Like the Cannonball Express, Kia are coming fast at you in the UK fleet market. With a range of low emission diesels & an attractive range of models, Kia are looking to almost double their UK sales in the next couple of years & the model that will lead the charge is the new cee’d Mk 2.My test model was the most likely popular choice 1.6 CRDi with an on the road price of £18,295. The first thing you may notice about this is the price, which is Golf & Focus territory & you’d be right. With the new cee’d, priced to compete with the Golf, Focus & Astra , this could be a little bit of a gamble by Kia UK. Kia have always been good value for money, whilst also offering great service & reliablity to it’s customers, but UK buyers are usually price led, so it will be interesting to see where the Ceed is priced on contract hire.
I tested the cee’ds sister model last month, the Hyundai i30 & found that although a good all round car, it is not quite up to the pace when put up against the Golf Bluemotion for example. And, unsurprisingly, I feel the same about the cee’d, although I felt that it was better put together & perhaps slightly more appealing than the i30, although the Hyundai is a little more funky both inside & out.Kias are always well equipped & the cee’d is no different, with outside, tinted glass, chrome surround windows, rear spoiler, Front fogs, cornering lights, LED daytime running lights/combination lights, aero blade front washers,, reversing sensors & projection headlights. Inside offers leather trimmed steering wheel, ear stick & hand brake, as well as a drivers seat height adjustor & tilt & reach steering wheel adjustment, 6 speaker audio system, RDS radio/CD/MP3/USB/AUX, Bluetooth with voice recognition & music streaming ( my favourite ) cruise control,air con, steering wheel controls,electric windows, & remote central locking. Chuck in Kias phenomenal 7 year/ 100, 000 mile warranty, 12 year anti perforation warranty, 7 year paint warranty & it’s an impressive package.It drives well too, handling corners with aplomb & cruising on the motorway quietly & comfortably. Like the Golf Blue Mo though, you have to change down a bit too much to generate power when you need it, as this model is aimed at fuel economy. And although the claimed is an impressive 74.3 combined, my test drive for Company Car showed me returning an average of 49.6 mpg, which is still pretty impressive. To keep the accountant happy & money away from the Treasury, the cee’ds CO2 emissions are just 100g/km. It actaully fells quicker than the claimed 0-60 mph time of 11.5 seconds & goes on to a credible top speed of 122 mph.
Regular readers will know my views on Kias other ‘fleet’ models, the Optima ” beautiful ” & ” Sporatge ” a real head turner “. Perhaps because the cee’d is Kias volume fleet model, it’s not as exciting to look at as it’s siblings However, I have absolutely no doubt that the cee’d will will do the business that Kia are expecting of it, because after all , looks aren’t everything & the UK fleet customer will look not at the car but at the overall Kia package, which is tremendous. Throw in their reliability which is second to none & the fact that the Kia dealer network is really starting to get in tune with what SME’s want & you have a recipe for fleet success.