Kia joins the clean elite

Kia has recognised the growing customer demand and marketing potential for high economy, low emission ‘eco’-tagged versions of its mainstream models.

Kian Cee'd

The power unit of the Kia Cee’d EcoDynamics is a 1.6-litre diesel with a power 89 bhp. More significant however is a combined mpg of 67.3 mpg and CO2 emissions of just 110 g/km. That latter figure puts the Cee’d EcoDynamic into the lowest price band for a vehicle tax in the UK.

In actual fact -- as I was driving this Cee’d EcoDynamic around the roads -- in Geneva Kia was taking the wraps off a newer version which scrapes below the threshold to win a free tax disc for its owners at 90 g/km!

Like so many of this new breed of “eco“ cars, I found the Cee’d a little difficult to drive smoothly at first. The combination of very tall gearing and ultra-frugal engines with aggressive fuel cut-offs, mean they require a rather different driving style.

Kia Cee'd interior

With ‘over-the-top’ tall gearing to squeeze every last mile out of each gallon, you have to remember that you sometimes need a lower gear than expected. You also have to overcome the fear that the engine is simply going to labour and bog down as you take off in a higher gear that feels right.

After a bit of familiarity, I mastered the technique again and modified by driving to suit. As I said, this is not something peculiar to this car. I have found similar need to alter my driving style to suit low emission diesel engines.

These cars are also not particularly responsive to the throttle and, in a world that has become used to 0-60 times around ten seconds, the Kia’s 13.5 does look a bit relaxed.

Following the lead of other manufacturers, the Kia Cee’d EcoDynamic has a stop-start system. When you come to a standstill in traffic, once the engine is warmed up it will turn itself off to save fuel. Dip the clutch and it instantaneously comes back to life.

A minor quibble is that Kia have not perfected the way to keep the radio playing uninterrupted as the starter motor fires up the engine! So if you are listening to the morning news on the way to work, you may miss a vital few words of the story!

As before with the Cee’d I was impressed with the European character of the car, which is of course produced in Slovakia. It is a neat design, with a real feel of European standards about the trim and build quality.

But, as a self-confessed motoring enthusiast, you wouldn’t expect me to rave about this car. To me, driver enjoyment is about a car that is responsive, both in terms of its performance and its handling.

The Kia is perfectly pleasant to drive. The comfort and refinement are also fine. And the accommodation is everything you would expect.

But faced with two sets of keys, it was the head not the heart that made me reach for the ones with the Kia badge.

Kia Cee'd

As noted in the previous Kia tests, the probable deal-clincher for many buyers will be indicated by that little sticker on the rear window. It simply says “7 year warranty”. When you will be lucky to find a three-year warranty at the other dealerships, that is some incentive.

The price of the Kia Cee’d EcoDynamic is £14,500. That means with the Kia Cee’d EcoDynamics you are getting a car that is almost the size of a Ford Focus for the price of a Fiesta. Add that value for money to the warranty and you can see the appeal.

Just don’t expect it to be particularly exciting to drive!
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