Each year, Fleet News organises one of the biggest fleet test drive events in the world, Company Car in Action (CCIA), where hundreds of cars are available for fleets to test back-to-back over two days in June.
From a fleet manager’s perspective, it’s a brilliant opportunity to improve and update product knowledge, and having just
moved into the Kia Ceed for a short while, I can see the value such events bring.
I have driven a number of other vehicles from a range of brands over the years, but from the point of view of a busy fleet manager, it is incredibly difficult to compare the qualities of a model driven in January with a rival driven in December when product update cycles are becoming ever shorter.
Kia has already impressed with the Optima, which I had on long-term test a year ago, and my renewed acquaintance with the brand has shown the Ceed is an even more impressive offering.
While Kia historically could have been considered as an alternative to traditional mainstream fleet brands, where financial savings were gained at the expense of quality or refinement, it is becoming clear that massive investment in product is bringing it close to equal footing with fleet rivals.
All the key boxes are ticked, such as build quality, ride and handling.
There are minor issues, such as noise at motorway speeds, and an odd recess in the rear bumper to allow access to the boot release, which fills with water when it rains and gets your hand wet, but apart from that, first impressions are very good.
It is reaching the stage where fleet managers are effectively trying to discern the difference between a £6 bottle of wine and a £10 bottle of wine when comparing rival models.
With manufacturers improving product quality all the time, it can be very hard to clearly discern key differences unless you can compare models back-to-back, which you can do at CCIA, this year at Millbrook from June 10-11.