A fresh face is helping a Korean firm’s first European model wrest vital new business from established pacesetters in the compact car market.
Upgraded design and extra features look set to win the Kia Ceed more than 3,000 fleet sales this year at the expense of Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen.
The total is 800 more than was expected and provides the burgeoning firm’s UK division with a strong platform for another campaign in the C-sector – this time with the Sportage, a 16-model line-up of two and four-wheel drive crossover cars powered by 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre petrol engines and 1.7-litre and 2.0-litre diesel units.
The version most likely to snatch the lion’s share of the 700 registration target for next year is the smallest diesel, which combines average economy of 54.3mpg with tailpipe emissions of 135g/km.
With striking looks and the road manners to match, both smaller-capacity variants drive through the front wheels and offer car-style handling, good roadholding and the smooth ride characteristics that make for easy cruising. Both have six-speed gearboxes and stop/start technology.
At £16,645, the entry-level 1.6 GDI delivers lively progress, 44mpg and 149g/km and includes alloy wheels, air conditioning, power windows, cruise control, daytime running lights, cornering lights, fog lamps and auto wipers as standard.
Kia once again hits the spot just about perfectly with an attractive looking product that also holds its own on running costs. It all bodes well for future product launches in 2011.