Kia Cee'd (2012 – 2018) Review

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Kia Cee'd (2012 – 2018) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
By offering value for money, but without budget styling or interior quality, the Kia Ceed makes a lot of sense.

+Impressive value for money and plenty of standard equipment, later T-GDI petrol engine offers impressive performance and economy, seven-year warranty.

-Kia badge lacks the premium cachet of some rivals, early 1.4 and 1.6 petrol engines can sound thrashy, larger 17-inch alloy wheels make for a lumpy ride.

Insurance Groups are between 6–26
On average it achieves 73% of the official MPG figure

Introduced in 2012, the five-door Kia Ceed helped propel the Korean brand from boring dependability to genuine desirability. By the time it was replaced in 2018, the Ceed had proven itself a family hatchback that still offers value for money, but with an added degree of style. A range of economical engines, a spacious interior and strong equipment levels all mean it makes a compelling case for itself. Rivals like the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf cannot come close to matching Kia’s seven-year warranty. Only the Kia badge itself is likely to be a problem for some.

Looking for a Kia Cee'd (2012 - 2018)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

Making a successful stand in the family hatchback sector requires a car to deliver on a range of different criteria. Kia established itself as a maker of reliable cars fit for the European market with the original Ceed. But this second-generation version moved the brand into the mainstream from 2012. 

Sharper looks were a major part in the plan to ensure the new Ceed stood out from rivals. Without getting too carried away, the trademark ‘Tiger Nose’ front grille and rakish headlights do mean the Ceed is more handsome than humdrum. It’s also much more of a looker than the mechanically similar Hyundai i30.

Where the Ceed also scores big is on interior space. It almost matches the Volkswagen Golf for boot capacity, and delivers impressive legroom both front and back. The five-door body means no problems unloading children on the school run, and even adults should feel well accommodated in the rear of the Ceed.

Despite the sportier looks on the outside, the Kia Ceed is still very much a car suited for normal commuting and family life. Other than the separate Ceed GT hot hatch, the regular model is refined and relaxing on the road. Accurate and light steering makes for an easy life when parking, and the Ceed is nimble enough to navigate tight city streets. 

The Ceed will also happily hold its own on the motorway, with an overall feeling of stability. It’s an effective all-rounder, just as buyers would expect from class favourites like the Golf or Focus. All it lacks is an outright degree of excitement, but most will be more than happy with what it offers on the road. 

This is backed by a wide range of engine options, from diminutive petrol units through to larger diesels. Some of the early 1.4-litre and 1.6 petrol engines can feel lacklustre outside of urban driving, although the later turbocharged 1.0 T-GDI petrol is far more effective. Kia also offers two diesel engines, with the 1.6-litre CRDi notable for offering strong fuel economy and respectable performance. 

Affordable running costs are one of the Ceed’s major strengths. Insurance ratings are lower than key rivals, while VED (road tax) is also unlikely to break the bank. However, the biggest selling point for the Kia is still that seven-year warranty. That it can transfer to new owners makes it a real boon for those looking at used models, adding extra reassurance to the buying process. 

Equipment levels are also strong across the range, with every Ceed featuring air conditioning and electric windows. Cruise control, rear parking sensors and alloy wheels were available on the well-priced ‘2’ specification model. 

Generous levels of standard equipment, combined with a spacious cabin and boot, tick off the important considerations for a family hatchback. Low running costs and a seven-year warranty add to the overall package of dependable transport, with just a hint of style. 

Ask Honest John

Can you recommend a car for a growing family in London?
"We're trying to decide on potential used cars, budget is up to £7000 (cash), for 2 adults and, at present one infant (may well be 2 within 12 months!) plus a cocker spaniel. We live in fairly central London, too. I guess petrol is the right fuel, manual transmission preferable. Space for dog and baby/infant stuff is obviously important. We don't do many long (i.e. 100-mile) journeys but once lockdown ends there may be occasional holidays across the UK. We've wondered about Skoda Fabia, Seat Leon, Ford B-Max, Fiesta, Focus. Any comments are helpful! Thanks."
You're right to be considering a petrol car for your requirements. I think you'd soon outgrow a small hatchback like a Skoda Fabia or Ford Fiesta. We'd recommend a Skoda Octavia – you'll get a 2013-2020 model in budget. It's a really practical car that offers great value for money, and there's an estate version too if you need even more space. Take a look at a Honda Civic or Kia Cee'd, too.
Answered by Andrew Brady
I'm buying a diesel but just read about DPF issues when used for short trips. Should I be right to panic?
"I'm a bit of a novice and don't know much about DPFs and diesel engines (or...well... cars in general). Normal small family car use, so mostly shop trips, longer 20min+ drives at weekends and a few longer motorway drives throughout the year. I'm buying a 2013 Kia Cee'd diesel auto and, now reading about diesels and DPF issues, I'm panicking. Should I be rethinking this purchase?"
Diesel engines are not designed for low-mileage use. The feedback we get from drivers who use diesels for short trips is overwhelmingly negative, with a lengthy catalogue of EGR and DPF faults. Some cars are better than others (we get receive very few Kia DPF complaints) but my advice is to always avoid diesel unless you drive at least 15 miles per trip.
Answered by Dan Powell
What's the best automatic for covering 20,000 motorway miles a year?
"What medium-sized automatic would you recommend for motorway driving, up to 20k miles per year. I had a Mazda 3 1.5 petrol but it was thirsty. I'm looking for something less with a budget of £8k-£10k. "
A Kia Cee'd would be a good option. The 1.6 CRDi auto is reliable and efficient, and your budget will get a 2016 model which will still have some of its manufacturer warranty remaining. Also consider the very similar Hyundai i30 with the same engine or a Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTi.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What's the most reliable petrol car for taxi use for a £7000 to £8000 budget?
"What's the most reliable petrol car for taxi use for a £7000 to £8000 budget?"
I'd suggest a Kia Cee'd. They're very good value for money and you'll get one with the remainder of its seven-year warranty. Also consider a Toyota Auris or Honda Civic - both ought to be very reliable. Also consider a Honda Accord if you'd prefer something bigger. The Vauxhall Insignia represents very good value for money, too.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a Kia Cee'd (2012 – 2018) cost?