Kia has revealed fresh styling on the interior and exterior of its new Cee'd compact vehicle, which is showcased at the Geneva Motor Show. The new design language shows that the automaker is being differentiated from its sister brand Hyundai -- a similar strategy of Volkswagen Group when it gave a more youthful image to its Spanish brand Seat to set it apart from the core VW brand.
Kia Europe Chief Operating Officer Paul Philpott disclosed during last year's Geneva auto show that Kia is "fun, dynamic and more youthful" while Hyundai is more about comfort and style, "more upmarket."
In the European region, the Cee'd hatchback will be available for sale in the summer. The automaker has disclosed that the vehicle integrates enhanced prestige and maturity in a sporty package. The more aggressive front design should aid the automaker to position the Cee'd as a sportier option to the Hyundai.
The front has the brand's trademark tiger nose grille. The latest images of the Cee'd's interior reveal a combination of Audi-style detailing and sporty touches. Interior detailing includes thin chrome surrounds to dash elements like the asymmetrical vents. Pricing details as well as information on the engine lineup will be disclosed at the Geneva motor show.
The Cee'd is anticipated to offer the Hyundai i30's 1.6-liter diesel and a 1.4-liter gasoline unit. In the i30, the diesel comes in two power outputs with even the higher power 126-hp manual version generating 100g/km in carbon dioxide emissions.
Kia manufactures the Cee'd in Zilina, Slovakia. The vehicle is a sister model to the second-generation i30, which has been recently launched. This second-generation model is built in Hyundai's Nosovice plant in Czech Republic. Kia sold 71,930 units of the Cee'd last year, a 22.4% decrease over the year before as revealed by market researchers JATO Dynamics. Sales of the Hyundai i30 dropped 11.8% to 101,328 units.
Compared to the previous version, the new Kia Cee'd reveals a more athletic look. This is because this latest version of the brand’s five-door hatchback is now longer by 50 mm at 4,310 mm, though height has been lowered by 10 mm and is currently at 1,470 mm. Even if it does use a new platform, it has the same wheelbase as that of the previous generation and at 2,650 mm, it can be considered as one of the longest, especially for the C-segment. Putting more emphasis on this sporty look is the track that is now wider.
Thus while the bodyshell is indeed narrower by 10 mm, the front track has been increased by 17 mm with the one in the rear increased as well by 32 mm. For the brand, this was not enough and the addition of the alloy 17-inch wheels, or the 18-inch ones, increases the visuals even further. As such, there is a minimal gap in the bodywork and the tires. Since the bodyshell of the new Cee'd is stiffer by 45% when compared to the previous version. This means that the torsional rigidity is increased by a large amount. Engineers at Kia have also been able to make various changes, albeit small, to the various parts, shock absorbers, and springs.
All of these are meant to make it more refined, improve the ride quality, and affect the NVH, also known as noise, vibration, and harshness. For the suspension, the front has the MacPherson struts with the rear sporting a multi-link configuration. Both are fully independent and subframe-mounted. With this, the model is able to benefit more from the wider track, thereby improving road-holding and handling. In terms of these two qualities, the new Cee'd is able to match even models that come from almost premium brands and even those that lead the segment.
Design-wise, the Kia Cee'd has a rather sleek profile made possible through the extensive testing conducted at the brand’s highly advanced research and development facility located in Namyang, Korea. Features of the silhouette include the angle of the windscreen being lowered and a spoiler added in the rear just on top of the tailgate. In addition, there are smooth covers on the central floor and the engine bay. There are also lamp clusters in the rear. All of these combined give the Kia Cee'd a coefficient of drag at Cd = 0.30. The figures put it among the best when it comes to reduced noise in the cabin and improved fuel economy.
This latest incarnation of the Cee'd is to be exclusively built at the Zilina factory at Slovakia. A total of 10 new colors will be offered for the exterior, with 5 of them being new options. In addition, this new model will also be one of the first from Kia to have the badge placed on its bonnet. With a more contemporary look as well as being sleeker, the badge reflects the premium feel that this model brings with it. It even has the brand’s lettering positioned at a higher level to make it more legible.