SKINNY LATTE CAR
It’s a no-brainer. Given the choice, no customer wouldn’t want a warranty lasting until 2016 or 100,000 miles, over and above a typical one valid only until 2012 or for 60,000 miles. The best new car warranty in the business has been on offer with the Kia cee’d since it was first launched two years ago. Now, as the cee’d emerges newly refreshed from a makeover, the warranty still remains the strongest weapon in its arsenal. It’s by no means the only one, though. The cee’d has always been a lot of car for very reasonable money, and a perky performer with a winning personality, which is still true today. Cosmetic changes have been made to the exterior to bring it up to speed with the rest of the models in Kia’s range, and the cabin has been given an upgrade with better quality materials, improved comfort and extra equipment.
The original cee’d was already a decent handling car with a civilised ride, but feedback made Kia believe that there was still room for improvement. As a result, the suspension has been fettled following extensive testing on UK roads, which are regarded as some of Europe’s most revealing when it comes to ride and handling. And it has definitely been worthwhile. The car now feels even more poised, taut and tidy. On a long country route though the north west between Manchester and Liverpool, the cee’d handled tight bends and a multitude of variable surfaces with calm assurance. What was previously a rather complex model range has now been simplified with fewer models. There are still three body shapes (a five-door hatch, SW estate car, and pro_cee’d three-door), a choice of diesel engines (the 1.6 CRDi turbodiesel in two power outputs), plus two petrol units, and three trim levels.
An important change is the addition of a new ultra clean and frugal version, badged EcoDynamics. This is Kia’s new green umbrella and It includes stop-start technology to save fuel and cut CO2 normally squandered by idling in traffic or at the lights. Kia calls this addition ISG, which stands for Intelligent Stop and Go and it works very effectively. On a 45-minute drive around Liverpool city centre, the ISG system halted the engine for just over 11 minutes – which is a seriously worthwhile saving.
The EcoDynamics package is mated to the lower powered version of the 1.6-litre engine, which packs 89bhp and 173lb ft of torque. It’s a robust performer and reasonably quiet, too. With this unit, the cee’d delivers an impressive 67.3mpg on the combined cycle, and produces only 110g/km of CO2 – and it gets to 62mph in 13.5 seconds. The gutsier 113bhp version of the same engine is more refined, over two seconds quicker off the mark and with the top speed boosted to 116mph. Fuel consumption is 1.4mpg lower, and CO2 output goes up by a mere 3g/km.
RIVALS: FORD FOCUS, HYUNDAI i30, PEUGEOT 308, RENAULT MEGANE, VAUXHALL ASTRA, VOLKSWAGEN GOLF
- Engine: 1582cc, 4-cylinder, turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 6-speed manual
- Max power: 113bhp at 4,000rpm
- Max torque: 188lb ft at 1,900 to 2,750rpm
- Max towing weight: 1,400kg
- Max speed: 116mph
- 0-62mph: 11.1secs
- Combined consumption: 61.4mpg
- CO2 emissions (taxband): 122g/km (D)
- Boot space: 534/1664litres
- Insurance group: 6