Thursday 30 November 2023

REVIEW – Kia Ceed 1.4 T-GDi First Edition

Associate Editor, Social Content Manager

Kia Ceed 1.4 T-GDi First Edition
  • Exterior Styling
  • Interior Finish
  • Engine / Performance
  • Ride / Handling
  • Economy
  • Practicality
  • Equipment
  • Value For Money


The third-generation Kia Ceed looks better than ever. Its interior is also the most premium yet. The 1.4 T-GDi petrol engine is a great balance of economy and a lively, spirited drive. The ride is less composed than competitors. The Ceed lacks the adaptive damping which is creeping into this sector these days. Overall the Kia Ceed makes a great case for itself as a practical, reasonably-priced and well-equipped family car.

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Exterior Styling

The 3rd generation of the Kia Ceed has hit showrooms, and brings a whole new suit. It’s safe to say that it’s a rather smart-looking vehicle from most angles.

The new shape makes the Ceed appear longer, bolder and holds a lower shoulder-line than its predecessor. There is quite a resemblance to the current generation Ford Focus and Mercedes A class to the exterior.

At the front, the Kia ‘family’ grille is instantly recognisable. The grille is finished in a chrome trim which gives a premium look.

Twin sweeping headlights help to create a sportier presence to the front. The headlights now feature the four square LED daytime running lights previously found lower on the bumper on GT Line models. They’re very distinctive and give the Ceed a menacing look on the road.

To the side, you’ll find more chrome trim and body-coloured mirrors. The Ceed ‘First Edition’ sits on 17-inch diamond cut alloys. Opt for the ‘2’ model and you’ll get 16-icnh alloys as standard.

To the rear you’ll find the usual sports spoiler. Below that is a contrasting black bumper with a singular sports exhaust. The rear taillights have been redesigned, and appear sleeker and more contemporary.

Our test car was finished in the new Blue Flame colour which is particularly striking. It’s not offensive but stands out enough for people to recognise you’ve got yourself a new car. I wouldn’t choose any other colour if I was placing an order (however there are 7 to choose if you wish).

Interior Finish

The usual recipe for the interior in a Korean car these days is decent materials, a practical layout but lack of colour and texture. As such the interiors can be rather boring and forgettable.

However, the interior in the new Ceed feels a bit more upbeat. There’s a splash of metal-look plastic around the dashboard and door handles, a sports leather steering wheel and a stitched-effect dashboard.

Interior quality brings a nice blend of premium materials, offset against some hard-scratchy plastics (albeit not much). Overall, there’s no denying that the interior finish is up to high standards and puts some of the premium car manufacturers to shame.

The 8-inch infotainment system sits on top of the dash and gives a more modern appearance. Its also a practical place to glance at, whilst still keeping your eyes on the road.

Controls are laid out perfectly, in the usual Kia manner. If you’ve driven a Kia before, you won’t find it hard to jump straight into this latest Ceed.

The bolstered seats are also rather comfortable, providing just enough lateral support. The seating position is lower than you’d expect in a family hatchback. But that allows the driver a sporty seating position.

To the rear of the car, there’s little to shout about. The material quality is there, but there’s little in the way of contrast. It is a little bit dull back there, and the back of the centre console is a hard, scratchy plastic. But this isn’t an issue from the driving seat.


Our test car had the pick of the range, a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine. The engine produces 138PS and 242Nm of torque. Kia also offers a smaller 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, or a 1.6-litre diesel engine.

The engine feels lively and responsive. A 6-speed manual gearbox draws the maximum drivability from the smaller engine. The 0-62mph dash is a respectable 8.6 seconds. That’s not exactly break-neck speed, but there’s always the Ceed GT (to be tested later this year) if you need a little more power.

At motorway speeds, the Kia Ceed picks up well. It overtakes well, with the turbocharged providing enough torque to allow you to hold higher gears. The only time you need to drop a cog to maintain momentum is when heavily loaded up steeper inclines. For the most part, this 1.4-litre Ceed feels amply competent.

The only drawback was the lack of engine note inside the cabin. Plant your foot on the accelerator and you’ll hear nothing but a dreary moan, almost like the engine is depressed. The sporty driving position and lively engine puts the driver in a playful mood when on a twisty b-road. But the lack of noise makes that mood fall a little flat.

Most surprising is the exhaust note. We were that baffled by it that we initially thought the car had a fault. The exhaust burbles, pops and crackles like a sports car! Put it this way, I’d happily swap my Skoda Octavia vRS’s exhaust for one of them. It’s just a crying shame you can’t really hear it from inside!


Given that the this was the ‘First Edition’ not the GT, we hoped for a balanced ride. To be honest the Ceed just wasn’t there. It all seems a little confused. Let me explain further.

At lower speeds around town the Ceed would pick up small dips, lumps and bumps that other hatchbacks would absorb. A big bump felt like sitting on a rollercoaster with a bass drum in the rear.

However, at motorway speeds the ride is smooth and comfortable. Along with a quiet engine and road noise: the Ceed becomes a rather pleasing motorway cruiser.

So, you’re probably thinking that given the seemingly firmer setup the Ceed is refined in the corners? Well unfortunately the steering has weight but not feel. The Ceed also lacks an element of responsiveness; the steering definitely feels less sharp than some rivals.

We think the 17-inch alloys could well have contributed to the Ceed’s over-sensitivity to lumps and bumps. If you opt for the ‘2’ model, you’ll get 16-inch alloys which could potentially resolve some of the ride issues.


As noted earlier, our test car had the pick of the range, the 1.4 litre petrol turbo. On paper the car can achieve 48.7 mpg on a combined cycle, and that’s rather good considering it’s a petrol.

Its not often that we see the published figures in the real word, however we’re pleased to say that the Kia almost achieved the claimed figures. It’s especially impressive given the current difference in petrol/diesel price at the pumps. The Kia Ceed stakes a strong claim for a shift back to petrol power.

The key thing we noted was how easy the car was to drive in a relaxed and economical manner. The 6-speed gearbox helped keep revs down when tootling around, and the start/stop system helps improve economy around town.

In terms of CO2 emissions the Kia Ceed produces 132g/km which is fairly standard for a modern petrol engine. So all things considered, its pretty cheap to run.

The VED for the first year is £205 and will be absorbed into the list price. After that you’ll see a yearly cost of £140, so again not braking the bank.


Hatchbacks can vary significantly when it comes to space and practicality. We’re delighted to say that the Kia Ceed ticks all the boxes when it comes to space and usability as a family car.

Passenger space in the rear is fairly surprising with plenty of space for adults. The rear bench seats are both comfortable and supportive, whilst maintaining generous leg room.

The rear seats also come with easily-accessible ISOFIX mounting on the outer seats, which is important if you’re planning on starting up a family. Trust me, finding hard to reach ISOFIX points in the cold, dark winter months isn’t particularly pleasant.

In terms of rear boot space, the Ceed has a capacity of 395 litres. Not only does this trump most rival hatchbacks, it’s also more than in some small SUVs. The boot opening is large and provides ease access for larger items.

To be honest, unless you’ve got a Great Dane, you shouldn’t need a bigger boot.

Fold the rear seats down and you’ll increase the capacity to 1,291 litres of space with the ability to fold the seats completely flat for those trickier, larger items. Yes, Ikea, we’re talking about you…


To be honest the following phrase has been quite common this year; “we’re always impressed with the Koreans and their technology”. Kia packs a lot of kit into its cars as standard and, as with the previous generation, the Ceed is no exception.

Inside the Ceed ‘First Edition’ features an upgraded 8-inch touchscreen display with an eight-speaker JBL audio system. Sat-Nav, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay comes as standard with the car.

Access is made simple via keyless entry with a push-button start. To aid parking there’s a reversing camera, with both front and rear sensors. The Ceed also features Smart Park Assist for easy parallel and perpendicular parking. For comfort there’s a heated steering wheel, along with heated and cooled front seats and heated outer rear seats for the kids.

To make the cabin seem larger, there’s a sunroof with an electric tilt and slide. For added comfort, the seats are upgraded with a 10-way power adjustable driver seat with memory functions.

To keep you safe on the road, the Kia Ceed includes autonomous emergency breaking, blind spot detection and lane departure warning system.

The added safety features and driver assistance systems should ensure the Ceed maintains 5 stars in the Euro NCAP ratings, although they haven’t tested the new Kia Ceed as yet. Nevertheless, you can be confident it will keep you and the family safe. As always, the level of safety equipment will ensure that insurance bills remain on the cheaper side.

Value For Money

The Kia Ceed range starts at £18,295 for the Ceed ‘2’ edition. Our test car, the 1.4 t-GDi ‘First Edition’ costs £25,750 OTR. For that price, you’re getting an exhaustive list of equipment and car, but its still a significant outlay for a family hatchback.

If you can live without some of the creature comforts such as the sunroof, upgraded sound system, heated and cooled seats and heated steering wheel, then you can save yourself a lot of money by opting for the ‘3’ model. The ‘3’ starts at a more reasonable £20,705.

If you’re worried about optional extras, you don’t have to. The Kia Ceed ‘First Edition’ comes with everything as standard. It’s a policy Kia has taken on all its models. Even the Blue Flame metallic paint comes as standard.

The Ceed is also backed by Kia’s 5-year, 100,000-mile warranty to give you long term peace of mind.

In summary, the Kia Ceed is a brilliant hatchback. Kia has managed to pack a lot of kit into a sleek, stylish body. It hardly sets the world alight in performance, despite teasing a sporty driving position and throaty exhaust noise.

But is it economical in the real world, and it’s price point is certainly competitive when you consider the level of equipment compared to competitors. We just can’t wait to try some of the other variations of the Kia Ceed; notably the Pro Ceed and GT models. Watch this space…

Facts and Figures

Engine 1.4-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Max power 138PS at 6,000rpm
Max torque 242Nm at 1,500-3,200rpm
Drivetrain 6-speed manual gearbox, front-wheel drive
0-62mph 8.6 seconds
Top speed 130mph
Fuel tank size 50 litres
Fuel consumption 48.7 mpg, combined cycle
CO2 emissions 132 g/km
Kerb weight 1,315 kg
Towing capacity 1,000kg braked / TBS kg unbraked
Luggage capacity 395 litres
NCAP rating TBC stars
Base price £25,750
Price as tested £25,750
Company website www.kia.com/uk/new-cars/ceed/

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