New Kia Cee'd due to hit the UK
The new Kia Cee'd will go on sale in the UK on June 1st, priced from £14,395.
It's the second generation Cee'd, and brings the Korean company full circle - the first generation car kicked off a revolution for Kia, catapulting the company from maker of cheap and not-so-cheerful budget runabouts to middle-market stalwart capable of rattling the mainstream.
The new Cee'd doesn't do anything groundbreaking, but improves on its predecessor markedly - it's more stylish, higher quality, and cheaper to run on average.
Kia's class-leading seven-year warranty - introduced with the first Cee'd - remains.
The car represents two firsts for Kia: a direct injection engine and a dual-clutch automatic gearbox are both offered for the first time. Better late than never.
Two petrol engines and two diesels are available off the bat: 1.4- and 1.6-litre diesels, and petrols of the same capacity.
The bigger diesel returns 76mpg and 97g/km, thanks in part to start/stop. It develops 126bhp, and is more economical than the 1.4 diesel, with 89bhp, which can only muster 69mpg. The most powerful Cee'd is the 133bhp 1.6-litre petrol.
Kia designed and developed the Cee'd in Europe, and promises a much better drive than before; the car has a stiffer chassis, and it has independent rear suspension - not a given for a family hatchback.
Standard equipment is improved, while tech introduced for this generation includes an electric parking brake, heated steering wheel, two-zone air con, and electrically adjustable memory seats. Three-way adjustable power steering (switchable between Comfort, Normal and Sport) comes with higher models.
And in a refreshing fit of model designation simplicity, Cee'ds trim levels are named 1,2,3 and 4.
The most you'll pay for a Cee'd, before options, is £23,795 for a dual-clutch 1.6-litre diesel in top spec. That's only a few hundred pounds less than you'll pay for a top whack Focus. How times have changed.