Kia is shaking up its Ceed compact car family in response to the rising popularity of SUVs and crossovers. Besides giving the latest-generation model advanced safety technology, a cleaner diesel engine and a better ride, Kia will add new variants.
The Ceed's five-door hatchback and wagon versions will be joined by a sporty so-called “shooting brake” wagon. Kia has dropped the slow-selling three-door model from the family and is considering launching a Ceed-based crossover.
The Ceed will be the first Kia sold in Europe to offer a lane following assistance system, which suggests other lanes to move into safely. The system also keeps the Ceed in its lane and controls acceleration at speeds up 130 kph (81 mph).
Kia says the Ceed's cabin has been made more ergonomic and has sophisticated soft-touch materials. A revised horizontal dashboard lay out also creates a sense of openness for the front passenger, allowing more space in the footwell and a clearer view ahead.
The Ceed is 20mm wider and 23mm lower than the model it replaces. The new car’s wheelbase is the same at 2,650mm, with the front overhang shortened by 20mm and the rear overhang extended by 20mm.
The Ceed's ride and handling have been upgraded to improve cornering performance and stability at higher speeds. The car gets a new fully independent suspension system that makes it more agile.
Kia will add a 48-volt mild hybrid Ceed next year but has no plans for a full-electric version. It currently sells the Soul EV and will debut a Niro EV at the Paris auto show later this year.
The compact car segment is crucial in Europe – only the small car segment is more popular – and key to Kia’s future success. Now in its third generation, the Ceed was launched just for European buyers in 2006. It has been important in helping Kia double its market share in the region since then to 3 percent. In the first quarter, with 18,895 units sold, according to JATO Dynamics, the Ceed was the brand's No. 3 seller after the Sportage SUV and Picanto minicar.
The Ceed was previously known as the Cee'd but for the new model Kia dropped the apostrophe.