The clever bit is that this five-door is not so much a hot hatch as a very warm one. So, Kia has pitched the Cee’d GT below the intense battle between the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Focus ST, Renault Megane Renaultsport and Seat Leon Cupra.
Priced from £19,995 the Cee’d GT is also as much as £7k cheaper than its “hotter” rivals and comes with Kia’s unbeatable 7-year/100,000-mile (transferable) warranty, plus an excellent reliability record.
The Cee’d GT is no slouch either. Powered by a 1.6-litre 201bhp turbocharged petrol engine, it’s capable of 0-60mph in 7.4secs and has a top speed of 143mph.
It also has undoubted kerb appeal. The basic Cee’d is arguably the most attractive car in its class -the GT goes one better.
My car came in Fusion White which showed off its exterior GT cues beautifully. These include a lower, broader bumper and air intake, red brake callipers, 18-inch alloy wheels, twin tail pipes, ice cube daylight running lights, badging and red trim lines.
Inside there are grippy Recaro seats, alloy pedals, more GT badging, red stitching, plus a chunky steering wheel packed with buttons. Out of sight there’s stiffer suspension and a larger rear anti-roll bar.
The instrument panel is well designed, allowing you to switch between analogue-effect and a more digital display, and there a nice touch when you switch on/switch off – the centre dial displays a welcome/goodbye message.
The Cee’d GT has the feeling of a car that’s been well built and thoughtfully designed. The seats are leather with suede inserts, the black plastics used inside ooze quality, while the doors and hatch close with a satisfying clunk.
On the road it sounds the part without drawing attention to itself in boy racer fashion. And once you get used to the solid Recaros and firm ride, the GT offers an assured ride.
The engine is smooth and eager and there’s more than enough grunt there for everyday driving. If anything, it’s really tempting to push it. Refinement in the cabin is good, but not enough to totally neutralise the sports exhaust, thankfully.
There’s plenty of space inside thanks to the car’s long wheelbase and wedge shape. Enough room for adults front and rear, the boot is generous too with a handy net to keep your shopping stable.
It’s not all good news. Kia claims the GT is capable of 38.2mpg. I’m sure it’s possible, but I couldn’t manage much better than 30mpg. Then again, I wasn’t hanging about.
The sound system isn’t the best. In fact, there wasn’t even DAB, while my car didn’t have sat nav either. Two basics.
The sat nav issue can be remedied by opting for the slightly higher spec ‘GT Tech’ where it comes as standard, along with a reversing camera. It costs from £22,995.
That said, the Cee’d is enormous fun the more it’s driven and I can genuinely say I was sad to see it go after a week.
It’s also great value, so it may not match the premium hot hatches in performance, but it’s more than a match as a package and turns heads. And hey, how often can you use the blistering performance of a Golf GTI or Focus ST?