There are a few lovely details on the new Kia C’eed, which help to cement the car as a major player in the C-segment. The extruded chrome surrounds to the front fog lamps, the little horizontal bevel in the C-pillar as it joins the roof and the Citroen DS5/BMW e60 5-Series-like lamps are all great quality and endow a premium feel.
Yet overall, this new C’eed goes down as a slight disappointment given Kia’s recent high standards. Yes, from a surface and detailing perspective it now competes with the best in class. But overall and in terms of its position, it’s not a great step forward. If we look at what the leading – and more premium – players in this segment are doing, this car’s too cab-forward.
The front quarter-light endows it too much mono-volume and MPV-like quality, which the last generation of C-cars such as the Peugeot 308 went towards, but most are now trying to pull (their A-pillar) back from. And the overall form, particularly around the rear three-quarters is reminiscent of the Fiat Bravo – which we’re sure is not what Kia were aiming for. The interior feels like much less of a step forward than one might expect too. Of course, in the context of a car that’s like to undercut the European mainstream by a couple of thousand euros, it’s still very impressive, and let’s not be too critical – this car at least matches the Opel Astra, for instance, which must be a concern for Russelsheim.
But Peter Schreyer’s design leadership can clearly only take the brand only so far and ultimately this new C’eed is slightly hobbled by its package, which to us looks a generation behind the leaders of the class.
By Joe Simpson