Hatchbacks

Kia Ceed drops the apostrophe, gains pretty new look

Kia’s European hatchback bows with a bold new look and a lot more tech at the Geneva Motor Show.

Andrew Hoyle/Roadshow

Most Americans know the Kia Ceed as the reasonably priced car from "Top Gear" a few years ago, though at that time it was officially called the Cee'd. The little hatchback has been a cornerstone of Kia's business in Europe, and now it's got a brand-new look and feel to go along with less punctuation in its name. The new range has taken to the stand at this week's Geneva Motor Show.

Despite its humble economy car nature, the Ceed is an interesting model because of its somewhat unique origins. The name Ceed apparently stands for Community of Europe, with European Design. Unlike most Kias, the Ceed is built in Europe, Slovakia specifically, alongside the European version of the Sportage and the Kia Venga. It was designed and engineered in Frankfurt, Germany.

The new Ceed benefits from a platform change and more pleasing looks.

Andrew Hoyle/Roadshow

The Ceed will be built on a brand-new platform that uses front and rear independent suspension, which Kia says will offer improved handling and comfort over the outgoing model. Buyers can choose from either a 1.0-liter turbo or several 1.4-liter turbo gasoline engines or a new 1.6-liter diesel. Every engine will come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, though the 1.4-liter engines can be paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Where the Ceed starts to get more impressive is in its available tech. Buyers will be able to choose between several infotainment screens, with the largest 8-inch display being reserved for navigation. A heated windshield is available, and I can think of several Roadshow staffers who would have appreciated that feature this winter. Lane Keep Assist is also available on the Ceed, making it the first European Kia to feature the technology.

Also cool is the Ceed's optional Eco Pack. Ticking this option nets you an Active Air Flap, which adjusts itself based on the engine's cooling requirements. The benefit comes in the form of enhanced aerodynamic efficiency and fuel economy. The Eco Pack also features an underbody tray and lowered suspension, as well as low-rolling-resistance tires. No word on how big a jump in mileage all this trickery will get you, but with gas prices in Europe being what they are, anything helps.

Kia has said that the new Ceed will go on sale in left-hand drive markets in Q2 of this year but hasn't given any specifics on when the UK can expect it in its showrooms.