Kia claims that it will be the most high-tech car in its class when UK sales commence, this autumn.
Revealed ahead of a public debut at the Geneva motor show next month, the five-door hatchback is the first from a new family of Ceed models. These will include an estate – which is expected to be shown alongside the new hatchback in Geneva – and a shooting brake, due in 2019. Beyond these, there is also an SUV due, to complete the line-up.
The new five-door has been given a more mature look with straighter lines and less clutter than its predecessor. The Ceed also comes with wheels of 15-inch, 16-inch or 17-inch diameters – the latter of which are two-tone diamond-cut aluminium ones.
Built on Kia’s latest K2 platform and developed at the brand’s European base in Frankfurt, the latest model offers improved interior space and a 15-litre increase in boot capacity (at 395 litres), as a result of tighter packaging and a 20mm wider footprint than its predecessor. The new Ceed also promises to be more agile, thanks to the platform's lower centre of gravity, with the car 23mm shorter and sitting on fully independent suspension.
Power for the new Ceed comes from a choice of two petrol engines and one diesel, which are shared with the model's twin from sister brand Hyundai, the i30. The smallest petrol is an updated version of a 1.0-litre T-GDi unit that produces 120hp, while a 1.4-litre T-GDi engine replaces the old car’s 1.6-litre petrol and comes in 100hp and 140hp forms. Just one 1.6-litre diesel CRDi is offered but it's new and comes in 115hp and 136hp guises. Drive is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual as standard, with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox available as an option on the 1.4-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel.
A 48V mild hybrid version will be added to the range next year – the same year Ford introduces a 48V mild hybrid version of its rival, the Focus – while Martins told Autocar that a plug-in hybrid version is “under consideration”. Martins said a fully electric version is also possible but unlikely because the K2 platform would need modifying, which could “impact interior space”.
Two drive modes, Normal and Sport, are available via the Ceed’s Drive Mode Select system. The former maximises fuel efficiency, while the latter sharpens throttle response and adds weight to the steering. An optional Eco pack adds an active air flap to the car’s front grille, which closes to reduce drag and opens to enhance engine cooling. The pack also includes an underbody cover and lowered suspension to smooth airflow beneath the car, as well as lower rolling resistance Michelin tyres.
Inside, the car comes with a new 5.0-inch or 7.0-inch infotainment display, depending on the specification, or an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in the top models. The Ceed gets Bluetooth smartphone integration, automatic lights and keyless entry as standard, while buyers are offered options such as a JBL premium sound system, wireless phone charger and heated windscreen.
The Ceed has a new Level 2 autonomous system called Lane Following Assist, which can take control of the car’s steering, throttle and brakes in traffic and even suggest the changing of lanes to maintain progress in heavy congestion. Also available is adaptive cruise control that can bring the car to a stop, blind spot and rear cross-traffic warning, as well as a parking assist function and pedestrian recognition technology that works with the car's forward collision avoidance technology.
Kia displayed the previous model at Auto Expo 2018, along with a large selection of its international line-up. Their stall also had the for-India SP concept SUV.
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