Used Kia Ceed Review (2012-2018) MK2

Independent review by Peter Hayward from Driving Force

4-minute read

Kia Ceed Exterior Front Static

Kia Ceed (2012-2018)

Super reliable and well-built, the Kia Ceed is ideal for families thanks to its good all round capabilities and comfortable interior

Search Used Kia Ceed


  • Two bodystyles to choose from
  • Highly reliable
  • Great all-rounder
  • Steering could be more engaging
  • Modest looks
  • Lower powered engines lack punch
Search Used Kia Ceed

What's the Kia Ceed like?

The second-generation Kia Ceed launched in 2012 and was a big step up from the car it replaced.

This was the model that brought Kia almost up to date with the Ford Focus and the Vauxhall Astra, but with a far better warranty than either.

That warranty – seven years or 100,000 miles from new – is still one of the best you can get, and the cars have proved themselves to be strong, well-built, reliable, and long-lasting.

The range includes a 5-door hatch, the Sportswagon or SW estate, and the more sporting GT.

They were designed for the European market, with good looks, family-sized interior space, and a high quality finish.

And that warranty is transferable to subsequent owners - you have to be sure of your products to make an offer like that.


From launch, petrol engines were a 98bhp 1.4-litre and a 133bhp 1.6-litre, both of which came with a 6-speed manual gearbox as standard. But the 1.6-litre was also available with a 6-speed dual clutch automatic.

The 1.4-litre takes a leisurely 13.0 seconds to accelerate to 60mph, but is capable of 65 mpg, while the 1.6-litre takes 9.9 seconds and can do 52mpg.

From 2015, two versions of the same 1.0-litre turbo were added, producing 98bhp and 118bhp, and giving the 60mph sprint in 12.3 and 10.7 seconds, but with improved economy of 57mpg and lower emissions.

The GT has a 1.6-litre turbo petrol with no less than 201bhp for excellent performance.

There have also been two turbo diesels, a rather puny 1.4-litre with 89bhp that takes 13.5 seconds to get to 60mph and a very good 1.6-litre with either 126bhp or 134bhp (after 2015) that covers it in under 10.0 seconds.

The 1.6-litre was also available with a 7-speed version of the twin clutch automatic gearbox.

The 1.4-litre should be more economical than the 1.6-litre, but this is not the case. It’s good for a government figure of 68mpg, while the 1.6-litre will do a claimed 76mpg, with only 97g/km emissions.

Driving Experience

The Ceed's handling is still not quite as sharp as a Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf, but the driving dynamics and feel of the car are very good, with excellent grip and agility through the corners.

It’s let down a little by rather lifeless steering through the twisty bits, except in models fitted with the company’s Flex Steer system.

This gives the driver a choice of three steering modes – Comfort, Normal and Sport – which add weight to give more feel.

Comfort is generally very good, and they cope well with rough roads in town while still maintaining that at higher speeds.
Peter Hayward

Tyre noise is low, but there's some wind noise.

The seats are decently shaped, but would benefit from a little more side support, and the cabin is driver focused and has soft plastics and quality switchgear.

GT models have stiffer, more sporting suspension and don’t ride as comfortably, but they do handle better and take the corners brilliantly.

Interior and Equipment

The driving position is comfortable for all, and the simple, clear dash layout makes all very easy to live with.

There’s plenty of space for five, with good legroom front and rear and a huge boot.

Safety is excellent, helped by traction control, the stereo has aux in for other devices and other standard equipment includes air conditioning, a cooled glove box, electric front windows, 60/40 split folding rear seats, remote locking, height and reach adjustable steering, and wheel-mounted audio controls.

Mid-range 3 models add sat nav, alloys, cruise, lumbar support and parking sensors.

Find your Kia Ceed your way with CarStore

The Kia Ceed is a hatchback (or estate) that offers good all-round capabilities, making it popular amongst many. Kia's confidence in the reliability of their cars bodes well for used buyers, and when paired with the Ceed's other features such as the standard equipment and comfortable ride, you'll find a car that's very hard to beat.