The 2018 Kia Ceed is now punctuation-free and in possession of a new, more sober attire. Sound familiar?
Notwithstanding one or two brave and ultimately doomed adventures into the leftfield during the early 1970s, the European C-segment has never been a bastion of progressive design. So it should be with little or no surprise that we consider the ongoing convergence of the principal players, not just in engineering and layout, but if the current Geneva motor show is a reliable indicator, in styling terms as well.
Despite its Korean heritage, it’s probably inaccurate to view Kia’s third-generation Ceed as being anything but a European product, given that it (like its forebears) has been designed and developed at the carmaker’s German engineering centre primarily for the region’s tastes and will once again be built at Kia’s production facility in Teplička nad Váhom, Slovakia.
Designed on Kia’s new-generation corporate K2 platform, Kia informs us the 2018 Ceed comes with new engine and suspension designs and according to a spokesman from the Korean manufacturer, will be “one of the most innovative cars in its class.” Needless to say, they also cite a rollcall of all the latest safety, comfort and convenience-related tech, along with equipment levels normally the preserve of larger cars. They all say that, don’t they?
Most notable about the new model perhaps, is less what it has than what it now lacks – Kia electing to lose the apostrophe which has for two generations appended the name. Along with it, one could also argue, is the loss of outgoing car’s visual dynamic, despite the Ceed being both wider and lower than the outgoing model, with a shortened front overhang, all intended to bolster the aesthetic cause.
While illustrating what Kia themselves like to call “a mature sense of athleticism”, the new model, to some eyes at least, has substituted its predecessor’s more dynamic aesthetic for that of stillness and calm.
Gone as well is the previous model’s rising DLO and beltline in favour of something a good deal more linear, a matter likely to find favour at least with rear seat occupants. The Ceed’s nose styling offers the latest take on the corporate ‘tiger aspect’, with a pronounced linear shoulder line running the length of the vehicle. The rear again recasts the latest Kia design tropes, while also gently suggesting contemporary BMW treatments.
The Ceed’s more upright and sober looking canopy is clearly intended to lend more mature, Germanic feeling and while the inevitable Golf is never far from any C-segment carmaker’s thoughts and secret imaginings, it’s VW’s Baden-Württemberg antagonists that the Ceed truly resembles. A matter which would be of some embarrassment to the denizen’s of Sindelfingen’s dreamworks – were they even remotely self aware.
More potential mortification comes in the shape of the Kia’s notably superior shutline management and overall design competence. Much ink has already been spilled on Mercedes’ latest C-sector offering, so I’m loathe to further dignify the car or its creators further. I will say this however.
Decry the Kia as dull-looking if you wish, (and I wouldn’t necessarily argue with you), but in five years time, while neither of these vehicles is likely to look particularly fresh, the strong likelihood is that the hot and cool contender from Rastatt will be in more urgent need of the surgeon’s knife.