THE KIA Ceed is best known for being the car that countless celebrities crashed, crunched the gears of and peeled the tyres off — sometimes all at once — during its role as the ‘reasonably priced car’ on BBC show Top Gear. Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise drove it together, Mr Bean (well, Rowan Atkinson) was pipped to the post by Matt LeBlanc on the leaderboard, and Michael Fassbender made into the top five fastest drivers, despite there being ice on the track.
Now the Korean car maker has revealed a new generation of Ceed, but there isn’t a celebrity, or Stig, in sight.
The family hatchback is a rival to cars like the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra — reviewed here by Jeremy Clarkson. Since being launched in 2006, then with the name cee’d the hatchback has grown in popularity, thanks in no small part to its appearance as the ‘reasonably priced car’ on Top Gear, during series 15 to 19. Nearly 1.3m models have been sold to date.
The new, third-generation Ceed won’t be appearing on the TV programme but it will be in a Kia showroom near you. What’s there to see? Kia says it’s a more stylish-looking car, with a classier interior that’s been purposely designed to hold its own against a Golf. The man overseeing its transformation, Peter Schreyer, was poached from Audi, where he designed the original TT.
A 5, 7 or 8-inch touchscreen controls most of the car’s functions. There is said to be more interior space onboard, and the boot has been enlarged (to 395 litres) to better cater for the demands of drivers with a family.
To ensure the car drives well, Kia spent time fine-tuning its steering and suspension in the UK, where the roads are considered to be some of the most challenging in the world. It features a wide range of engines, with 1.0-, 1.4- and 1.6-litre petrol units and a new generation of 1.6-litre diesel that had to be engineered to meet more demanding, Euro 6 emissions regulations.
And in keeping with the drive toward increased levels of driver aids, the steering wheel now features haptic sensory warnings to alert the driver to danger. This is in addition to a new level of driverless technology, such as Lane Following Assist and Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go.
Naturally, Kia hasn’t meddled with one of the car’s most attractive features — its seven-year, 100,000 mile warranty.
The new Ceed will make its debut in public at the Geneva motor show and goes on sale in the UK in the summer.