Sowing cee'ds of excellence
F OR reasons beyond the control of either myself or the staff at the Ken Jervis dealership who loaned me the car, I only had time for a short road test of the new cee'd – enough for me to get a good first impression but not much more.
But do you know what? I don't think it matters. I don't think I would learn a great deal more if I had it for a week because it is obvious within moments that this is another stunning car – another step forward in Kia's short but deeply impressive climb up the quality ladder and the word which kept coming back to me during my time behind the wheel was 'sophisticated'.
The new cee'd is a bit more rakish at the front and further evidence of the company's growing confidence and mastery of European tastes when it comes to design.
Its bodyshell is lower and longer but fractionally narrower although the track at both front and back – the distance between the wheels on one axle – is actually wider. The overall effect is to make the car look far sleeker then before.
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The interior is a triumph, with good materials and superbly put together and it's things like the almost Lexus-like clarity of the instruments that make this car so special in its segment.
I tried the back seats and had plenty of headroom and there is a decent amount of space in the cargo area as well.
There is a choice of petrol or diesel engines, manual or automatic and my test car had the 1.6 diesel which gets below the magic 100 g/km of CO2 so its tax exempt and will average a claimed 76 mpg.
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With its long-legged six speed gearbox and plenty of torque it lopes along with very little throttle and at the legal limit in this country the engine was turning over at just 1,750 rpm but still pulled stongly. That's impressive.
My test car was also one of Kia's EcoDynamics sub-brand so it had things like the Stop/Start system and lower rolling resistance tyres.
The ride is good but I noticed more improvement in refinement with slightly less wind and road noise than I recall from the earlier car, not that that was in any way intrusive, and it is certainly a very relaxed cruiser.
One thing I wasn't sold on was the little button on the steering wheel that allows you to select between Sport, Normal or Comfort settings for the steering resistance.
As I said, there was only time for a brief drive but the cee'd made an incredibly strong and positive first impression on me.
Given how many new cars I get to drive in my job it takes something very good to really stand out.
The first cee'd did that five years ago and this second generation one performed exactly the same trick.
OUR thanks to Kia dealers, Ken Jervis, for the loan of the vehicle.