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Kia Ceed 1.6 T-GDi GT

Click to view picture gallery“GT an emotive badge. And one
  worn by Kia
s 201bhp Ceed GT.
  With a top speed of 143mph and
  acceleration off the line to 60mph
  in 7.2 seconds, it
s undeniably
  a contender...”


BUT AT A TIME WHEN 200BHP is not hard to come by, is that enough? For instance, Honda's Civic Type R hatch packs a 315bhp punch while VW's Golf R puts out 305bhp (both, incidentally, cost a third more than the 25K Ceed GT, at 33K each). Of course, power per se is only a part of the equation that defines a GT; fleetness of foot is another essential trait — fortunately the Ceed GT has plenty of that too.

Looks-wise, the slinky and ground-hugging Ceed GT's five-door hatchback bodystyle says all the right things. Thankfully there are no pumped-up wheelarches or tea-tray spoilers; just subtle detailing such as red brake callipers nestling inside the two-tone multispoke 18-inch alloys, a honeycomb grille with red highlights, some more red on the side sills and, at the tail, a small roof spoiler and rear diffuser flanked on either side by a satin chrome tailpipe. And while the default body colour is an ardent hot-hatch red, for a 'few dollars more' you can be done with tradition and have your Ceed GT painted black, white or even grey (the new red!).

While 200bhp might
sound misleadingly
‘ordinary’ when judged
by some more hardcore
‘GT’ powerpacks, it is
nevertheless a figure
worthy of respect — and
armed with this number
of prancing ponies, fun is
definitely on the menu.
Be in no doubt that the
Ceed GT is sufficiently
purposeful to dish out
authentic GT thrills...”
While 200bhp might sound misleadingly 'ordinary' when judged by some more hardcore 'GT' powerpacks, it is nevertheless a figure worthy of respect and armed with this number of prancing ponies, fun is definitely on the menu. Be in no doubt that the Ceed GT is sufficiently purposeful to dish out authentic GT thrills.

Factor in its affordable 25K sticker price and generous range-topping spec and this go-faster kid on the block from Kia is a bit of alright.

Installed in the Ceed GT's engine bay is a 1.6-litre petrol-drinking T-GDi (Turbocharged Gasoline Direct Injection) four-cylinder engine putting out 201bhp backed by 195lb ft of torque that you can dip deeply into anywhere between 1,500 and 4,500rpm.

It's a gutsy unit and the muscular pull starts low down and continues onwards and upwards to big revs, so taking advantage of gaps in the traffic is always a smile-inducing option. One major benefit of a 200bhp-front-wheel-drive combo like the Ceed GT's is that torque steer is not an issue good news indeed when driving in the UK where roads are wet and greasy more often than not.

Thumb the keyless Start button and accelerate resolutely towards the redline and the T-GDi's sports exhaust system will toss you a rewarding bark something you're likely to hear often because this turboed four-pot lives to be worked. And extracting its best comes easily thanks to the slick gearchange action of the manual 'box and sympathetically stacked set of six ratios third and fourth are 'short' enough to favour spirited driving on testing country roads; even more so with the Sport driving mode engaged to enhance throttle response and weight-up the steering.

We were naturally! quick to indulge the GT's character yet still managed to come within a smidgen of the official combined cycle consumption figure: our 38.1 versus their 38.2mpg. Drivers with less leaden right feet may even see 44+mpg. For many driving enthusiasts, a Ceed GT will be their only car and even if adrenaline spikes are perhaps best verboten during Monday to Friday commuting, the vibes given off by the GT's cockpit cheerfully counter the tedium of nose-to-tail driving.

The cabin ambiance is sporty and upscale with a 'floating' touchscreen underscored by the stacked audio and heating and ventilation control panels. This is GT so, as on the outside, there are some obligatory touches in keeping with the hot-hatch ethos such as red detail stitching and embroidered 'GT' logos on the backrests.

Thumb the keyless Start
button and accelerate
resolutely towards the
redline and the T-GDi’s
sports exhaust system
will toss you a rewarding
bark — something you’re
likely to hear often
because this turboed
four-pot lives to be
worked. And extracting
its best comes easily
thanks to the slick
gearchange action of the
manual ’box and
sympathetically stacked
set of six ratios...”
The fab-looking and effectively bolstered seats are upholstered in black leather and faux suede and hold you firmly in place during gung-ho cornering; they also provide consistent and comfortable support on longer journeys and offer three-stage heating.

The height-adjustable front seat backrests have easy-to-use stepless manual adjustment which is great; lumbar support is powered. The cabin is also wide enough to provide ample elbow room for fast wheel work when taking on the twisties. Good, too, to have plenty of air between the top of your head and the black roof-lining.

The flat-bottomed (and heated) steering wheel, complete with perforated leather work areas around its rim, is a joy to use; and very multifunctional it is too, with controls for voice commands, media, the multi-mode driver's computer, cruise and speed limiter, as well as a 'favourite' button. There's generous rake and reach adjustment and a perfect driving position is quickly set one that presents A1 visibility to all points of the compass.

Kia's all-singing-and-all-dancing Connected Services infotainment and SatNav system with TomTom Live is straightforward to use and the eight-inch screen crystal-clear. Navigation directions are spoken clearly and in good time so you're unlikely to ever hear that irritating phrase: 'Please make a U-turn'. Other essentials include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay with voice control, Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming, a 6-speaker audio system with DAB radio plus USB and Aux ports along with a second USB for fast-charging.

Equally fit-for-purpose is the instrumentation with a 4.2-inch multi-use driver's information screen flanked by a speedo and rev-counter, each inhabiting their own dedicated nacelle. There's also a 'GT Performance' mode menu that includes a boost gauge but if you're an experienced hard-charging pilot the only information you might want to check on will be your speed; thankfully there's a large digital readout for just that on the driver's screen.

The Ceed GT may be intended to lift your spirits when driving but practicality hasn't been overlooked: in-cabin storage is well-considered with a big, deep box under the adjustable armrest between the front seats, dual-use cupholders with a sliding lid (for when its not holding carry-outs), large bottle-holding door bins, a good-sized glovebox, a drop-down overhead sunglasses holder, and even a 'bed' for your smartphone. Freeing up some extra space on the centre tunnel is an electric parking brake with an auto-hold function that you'll be especially glad of in stop-start traffic.

“Before you even begin
to lean on the GT,
it’s worth knowing that
Kia have fine-tuned its
ride and handling on
European roads.
It shows; and there’s a
welcome surprise.
Not only does the GT
feel sporty and puntable
from the off but it’s a
breeze to drive.
Around the houses you’ll
appreciate the clean bite
of the clutch and the
smooth feed-in of power
that together make
trickling through heavy
traffic a walk
in the park...”
As indicated by the standard-fit smart auto-parking system for parallel, perpendicular and reverse scenarios, kit levels are comprehensive. In addition to the items mentioned elsewhere you also get a dual-zone climate control, a parking camera system with dynamic guidelines, front and rear parking sensors, four electric windows (the fronts have one-shot up/down op), tinted and privacy glass (from the B-pillars back), heated powerfolding door mirrors (on demand and automatically on leaving), aluminium pedal set with a comfy left-foot rest for when you're cruising, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Safety items includes pedestrian-aware Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with autonomous braking, Lane Keeping Assist, electronic stability control and vehicle stability management systems, automatic dip/main beam switching, hill-start assist, driver attention warning, tyre pressure monitoring, height-adjustable front belts, drive-off auto door locking, a full suite of airbags, LED bi-function headlights, LED daytime running and tail lights, front wiper de-icer, plus auto lights and rain-sensing wipes.

While travelling up front is always the first choice in a capable GT, the Ceed's back cabin is an honourable alternative: there's more than enough room for passengers and getting in is no problem thanks to rear doors that open to almost ninety degrees.

Once in, you sit noticeably higher than those up front so 'grandstand' views are a given. Footroom is also good as is kneeroom and combined with almost a fist of headroom there's more than enough wriggle room in all directions. Making life more civilised are dedicated rear cabin air-vents, a padded drop-down centre armrest with built-in cupholders, usable bottle-holding door pockets, two mesh magazine pouches and, for those with youngsters, Isofix child seat fittings.

If you want composure when you're pressing on then a firm ride is usually the compromise you'll have to accept. That understood, for a machine with sporting pretences, even when being driven hard, the GT's ride is fairly relaxed, soaking up bumps with no hint of crashiness. Well-managed body control delivers reassuring stability while the suspension does a decent job of isolating passengers from what's going on beneath them. On motorways the Ceed GT whisks you along even more smoothly and it makes a surprisingly refined cruiser.

Before you even begin to lean on the GT, it's worth knowing that Kia have fine-tuned its ride and handling on European roads. It shows; and there's a welcome surprise. Not only does the GT feel sporty and puntable from the off but it's a breeze to drive. Around the houses you'll appreciate the clean bite of the clutch and the smooth feed-in of power that together make trickling through heavy traffic a walk in the park.

Even not-hatches need to carry luggage and when you do the Ceed GT has more than enough space to go round — with 395 litres, it’s a big boot with a two-level boot floor; if you don’t need the extra height you can make use of the secret’ compartment created when the floor is left in its higher position. Towing is on the GT’s agenda too: its maximum braked tow limit is a worthy 1,410kg...”
And while the ride:roadholding trade-off is well-judged, there's no penalty when it comes to the driving dynamics. The GT gets an excellent chassis ably supported by fully-independent suspension with gas-filled shocks and revised spring and damper rates along with a quicker, well-weighted rack. There's plenty of grip from the 225/40 18- inch Michelin Pilot Sport rubber and agility aplenty. It feels nicely balanced and it's an easy car to place; point the GT's 'tiger's-nose' grille and you can rely on it going where you've asked it to.

Unlike some hot-to-handle hot-hatches, no advanced skills are needed to access the Ceed GT's potential on challenging roads — yet when you're feeling more 'grand touring' than out-and-out GT-ish, it will oblige and serve you up a sweet day-to-day drive or take you long distances without fatigue.

Reassuringly, the brakes have been substantially beefed-up with meatier 320mm discs up front and deliver no-nonsense deceleration whenever your right foot calls for it.


Even not-hatches need to carry luggage and when you do the Ceed GT has more than enough space to go round with 395 litres, it's a big boot. It's easy to load/unload too, thanks to a parcel shelf load cover. Taller items can be accommodated courtesy of a two-level boot floor; if you don't need the extra height you can make use of the 'secret' compartment created when the floor is left in its higher setting.

There's also a large and usefully deep storage area beneath the fold-back boot floor. If you need to carry bulkier cargo then dropping the fold-flat 60:40-split rear seatbacks opens up a 1,291-litre cargo-friendly loadbay with a seamless and level floor. Towing is on the GT's agenda too: its maximum braked tow limit is a worthy 1,410kg.

For thousands less than a Golf GTi, Kia's sassy Ceed GT offers you space, pace and a healthy dose of driving entertainment, making it a convincing proposition not just for your regular adrenaline-kick but for everyday real-life motoring — and that's before you factor in the competitive price and the brand's unbeatable seven-year warranty. So, let the Good Times roll! ~ MotorBar
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Kia Ceed 1.6 T-GDi GT | 25,850
Maximum speed: 143mph | 0-60mph: 7.2 seconds | Test Average: 38.1mpg
Power: 201bhp | Torque: 195lb ft | CO2: 163g/km

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