Review: Kia Ceed (2018)


Lots of standard equipment. Very good interior with slick media system. Seven-year warranty.

Not as cheap as it once was. Engines a little unrefined. Not as practical as a Skoda Scala or Honda Civic.

Kia Ceed (2018): At A Glance

The Kia Cee'd has always been popular with value-conscious buyers. It's the sort of car you buy if you appreciate a lengthy seven-year warranty and don't want to stretch your monthly payments to a Volkswagen Golf.

But the Kia Cee'd is now the Kia Ceed (note the lack of apostrophe) and, with it, it's become an excellent family hatchback in its own right. There's no ifs and buts, it really is as good as rivals such as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.

That's good news as it's priced pretty much in-line with the Focus, meaning it's no longer the value choice it once was. But when you look at the standard specification, the Kia Ceed shines. Even entry-level models get a seven-inch touchscreen media display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with a reversing camera and cruise control.

The interior looks stylish and feels very well-made, with lots of plush materials and lots of buttons hinting at the amount of gadgets fitted as standard. The media screen (eight-inches on all but the most affordable models) looks a bit like a tacked-on afterthought, but it's easy to use and its position means it's easy to glance at during driving.

There's plenty of space, too. At 380-litres, the Ceed's boot is equal to the Golf, bigger than the Focus's yet smaller than the Skoda Scala's. It's nothing to shout about, but it's a handy square shape and there's also a Sportswagon version if you do need more space.

Engine choices include an updated version of the 1.0 T-GDi turbocharged petrol with 120PS plus a new 1.4 T-GDi with 140PS. A 1.6-litre CRDi caters for the diesel market, available in two versions - 115PS and 136PS. Buyers can also choose between a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission.

There's very little to dislike about the new Ceed. It's more expensive than before, but you get lots for your money. And when it's just as good as the likes of the new Ford Focus but comes with a seven-year warranty, you'd have to have serious prejudices against the Kia badge not to consider the Ceed.

Kia Ceed 2018 Range Road Test

Kia Ceed 1.4 T-GDI 7-DCT 2018 Road Test

What does a Kia Ceed (2018) cost?

List Price from £18,850
Buy new from £15,017
Contract hire from £167.10 per month

Kia Ceed (2018): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4310–4325 mm
Width -
Height 1442–1447 mm
Wheelbase 2650 mm

Full specifications

The Ceed's cabin feels well finished, with lots of plush materials and no shortage of standard equipment. The entry-level Ceed 2 gets a seven-inch touchscreen display, but this is upgraded to an eight-inch system on higher-spec models. It's tacked onto the dash, making it look a bit like an afterthought, but it is well positioned for glancing at during driving.

The infotainment is easy to use but, refreshingly, Kia hasn't tried to cram everything into the digital display. There are still plenty of big, easy to understand buttons on the dash for everything from skipping audio tracks to adjusting the temperature of the climate control. It might not look as simplistic as a Peugeot 308, for example, but there's a lot to be said for not being distracted during driving.

Kia excels at value for money and, while the Ceed might not be the budget offering it once was, standard equipment across the range is excellent. All Ceeds come with cruise control, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a reversing camera.

By lowering the seats compared to its predecessor, the Ceed feels roomy for those in the front. There's plenty of headroom and finding a comfortable driving position is easy, especially on higher-spec models with their 10-way electric seat adjustment.

It doesn't feel quite so spacious in the back, with knees of taller passengers pressing into the front seats and the Ceed's sloping roofline hindering headroom. It's not any more claustrophobic than most rivals, but you might be better looking at a Sportage if you regularly carry rear-seat passengers.

The 395-litre boot is a useful shape with a low lip aiding loading bulky items. A height-adjustable boot floor is standard across the range, as are 60:40 folding rear seats - although they don't drop entirely flat.

Standard specification (June 2019):

Grade 2 models are fitted with cruise control with speed limiter, air conditioning, an alarm system, front wiper de-icer, electric windows all-round and automatic headlight control. Other features include 16-inch alloy wheels with locking wheel nuts, front fog lights, projection headlights and cornering lights, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors in body colour, a high gloss black front grille, chrome window surrounds and LED rear lights. Inside, there’s black premium cloth seat trim, a leather trimmed steering wheel, gearshift and hand brake and a rear centre armrest. A seven-inch touchscreen audio display is provided, along with a reversing camera system with dynamic guidelines, DAB radio, Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone compatibility with voice control. Safety includes Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), High Beam Assist (HBA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA).

Blue Edition features 17-inch alloy wheels, LED bi-function headlights with cornering lights, eight-inch touchsreen navigation with European maps and traffic messaging channel, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB radio with MP3 comptability, six-speaker audio system, reversing camera, black cloth seat trim with black faux leather bolsters, privacy glass, front passenger seat adjuster.

Grade 3 adds 17-inch alloy wheels, dual automatic air conditioning, eight-inch touchscreen navigation with European maps and traffic messaging channel, rear parking sensors, reversing camera system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB radio with MP3 compatibility, privacy glass, rain sensing front wipers, auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

First Edition gets a wide sunroof with tilting/sliding function and automatic electric roll blind, LED bi-function headlights with cornering lights, eight-inch touchscreen navigation with European maps and traffic messaging channel, JBL premium sound system with eight speakers, smart park assist system (SPAS) parallel/perpendicular/reverse with front & rear parking sensors, smart cruise control with stop & go Functionality (DCT only), heated front & rear outer seats, ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, electronic parking brake.

GT-Line adds privacy glass, rear bumper with dual exhaust, leather D-cut steering wheel with grey stitching, heated front seats and steering wheel, dual automatic air conditioning, engine start/stop button with smart entry system, eight-inch touchscreen navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, reversing camera.

GT-Line S comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, black leather and faux suede with grey stitching, smart cruise control, LED bi-function headlights, heated front and rear outer seats and steering wheel, eight-speaker JBL premium sound system, smart park assist sstem, blind-spot collision warning, electronic parking brake.

GT features LED bi-function headlights, heated front seats and steering wheel, leather D-cut steering wheel with red stitching, dual automatic air conditioning, engine start/stop with smart entry system, eight-inch touchscreen navigation with European mapping and traffic messaging channel, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, reversing camera system, electronic parking brake.


Child seats that fit a Kia Ceed (2018)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Kia Ceed (2018) like to drive?

The Ceed's entry-level 1.0-litre petrol engine will be fine for many buyers. With 120PS, the turbocharged unit suits the car well and has plenty of power for driving around town. It lacks torque so requires working harder on the motorway, but it'll keep up with traffic if you don't mind being heavy with the accelerator and the trade-off in refinement that brings.

For those wanting a bit more performance, the 1.4-litre is an eager engine. It's not quite a refined as the 1.5-litre petrol used in Volkswagen Group rivals, but it's sprightly enough and returns around 42mpg in the real world according to our Real MPG data.

The Ceed's sole diesel offering is a 1.6 CRDi available with 116 or 136PS. It's a frugal engine with enough power for motorway driving no matter which you go for, but it's a bit more vocal than you might expect. It's smooth enough, though, and there's little in the way of vibration through the pedals or steering wheel. 

You might expect the Ceed to be a little dull to drive, but it might surprise you. Fully-independent suspension means the Ceed does a commendable job of absorbing bumps, even with larger wheels, while a fast steering rack means it feels surprisingly agile. Sure, it'll soon run out of grip if you ask too much of it, but it feels safe and doesn't lean too much in corners. 

On the motorway, there's a degree of road noise (especially on larger alloys), but wind noise is well contained. Technology like hill-start assist (standard across the range) and adapative cruise control (optional with the DCT gearbox on various models) contribute to a car that's very relaxing to drive for long distances.

It's easy to drive around town, too, with good visibility and a standard reversing camera to aid parking.

The standard six-speed manual gearbox is fine, if not as precise as that used in the Focus, while the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic available on the diesel engines and the 1.4-litre petrol. This is slick enough and ought to be reliable compared to similar gearboxes used in European rivals.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.0 T-GDI 50–55 mpg - 115–125 g/km
1.4 T-GDI 49–50 mpg - 131–132 g/km
1.4 T-GDI DCT 50–50 mpg - 127–132 g/km
1.6 CRDi 64–74 mpg - 99–107 g/km
1.6 CRDi DCT 67 mpg - 99–110 g/km
1.6 T-GDI 42 mpg - 155 g/km

Real MPG average for a Kia Ceed (2018)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

29–62 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Kia Ceed (2018)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Is buying an electric car for commuting realistic at the moment?

My daily commute is a 180-mile round trip on a variety of motorway sections, roundabout filled dual carriage ways and B roads. I currently drive a 2009 Citroen C5 diesel automatic. Tax is a whacking £350 and fuel is costing me an average of 15p a mile with 30k miles p/a. I am 6'4'' with a grumpy back and have found the C5 very comfortable to drive. Plus, the automatic is much less tiring than my previous manual car. I would like to get running costs down. Is it worth buying a modern car and is an electric car even realistic? I live on a terrace street with no charging points but do have the potential to charge an electric car at work. I also travel abroad regularly so an electric option would need to be happy sitting in the airport car park for several weeks at a time. I am not in a position to spend tens of thousands on a new car. I have investigated lease deals on various new/nearly new modern diesels as well as some hybrids. However excess millage costs that I would incur make this an unrealistic option. Also if I were to buy a newer car, in the back of my mind is its actual value with 2035 not too far off.
Electric cars make sense for a lot of people. However, with no home charging available and regular trips abroad, you'd have to be really dedicated to running an electric car for 30k a year. We'd recommend sticking with a modern diesel for your mileage. No matter which route you go down, any car's going to depreciate rapidly if you add 30k a year (hence high lease costs). The only way to avoid this is to run an older model like your C5 but, as you're probably finding, that'll result in higher maintenance costs. I'd look for a frugal diesel like a modern Skoda Octavia, Kia Ceed or Ford Focus. You could consider a hybrid but fuel costs will be expensive - hybrids are at their best around town.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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