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2018 Kia Ceed

2018 Kia Ceed and Sportswagon revealed in Geneva

2018 Kia CeedCan’t wait for the new Ford Focus? Kia has revealed its new Ceed hatchback and Ceed Sportswagon estate at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show.

Based on Kia’s new K2 platform, the new Ceed (note the lack of an apostrophe – at last) is 20mm wider and 23mm lower than its predecessor. Its wheelbase remains the same, while a rear overhang extended by 20mm compensates for a 20mm shorter front overhang.2018 Kia Ceed

Engineered especially for Europe – something that has helped Kia become one of the big boys over here in recent years – the new Ceed will come with a variety of petrol and diesel engines.

The petrol line-up is made up of a 100hp 1.4-litre, a 120hp 1.0 turbo and a turbocharged 140hp 1.4. Diesel buyers are catered for with a 1.6 in 115hp and 136hp guises. There’s also a choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed double-clutch auto transmissions.

The Stinger effect

2018 Kia Ceed

Built alongside the Sportage and Venga in Slovakia, the Ceed marks a clear step upwards in terms of quality. Sitting in the cabin at Geneva, cues from recent Kia models such as the upmarket Stinger are obvious. There’s a new infotainment system, available with a five- seven- or eight-inch screen, while a variety of drive modes cater for all driving styles.

The boot’s 15 litres bigger than before, up to 395 litres in the hatchback (which, incidentally, is now only available as a five-door). The Sportswagon accounted for around 40 percent of all sales of the outgoing Ceed, with the new model boasting a boot size of 600 litres (bigger than the larger Optima Sportswagon but short of the Honda Civic’s 624 litres).

2018 Kia Ceed

Technology includes level two autonomy in the form of lane-following assist. This tracks vehicles in front of the Ceed in traffic and uses road markings to keep the car in its lane on the motorway. It can control the steering, acceleration and braking using sensors to monitor vehicles ahead. It operates at speeds between 0mph and 80mph.

Prices are yet to be announced, but we doubt there’ll be much of an increase over the current £15,365 start-price. In true Kia fashion, the new Ceed will come with a seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty with sales starting in summer. Still tempted to hold on for that Focus?

2018 Kia Ceed

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Update 2: Everything we rate (and hate) about the Kia Optima SW

Kia Optima Sportswagon 1.7 CRDi GT-Line S estate (2016): long-term review

Kia Optima Sportswagon 1.7 CRDi GT-Line S estate (2016): long-term review

Wagons are cool, right? There’s a definite trend towards practicality among new car buyers in the UK. Just look at the success of crossovers, and we’re increasingly buying more estates than conventional D-segment saloons.

But, until now, Kia has never sold an estate version of its Mondeo-rivalling Optima. And that might go some way towards explaining why it’s never sold particularly well.

Having cashed in on its seven-year warranty and exceptional value for money, Kia (along with sister brand Hyundai) is gradually attempting a move upmarket. When it revealed its Sportspace concept, it was clear change was on the horizon.

Not only was the Optima-previewing concept absolutely drop-dead gorgeous (something the Optima has never previously been), it was also shooting brake in shape.

When Kia revealed the new Optima at Geneva 2016, it was no surprise, then, to see an estate (or ‘Sportswagon’ in Kia terminology – SW for short) in the line-up. In fact, the firm says it expects around three quarters of all Optimas sold in the UK will be the wagon.

The new Optima SW certainly looks the part, but should you buy one over a rival such as the Ford Mondeo or Skoda Superb? We’re spending six months putting it to the test.


Report 2: everything we rate (and hate) about life with the Kia Optima SW

Update 2: Everything we rate (and hate) about the Kia Optima SW

I’ve done a lot of miles in the Kia Optima since I introduced it to the MR long-term test fleet. I could write a lengthy piece about how good it was for driving to Wales for Christmas duties (hence the picture of it looking filthy above), how a Nordic Fir slotted into the boot and how it copes brilliantly with the daily grind, but you probably know all that. So I thought I’d do one of those trendy listicles about what I like and dislike about the Optima SW.

Good things about life with the Kia Optima SW

Good things about life with the Kia Optima SW

The seats are brilliant

OK, it might sound like a silly, minor thing. All cars have relatively comfortable seats, right, especially if you spend more than £30,000 on the top-spec leather-trimmed GT-Line variant? Well, yeah, but I eternally find myself aching after a long stint in pretty much any Volkswagen Group product (I think I’m the wrong shape for German seats). In the Optima, I’m as fresh as the proverbial daisy even after a slog of several hundred miles.

My mates like it

Yeah, this is an odd one. I’m a 20-something car writer type whose mates should appreciate Civic Type Rs and other hooligan specials. But, without fail, they love being driven about in the Optima. That’s probably because it feels safe and I don’t even bother trying to drive it fast. Also…

The sound system is really good

I’m no audio snob, but all grades of the Optima SW from the ‘3’ up feature a Harman Kardon sound system. The speakers (eight in total) do a commendable job of mimicking a premium car’s sound system. Combine this with Spotify through my phone (we’ll come onto that shortly…) and the Kia becomes a mobile disco.

The gearbox is slick

While rivals such as the Mazda 6 and Vauxhall Insignia stick with conventional automatic gearboxes, the Kia Optima gets a more upmarket dual-clutch transmission. This makes for faster gear changes – and it works brilliantly. Just don’t bother with ‘eco’ mode unless you’re motorway cruising (another thing I’ll come onto shortly).

It looks great

Finally, look at it. This doesn’t look like a downmarket offering – it attracts loads of admiring glances, especially in Temptation Red. While I’m not sure about the chintzy grille, the rest of it looks great – particularly from the rear.

Bad things about life with the Kia Optima SW

Bad things about life with the Kia Optima SW

It likes a beep

Turn the ignition on without putting your seatbelt on and it beeps. Run low on washer fluid and it beeps. Drive in cold conditions and it beeps. Stand near the boot and it beeps (before the electronic tailgate, standard on the GT-Line S, starts opening). I find beeps infuriating yet Korean and Japanese cars love them.

The reversing camera gets muddy easily

At this time of year, cars get filthy pretty quickly. Normally I’m the sort who doesn’t bother cleaning their car over winter (what’s the point when it gets dirty again so soon), but the Optima’s reversing camera (standard on all models) and clever 360-degree around view monitor (standard on the GT Line S) means I’m having to clean the Optima almost weekly. The cameras get covered in the dirt extremely easily, and there’s no washer system like on some models.

The steering is too light

No, I don’t expect super-direct steering, but the Kia Optima’s steering is so light just keeping it on the straight ahead is a bit of an effort. Feedback is non-existent, while putting in sports mode makes things heavier but not particularly communicative. Talking of which: sports mode holds onto the revs for too long, while eco mode is frustrating – roundabouts particularly (“are you sure you want to pull out rapidly,” the car says, “think of the trees!”). Why can’t I have ‘normal’ mode with slightly heavier steering?

It has a puncture repair kit

I recently got a puncture in the Optima. I can’t really blame the Kia for that, but I can blame it for having a rubbish ‘tyre mobility kit’ that only worked long enough for me to limp seven miles to my nearest ATS Euromaster. Said ATS Euromaster were too busy to fit me in for a couple of days, meaning I had to abandon the Kia in their car park and get the train. Give me a full size spare any day.

There’s no Apple CarPlay… yet

I’m a huge fan of Apple CarPlay, and if I was a company car driver looking for an estate car to cover long distances, CarPlay would be high on the list of priorities. Curiously, the Optima Sportswagon is available with Android Auto but not Apple CarPlay. It’s on its way, apparently, but I do miss it on our long-termer.


Introduction: Kia Optima SW 1.7 CRDi GT-Line S estate

Introduction: Kia Optima SW 1.7 CRDi GT-Line S estate

Car company bosses often seem ashamed to admit that they’re targeting company car drivers with a new model. The suggestion that private buyers won’t be stumping up their own cold, hard cash upfront for a car is frowned upon.

Kia’s different. It accepts that business users make up the vast majority of buyers in this segment – no one buys a new Ford Mondeo for themselves. More than 80% of Optima buyers will be business users, and that’s why it’s kept things simple, offering just two efficient engines.

You can pick from a 1.7-litre diesel (emitting 113g/km CO2, meaning 19% company car tax), or a plug-in hybrid (37g/km CO2). There’s no petrol, for now – although a high-performance GT is set to follow in 2017.

We’ve opted for the diesel and, out of the four models on offer, we’ve chosen the top-spec GT-Line S. This comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox as standard (resulting in a rise in emissions to 120g/km). With a £30,595 price tag, is it an overpriced Korean estate or a genuine premium go-getter?

Introduction: Kia Optima SW 1.7 CRDi GT-Line S estate

First impressions suggest this could be the car for shedding Kia’s ‘Asda Price’ image – it’s absolutely loaded with kit. Highlights include 18-inch alloys, an openable panoramic sunroof and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system incorporating sat-nav and Android Auto connectivity (but not Apple CarPlay, yet). It even has a wireless phone charger.

Oh, and there are plenty of comforts to make the upcoming winter months more bearable: think heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats (er…), and leather upholstery with red stitching.

While the inside certainly does a good impression of a premium vehicle, the exterior makes many rivals look bland. With more than a passing resemblance to the concept on which it’s based, we’ve already noticed passers-by taking a second glance. That wouldn’t happen in a Skoda Superb.

Will our positive first impressions continue as we spend more time with the Kia Optima? We’ll be living with it for six months to find out.

Kia's shock new Stinger will be coming to Europe with a diesel engine

Kia's shock new Stinger will be coming to Europe with a diesel engine

Kia's shock new Stinger will be coming to Europe with a diesel engine

The star of this year’s Detroit Auto Show, the Kia Stinger, has had its European specifications confirmed – with a 2.2-litre turbodiesel likely to be the biggest seller when it goes on sale in the UK.

The Stinger is a rear-wheel-drive sports saloon that could compete with upmarket offerings such as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The 2.2-litre turbodiesel will produce 200hp, hit 62mph in 8.5 seconds and a top speed of 140mph.

Although economy figures haven’t been confirmed, a diesel variant could be a huge hit with company car drivers looking for something unusual. There is a caveat, however, as Kia UK hasn’t confirmed whether the diesel will be available in right-hand-drive markets.

A 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine and a powerful 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 in the form of the range-topping Stinger GT are expected to be sold in the UK.

The latter produces 370hp and will hit 62mph in 5.1 seconds, making it the fastest Kia ever sold. Top speed is expected to be around 170mph.

Kia says the Stinger’s driving dynamics will live up to its sporty design. As such, the Stinger’s ride and handling were honed at Germany’s infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife, under the watch of ex-BMW Albert Biermann, Kia’s head of vehicle test and high performance development.

The prices are yet to be announced, but speculation suggests the eye-catching four-door fastback could start at around £28,000.

Kia's shock new Stinger will be coming to Europe with a diesel engine

Kia’s shock new Stinger will be coming to Europe with a diesel engine

Kia's shock new Stinger will be coming to Europe with a diesel engine

The star of this year’s Detroit Auto Show, the Kia Stinger, has had its European specifications confirmed – with a 2.2-litre turbodiesel likely to be the biggest seller when it goes on sale in the UK.

The Stinger is a rear-wheel-drive sports saloon that could compete with upmarket offerings such as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The 2.2-litre turbodiesel will produce 200hp, hit 62mph in 8.5 seconds and a top speed of 140mph.

Although economy figures haven’t been confirmed, a diesel variant could be a huge hit with company car drivers looking for something unusual. There is a caveat, however, as Kia UK hasn’t confirmed whether the diesel will be available in right-hand-drive markets.

A 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine and a powerful 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 in the form of the range-topping Stinger GT are expected to be sold in the UK.

The latter produces 370hp and will hit 62mph in 5.1 seconds, making it the fastest Kia ever sold. Top speed is expected to be around 170mph.

Kia says the Stinger’s driving dynamics will live up to its sporty design. As such, the Stinger’s ride and handling were honed at Germany’s infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife, under the watch of ex-BMW Albert Biermann, Kia’s head of vehicle test and high performance development.

The prices are yet to be announced, but speculation suggests the eye-catching four-door fastback could start at around £28,000.

2017 Kia Picanto revealed ahead of Geneva Motor Show debut

2017 Kia Picanto revealed ahead of Geneva Motor Show debut

2017 Kia Picanto revealed ahead of Geneva Motor Show debut

Kia has released these pictures of the 2017 Kia Picanto city car ahead of its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

While similar to its predecessor in appearance, it suggests a move towards trendier rivals such as the Volkswagen Up. Traditionally, the Picanto has always been a budget car in the segment – more holiday rental than desirable first motor.

The three-door model is being scrapped, though – it always sold slowly compared to the practical five-door, and follows Kia’s decision to offer the larger Rio (of which it shares many design features) with five doors only.

The new Picanto sports a 15mm longer wheelbase than the outgoing model, improving its stance – while the overall length of the car has remained the same. The clever packaging of its predecessor is one of our favourite aspects of the old car, so we’re glad that isn’t being messed with.

The carmaker is also promising a wider range of colours to appeal to the youth market. We anticipate there’ll be more personalisation options too, for the same reason.

2017 Kia Picanto revealed ahead of Geneva Motor Show debut

The model pictured here is in top-spec ‘GT-Line’ trim – likely to cost more than £12,000 – so expect the new Picanto to look a tad dowdier for your sub-£150 a month PCP deal.

>> January sales: the best new car deals available NOW

Like the exterior, the interior draws on the new Kia Rio as well as the larger Optima. There’s a snazzy touchscreen infotainment system at the centre of the dash – goodies such as Apple CarPlay are likely to be offered on higher-end models.

The new Kia Picanto will be revealed in the metal for the first time at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show in March, before going on sale in the spring. Prices are yet to be confirmed, but expect a small increase over the current £8,695 start price.

2017 Kia Picanto revealed ahead of Geneva Motor Show debut

Kia's hot new saloon will hit 62mph in 5.1 seconds

Kia's hot new saloon will hit 62mph in 5.1 seconds

Kia's hot new saloon will hit 62mph in 5.1 seconds

Kia has released a video showing its hot new performance saloon taking on the 0-62mph acceleration test at its Namyang R&D centre in South Korea.

The brief 30-second clip doesn’t tell us much about the car, but it does reveal a target 0-62mph figure of 5.1 seconds.

That makes it faster than any Kia currently on sale in Europe, and faster than a Honda Civic Type R.

A previous teaser video showed the car taking on ‘The Green Hell’ of the Nurburgring Nordschleife, hitting 150mph on the Dottinger-Hohe straight.

Technical details are being kept quiet for now, but it’s based on the Kia GT concept of the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. That packed a 390hp 3.3-litre turbo V6, along with rear-wheel-drive and suicide doors.

Kia poached BMW’s M Division dynamics chief Albert Biermann in 2014. The firm has been introducing fast halo models across its range, including the 250hp Optima GT – but says it has no plans to introduce a performance sub-brand, like Hyundai’s ‘N’ brand.

Kia's hot new saloon will hit 62mph in 5.1 seconds

Kia’s hot new saloon will hit 62mph in 5.1 seconds

Kia's hot new saloon will hit 62mph in 5.1 seconds

Kia has released a video showing its hot new performance saloon taking on the 0-62mph acceleration test at its Namyang R&D centre in South Korea.

The brief 30-second clip doesn’t tell us much about the car, but it does reveal a target 0-62mph figure of 5.1 seconds.

That makes it faster than any Kia currently on sale in Europe, and faster than a Honda Civic Type R.

A previous teaser video showed the car taking on ‘The Green Hell’ of the Nurburgring Nordschleife, hitting 150mph on the Dottinger-Hohe straight.

Technical details are being kept quiet for now, but it’s based on the Kia GT concept of the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. That packed a 390hp 3.3-litre turbo V6, along with rear-wheel-drive and suicide doors.

Kia poached BMW’s M Division dynamics chief Albert Biermann in 2014. The firm has been introducing fast halo models across its range, including the 250hp Optima GT – but says it has no plans to introduce a performance sub-brand, like Hyundai’s ‘N’ brand.

Kia is taking a 200hp Soul to Paris

Kia is taking a 200hp Soul to Paris

Kia is taking a 200hp Soul to Paris

Ever wished you could buy a more powerful version of the funky Kia Soul? You will soon be able to – the Korean carmaker is taking a 200hp model to the Paris Motor Show next week.

Using the same 200hp turbocharged petrol engine as the Cee’d GT, the warmed-up Soul T-GDI will accelerate to 60mph in 7.5 seconds, with a top speed of 122mph.

That power is transferred to the front wheels via Kia’s seven-speed dual clutch auto, allowing drivers to select between normal, eco and sport modes.

A bolder front bumper and grille differentiates the 200hp Soul from the rest of the range, along with twin exhaust pipes to the rear and bespoke 18-inch alloys. Red highlights to the front bumper and side sills complete the sporty look.

Inside, the T-GDI Soul features a “distinctive cabin colour scheme”, says Kia – we’ll find out more when we see it at Paris, but apparently it involves orange stitching. Interesting.

If you’re looking to take the Kia Soul on a track day, you’ll be pleased to know it features 17-inch ventilated front brakes, “primarily to ensure fade-free braking power under consistent use”. That’s good to know.

Other tweaks across the rest of the Kia Soul range include revised front and rear bumpers and the addition of a metallic skid plate.

A new touchscreen infotainment system, available as a 5.0-, 7.0- or 8.0-inch screen, houses both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, as well as a rear-view parking camera.

Additional safety features include blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, warning you of moving vehicles during low-speed manoeuvres.

The revised Kia Soul, including the 200hp T-GDI version, will be revealed at next week’s Paris Motor Show, where Motoring Research will be reporting live.

Kia Rio (2017)

New Kia Rio at 2016 Paris Motor Show

Kia Rio (2017)Kia will reveal an all-new Rio supermini at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, ahead of UK sales beginning in early 2017.

The new car has been teased here in sketches, showing a design that’s a clear evolution of the current model, but much tidier and neater in its execution.

Gone are the oddball creases in the front doors and smoother surfacing appears to give it a more premium look.

Kia Rio (2017)

Kia says the front overhang and bonnet are longer, for a better-balanced design, and a stretched wheelbase promises more interior space. The C-pillar is more upright than today’s model as well.

Inside, it has a “progressive” interior, one that appears to include provision for a smart touchscreen infotainment system that’s bigger and more sleekly integrated than today’s model.

Kia Rio (2017)

Boldly, Kia’s claiming “class-leading practicality” which, in a sector that includes the voluminous Honda Jazz amongst others, will be a claim to keep an eye on.

Ride and handling will be “more assured and engaging” and safety tech will also be class-leading. Engines? As it’s derived from the latest Hyundai i20, expect fancy new turbo petrols to feature heavily.

Kia reminds us of something not many know either: the Rio is its best-selling model globally, with nearly 475,000 units sold in 2015 alone. It’s thus an important car, one that’s been designed globally to ensure all markets are happy: Kia designers in South Korea, Frankfurt and California have all worked on developing the new Rio.

What time will we see the real thing? 1415h CET on 29 September, at Kia’s Paris Motor Show stand in Hall 3.