Kia Ceed review 2019

Find out more about the Kia Ceed in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • Very practical and spacious
  • Nice to drive
  • Good engines


  • Higher specification models are expensive
  • Limited engine choice
  • Not as engaging to drive as a Ford Focus
Model review

The Kia Cee’d (as it was known back then) began production in 2006 and succeeded the compact Spectra and Cerato models. It was the firm’s first car designed and built in Europe, for Europe.

In fact, Kia took the initials of the European Economic Community, EEC or CEE in some countries, and then added ED for European design. However, because ‘CEEED’ featured too many ‘E’s, it was shortened simply to Cee’d.

The manufacturer intended for it to take on mainstream alternatives throughout the market. And, in terms of sales, it did pretty well to say the least. In its first few years after launch, the Cee’d became Kia’s best-selling European model.

For 2010, Kia gave it a facelift, involving a new corporate grille called the ‘tiger-nose’. The sharper look was joined by some engine improvements including reductions in CO2 emissions and better economy.

Two years later, the second-generation Cee’d arrived – an all-new version created to build upon the first’s success. Featuring a more modern look inside and out, the second-gen car really brought the nameplate bang up to date. This generation also saw the introduction of the GT – a sporty variant and the company’s first shot at a hot hatch.  

Now, we move onto the current, third generation model, which began production in 2018.

Current model

As mentioned before, the current car came about in 2018 – and this time around, Kia dropped the apostrophe. That’s right, the C’eed nameplate is no more. Instead, we have the Ceed, which now stands for ‘Community of Europe, with European Design.’

Apart from that, the model is still a continuation of its predecessors, just thoroughly updated and revised in order to keep up with the competition. Exterior-wise, it retains the ‘tiger-nose’ grille, albeit slightly altered, as well as incorporating a sleeker silhouette and arguably sportier detailing.

The interior is much improved compared to the previous iteration. Not only does it feel more up to date, but everything seems better thought out. Buttons are clearly laid out and the materials are of good quality. Some people tend to think Kias are still low budget alternatives like they were in the past – this interior proves otherwise.

Out on the road the Ceed is, again, better than ever. It’s comfortable and all model variants are genuinely fun to drive – no longer does the range lag behind the competition in terms of driving enjoyment. Having said that, a Ford Focus or Mazda3 still puts a slightly wider smile on your face.

In terms of bodystyles, the current Ceed is available as a five-door hatchback, estate and, for the first time, a shooting brake and compact crossover (dubbed the XCeed).


Value for money

New Kia Ceeds, in hatchback form, are priced from a reasonable £18,600. Compared with some mainstream rivals, such as the £22,080 Volkswagen Golf and the £20,595 Mazda3, it actually comes in cheaper, making it good value for money – especially when you consider the standard equipment.

On the used market, buyers are spoiled for choice. Cheapest models go for a bargain £500 – for that kind of money, a first-generation example with just under 100,000 miles can be had. Second-generation ones rise to around £3,500, while used third-gen Ceeds start at around £12,500 – so there are good deals to be had throughout.


Looks and image

The current Ceed, especially, looks great. Unlike the previous Cee’ds, which look good but never really did anything to stand out for the crowd, the new Ceed has a real presence on the road. Its design is modern, sporty and stylish, and the hot GT version only adds to that. Sure, it may not the best-looking hatchback – that might have to go to the new Ford Focus in ST form – but it’s up there.

Video review

Space and practicality

The new Ceed fairs very well in this department. Its cabin feels spacious whether passengers are small or tall, sat in the front or back. Plus, there’s plenty of nice cubby spaces to store things, making the model almost as roomy as the rather boxy class-leading Volkswagen Golf.

The Ceed also excels when it comes to boot space. It has a generous 395 litres of load space, as well as a nice a low boot lip to make chucking items in the back that bit easier. If some extra practicality is needed, there’s always the Sportwagon estate model and its very handy 600-litre boot.   



There are three engines to choose from, excluding the 201bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol only available in the GT model. On the petrol side of things, there are two options – a 118bhp 1.0-litre and a 138bhp 1.4-litre. Both offer a good blend of performance and fuel economy, however we think it’s worth going for the bigger motor due to the extra poke it provides.

On the diesel front, there’s a 114bhp 1.6-litre. It’s the slowest of the lot but will get the best fuel economy, meaning it may be the one to go for if you plan on doing a lot of motorway miles.


Running costs

The 1.6-litre diesel, as mentioned before, will be the cheapest to run, achieving a claimed 74.3mpg while emitting just 99g/km of CO2. That being said, all engines that can be had with the Ceed are pretty cheap to run. For example, the 1.0-litre petrol is said to return 52.3mpg and emit just 122g/km of CO2 – not bad at all.

There’s even an Eco pack which only goes to lower the cars already low running costs. It’s comprised of an air flap in the grille which can close to improve aerodynamics when the engine doesn’t need as much cooling. 

Things to look out for

As the newest Ceed only arrived a couple of years ago, it’s difficult to tell how reliable it will be in the long term. But, going off what we know, the model should serve buyers well. In the driver satisfaction surveys, Kia tends to do rather well these days. The last Cee’d faired nicely too.

It seems few drivers uncover issues with their Kias, with a low amount finding problems with their cars during the sometimes troublesome first year of ownership. Now more than ever, buyers tend to be impressed with the practicality, reliability and running costs of models produced by the manufacturer.



The mid-sized hatchback class is a popular one in Britain and has been for a long time, meaning there’s no shortage of competition. The main three established rivals the Ceed really has to go up against are the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra. Fortunately, the Ceed has proved a compelling alternative over the years and there’s no doubt it’s a viable class-leading contender.



The Ceed is a common hatchback, meaning in terms of depreciation it’s not great, but not particularly bad either – in fact, compared to some other cars in the segment it holds its value well due to the steady level of demand.  Don’t expect high levels of value holding, but buyers shouldn’t fear that as soon as they’ve picked their car up resale values are going to plummet.  

Trims explained

There are eight trim levels to choose from – 2, 3, Blue Edition, GT-Line, GT-Line Lunar Edition, GT (as Kia treat the hot hatch version almost like a trim level), First Edition and GT-Line S. Do note prices will naturally increase with the specification of an upgraded engine.


The entry-level 2 trim, priced from £18,600, comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, front fog lights with chrome surround, DAB radio and a six-speaker audio system.

From £18,600.


Starting at £21,010, we have the 3 trim. It receives dual-zone automatic air conditioning, rear parking sensors, rain-sensing front wipers, an eight-inch touchscreen and auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Starting at £21,010.

Blue Edition

Step up to the £21,400 Blue Edition trim, and that gains 17-inch alloy wheels, LED bi-function headlights with cornering lights, black cloth seat trim with faux leather bolsters, privacy glass and a reversing camera.

From £21,400.


With GT-Line Ceeds, buyers are treated to 17-inch GT-Line wheels, a dual-exit exhaust, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay with voice control, and heated front seats and steering wheel.

Starts at £21,840.

GT-Line Lunar Edition

GT-Line, this time in Lunar Edition guise, is priced from £24,140. It has an engine start/stop button with smart-entry system, a reversing camera system and leather flat-bottomed steering wheel with grey stitching.

From £24,140.


The Ceed GT, the firm’s hot hatch, is priced from £25,850 and comes with 18-inch alloy wheels with red centre caps, a reversing camera system with dynamic guidelines, heated front seats and steering wheel, as well as an electronic parking brake.

From £25,850.

First Edition

First Edition models, which are priced from £26,055, include a premium sound system, smart cruise control, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, heated front and rear outer seats and an electronic parking brake.

Priced from £26,055.

GT-Line S

Topping the range, we have the GT-Line S trim. Priced from £27,490, it gets 18-inch alloy wheels with grey centre caps, blind-sport collision warning, smart cruise control with stop and go functionality, as well as a smart park assist system.

From £27,490.


  1. The Kia Ceed is a compelling alternative to mainstream rivals
  2. The original began production in 2006, and was Kia’s first car designed and built in Europe, for the European market
  3. In 2012, we got the second-generation version, which only furthered its appeal
  4. The current, third-generation iteration came about in 2018 and is better than ever
  5. New Ceeds offer pretty good value for money, starting at £18,600, although higher specification models are rather expensive
  6. as little as £500 in some cases
  7. There’s plenty of choice when it comes to the used market – and most older cars go for a bargain
  8. The current Ceed is very practical, especially in Sportwagon estate form
  9. All engines offer a good mix of performance and fuel economy
  10. It’s surprisingly fun drive no matter the spec, although the GT version gets the most smiles per gallon
  11. Wide selection of trim levels to choose from

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