Here’s the low-down

We’re proud of little ol’ Kia! It had a humble start, but a bargain pricing policy backed up by increasingly impressive products and a class-leading warranty structure have paid dividends for the Korean manufacturer.

The Cee’d arrived in 2006, and 1,000,000-plus sales later it’s undeniably made its mark. This year has brought a facelift for the current-generation car, which means improved ride, handling and refinement, as well as styling and cabin upgrades. There’s a sleek new GT Line spec, too.

Of arguably more importance, though, is the introduction of a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol turbo, and a seven-speed dual-clutch auto that can been specified with the range-topping 1.6-litre diesel, which itself has undergone a boost to 134bhp and 221lb ft of torque.

The new gearbox is quite an improvement over the preceding six-speed unit, enhancing the engine’s torque and allowing full access to its performance. Quiet performance and smooth progress mark out the new 1.6 oil-burner.

As family cars go the Cee’d is not the most dynamic option, but as an ownership prospect it’s hard to fault.

Ride and handling are not quite so steady, though, particularly over rough surfaces, and although the soft settings deal well with low-speed bumps, it results in noticeable body lean in fast corners. Traditionally vague, inconsistently weighted steering still needs work to improve feedback across all three Normal, Comfort and Sport modes; rivals such as the Ford Focus are more exciting behind the wheel.

The solidly built cabin is much more competitive in the class. It’s roomy enough for four adults, the driving position offers plenty of adjustment and the 380-litre luggage space is accommodating and versatile. Additions to the previous already-generous spec levels include chrome accents and a TFT screen, which is good to use but is no substitute for a well overdue infotainment overhaul.

As family cars go the Cee’d is not the most dynamic option, but as an ownership prospect it’s hard to fault. Its seven-year warranty is industry-leading, the CO2 emissions are cleaner then before and the 4 Tech 1.6 diesel should cost around £24,000 with the new auto – which isn’t at all bad for a range-topper. Kia, you’ve come a long way!

Kia Cee'd 1.6 CRDi 136 DCT 4 Tech 5dr

On sale: Now

Price: £24,000 (est)

Engine: 4cyl, 1582cc, diesel

Power: 134bhp @ 4000rpm

Torque: 221lb ft @ 4000rpm

Gearbox: 7spd auto

Kerbweight: 1316kg

0-62mph: 10.6sec

Top speed: 124mph

Economy: 64.2mpg (combined)

CO2/tax band: 115g/km, 21%

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