Kia has released its first picture of the revamped version of its Golf competitor, the cee'd. The Korean manufacturer says it has tweaked the bonnet, bumper, grille and lights and made some interior upgrades as well. These centre on improvements to the centre console and the audio system. One stated purpose of the changes was to graft Kia's new family face, in particular its new grille shape, onto the car.

It is unusual for these sorts of tweaks to be applied so early in the life of a strong product such as the cee'd. Although they are described as a "mid-life change", they come only a little over a year and a half after Kia's mid-range model first went on sale to widespread praise from the motoring press as one of the first cars from a Korean manufacturer to be fully competitive with the best European products in its class. Perhaps Kia felt that the car's neat but slightly bland looks - it doesn't really stand out in traffic - were holding it back.

The cee'd's basic excellence is not in doubt, though - and the appeal of the more recently introduced small Soul MPV shows that the high standards the cee'd set weren't just a flash in the pan but part of a sustained effort on Kia's part to match the Europeans across the board.

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