The Kia Cee’d has been on sale in the UK for nearly six years where it has enjoyed modest sales towards the budget end of the market.
Its position as a low-cost alternative was highlighted by an appearance on Top Gear’s ‘Star in a Reasonably Priced Car’ segment, where the likes of Hollywood A-listers such as Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz took it round the track.
However, a new 2012 Kia Cee’d hatchback is aiming much higher with an all-new design and more equipment to tempt buyers of more established hatchbacks.
Following the design success of the Kia Sportage, Kia Rio and Kia Picanto in recent months, the Kia Cee’d gets the distinctive ‘tiger face’ courtesy of ex-Audi design guru Peter Schreyer.
The five-door hatchback is now leaning much more towards coupe territory than before with a lower, sloping roofline and wrap-around headlight clusters at the front.
The car hugs the road much more closely now and is longer and wider than previous versions to improve interior space for passengers.
Inside, Kia has targeted a step up in quality with a revamped cockpit-themed dashboard – the standard description used by car makers to highlight a less cluttered, more driver-oriented design.
There are softer touch materials than before and added extras such as a touch-screen technology on higher trim levels. Chrome highlights and higher quality seat materials are designed to push the car much closer to the Ford Focus in terms of interior quality.
The new Kia Cee’d will be revealed for the first time next month shortly before going on sale in UK Kia dealerships.
A five-door hatchback version will be available from launch but three-door and estate models are expected to arrive shortly after.
New Kia Cee’d prices have not been revealed but it is expected to be offered with Kia’s impressive seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty available on all new Kia cars.