Kia Ceed GT review – warm hatch to warm the heart

Kia Ceed GT review – warm hatch to warm the heart
Kia Ceed GT review – warm hatch to warm the heart

Last August Kia released an all-new version of its Ceed family hatchback and a Sportswagon. Now, in stage two of a three-pronged attack, the Ceed GT has been released into the wild alongside the ProCeed shooting brake.

Looking to expand the worthy but ordinary Ceed’s appeal, the latest two models have a distinctly sporty brief with a more powerful engine and custom chassis setup.

The Ceed GT is not a full-blown hot hatch. For comparison, it’s Ford Focus sized but with Fiesta ST power. But it has enough muscle to be fun.

Kia Ceed GT

Kia Ceed GT

Price: £25,535
Engine: 1.6-litre, four-cylinder, turbo, petrol
Power: 201bhp
Torque: 195lb/ft
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Top speed: 143mph
0-60mph: 7.2 seconds
Economy: 38.2mpg
CO2 emissions: 155g/km

The 201bhp turbocharged four-pot will get the Ceed GT to 60mph in 7.2 seconds. That’s identical to the ProCeed GT shooting brake but thanks to the six-speed manual (there is no automatic option) it feels freer revving and more willing.

Keep it the right gear and that feeling continues as you gather pace and show it some corners.

Kia argue that beyond 200bhp you’ll struggle to make the most of a car whereas you can fully exploit all of the Ceed GT’s power. I’m inclined to agree. You can wring the Ceed’s neck without hitting silly speeds but it feels urgent enough to bear its GT badge.

Going quickly in a straight line is one thing but the Ceed does itself proud when shown a challenging road.

Kia’s engineers spent six months adapting the standard car’s suspension. A lower ride height, stiffer springs and softer anti-roll bars were developed to suit fast driving on European roads and the changes, plus a tweaked stability control setup, are enough to offer hot hatch handling, even if it lacks the pure focus of some cars.

Kia Ceed GT interior

There’s an overall lightness to the Ceed. It feels lively, nimble and responsive. String a sequence of tight turns together and you’ll come out the other side grinning thanks to the agility and substantial grip offered by that revised suspension.

The lightness extends to the steering, which even in sport could do with a little more heft and feedback. Once you get used to it, though, there’s enough speed and feel through the wheel to enjoy hustling the Ceed GT along.

All through your adventures you’re accompanied by the sort of burble and bark from the exhaust that will turn heads without descending into the anti-social territory of the Hyundai i30 N.

Out of sport mode, that noise is subdued enough not to be wearing and the fact this isn’t a hardcore hot hatch means the ride is pliant enough for day-to-day comfort.

Kia Ceed GT

To make it stand out from regular Ceeds, the GT has the typical visual tweak of a deeper front and rear bumper, side skirts, a dinky roof spoiler and some subtle badging. The 18-inch alloys are exclusive to GTs and feature neat centre lock-style hubcaps.

Inside the cabin, it’s business as usual. The Ceed’s sensible but slightly dull interior is lifted a bit by the supportive sports seats, stainless steel-effect pedals, some red stiching and a fat, D-shaped steering wheel. Driver and passenger are well catered for with heated seats, keyless entry and start, an eight-inch media/nav screen and assistance systems covering everything from autonomous emergency braking to lane keep and high beam assist.

The standard Ceed is a good but unremarkable family hatchback. With the GT, Kia have spiced it up brilliantly and developed something that offers plenty of pace and a whole heap of involvement without sacrificing the comfort and practicality of the standard car.

Kia Ceed GT

Isuzu D-Max review - a plain but practical pick-up

Jeep Renegade Limited review - Limited in more ways than one

Volkswagen T-Cross review - latecomer storms to the front of the pack