Well, our esteemed road testers think that the new Ceed has “fulfilled its potential” in this generation, making it “more worthy of recommendation than all but the very best cars in one of the toughest market segments in the world”. Who am I to disagree?
Exterior impressions, however, don’t seem to paint our Ceed as a particularly revolutionary car. With design head Peter Schreyer’s influence from his time at the Volkswagen Group, the Ceed appears to just about toe the line between the understated class of a Golf and complete anonymity. Despite this, it does seem to attract looks from passers-by – although that could be largely down to our car’s lovely Blue Flame paint. The subtle bodykit and 17in alloy wheels add a touch of visual appeal too.
We’ve opted for the top-spec First Edition model, which looks steep at a smidgen under £27,000 but is loaded to the gills with toys. The kit tally includes LED headlights, a large electric sunroof, a JBL sound system, smart park assist with front and rear sensors, an 8.0in touchscreen sat-nav and smart cruise control. There’s also an impressive array of other driver assist aids, which I’ll report on in detail once I’ve used them more.
What does mark the Ceed out are its fronts seats, which are not only electric and heated (the rears are heated too) but also ventilated – something usually found in only high-end models. A heated steering wheel should also ensure gloves won’t be needed when the weather turns bitter.
The interior overall stands out not just because of the kit but also the quality. This is as close to a Golf as Kia has ever been, with glossy or soft-touch plastic that’s pleasing to the eyes and touch, an attractive design and neat extras, such as the wireless phone charger under the centre stack.
Little touch points also show the effort Kia has made to improve perceived fit and finish, including the sliding cover for the USB and 12V points in the dashboard, which is so nicely damped that it wouldn’t be out of place in a Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
The only thing that’s taking the shine off so far is the passenger’s grab handle, which has started to rattle over bumps. I’ve yet to trouble the Ceed’s rear-seat room or boot space, but both appear generous enough for family life or a light weekend away.
Our Ceed isn’t just fully loaded in terms of trim: it also has the most powerful engine available at launch (before the Ceed GT arrives). The 1.4-litre turbo petrol four-pot pumps out a modest 138bhp but a healthy 178lb ft of torque, and is mated to Kia’s seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.