LOWER, wider and with a longer rear overhang, the latest Kia Ceed looks set to continue its successful journey.

Since the first rolled off the production line in 2006, he’s been a European star for Korean company.

This is in large part thanks to Kia’s European design and product development team, which made sure it would find favor in this part of the world. It now represents more than a quarter of Kia’s European sales.

So with the latest tweaks you now get the most dynamic and sporty volume car in the Kia stable to drive and also a car known to be reliable and practical.

In addition to the hatchback, there’s a higher ride in the XCeed, a station wagon version and the svelte Proceed for those looking for the sportier of the bunch.

But here I’m testing the hatchback in the GT-Line specification with the kick of a turbocharged 1.5-liter gasoline engine that will go from standstill to 60 mph in about eight seconds and provide a fuel economy of one. just under 50 mph.

It has the look and the engine, but what else do you get for your money? As standard it comes with a six-speaker audio system, DAB and MP3 radio compatibility and USB and AUX ports for connecting a multimedia device, Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming and easy smartphone connection. .

You also get an eight-inch touchscreen navigation system paired with a 4.2-inch color supervision screen and on-board computer, rear view camera and rear parking sensors.

The ride quality is firm but acceptable, and when it comes to handling, the GT-Line simply enjoys city driving and open road driving thanks to its six-speed manual gearbox or alternative. Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

The new model also retains two hallmarks of Kia: the tiger nose grille and the stunning Ice Cube LED daytime running lights as standard.

Built on Kia’s new K2 platform, the Ceed is 20mm wider (1,800mm) and 23mm lower (1,447mm) than the outgoing model. Its wheelbase remains the same at 2,650mm, with a 20mm shortened front overhang (to 880mm) and an extended 20mm rear overhang (now 780mm). This new platform allowed for a larger trunk, which now has a capacity of 395 liters, as well as more shoulder room for rear passengers, more headroom in the first row and a more driving position. low.

The exterior of the GT-Line features a satin chrome and gloss black grille surround, model-specific 17 or 18-inch alloy wheels, among other design touches.

Inside, the GT-Line gets a sportier vibe that includes a black cloth roof liner, metal scuff plates, sport seats and a leather-trimmed D-shaped steering wheel.

Kia has not only managed to make the Ceed more dynamic to drive with a new independent suspension system and more direct steering, but also to reduce noise and vibrations in the passenger compartment. It is really very refined.

The new Ceed range also sees the upgraded 1.6-liter diesel engine with the addition of 48-volt mild hybrid technology. The 134 hp, 48-volt 1.6-liter CRDi mild hybrid powertrain comes with a new six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with cable clutch.

Kia’s Intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT) is designed to increase fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions, while retaining the driver engagement of a conventional manual transmission.

Instead of a mechanical linkage, the iMT’s clutch operates purely electronically. Although the iMT features new cable clutch technology in place of a mechanical link between driver and transmission, it retains the same operation and driver engagement as a conventional manual.

The new transmission will be adopted on a number of future Kia models.

IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE

Kia Ceed 1.5 T-GDi GT-Line

Price: £ 24,225 (Ceed range from £ 19,705)

Engine: 1.5-liter four-cylinder petrol engine developing 158 hp

Transmission: six-speed manual

Performance: 0 to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds; top speed 130 mph

Economy: 49.6 mpg combined

CO2 emissions: 129g / km

RATINGS

Performance: ****

Economy: ****

Driving / Handling: ****

Space / Practice: ****

Equipment: ****

Safety security: ****

Value for money: ****

GLOBALLY: ****