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First look: Kia sews the small-car Cee'd

Cee no evil: European car makers look over their shoulder at the Koreans as Kia gets serious about the small car market.

Kia throws the spotlight onto two new Cee’d pods

27 Sep 2006

KIA’S attack on the European small-car market, which has taken off in recent months with the forthcoming Cee’d five-door hatchback, has intensified with the Paris debut of a five-door wagon model variant and a concept car pointing to a three-door sports hatch.

While the Cee’d Sport Wagon will be in full production trim at Paris ahead of its manufacturing debut in September 2007, the so-called Pro-Cee’d concept – which is due for release in December 2007 – takes the sports message Kia is now pushing to new extremes.

These include a lowered roofline (down 25mm compared to the five-door hatch), fat 19-inch wheels with a recessed black powder-coated centre, 265/30-series low-profile tyres, shallow chrome-ringed side windows, unique "carbon leather" cabin floor trim and heavily bolstered seats for front and (two) rear passengers.

17 center imageLeft: Kia Pro-Cee'd concept and Cee'd wagon below.

The instrument panel has three recessed dials, each with its own metal cowling set beneath a top cowling that appears to "float" above the dashboard.

Other metallic and matt black trim is found throughout the cockpit, while the lower dash and door panels are trimmed in "Pilot Brown" distressed leather that has a brown/black patina and is meant to be reminiscent of an "old flying jacket". Kia calls it "leather with a history and a story to tell". Indeed.

"Our design brief for Pro-Cee’d was to create a teaser for the all-new Cee’d sports hatch which will become the third model in the Cee’d line-up," chief designer at Kia’s European design centre in Russelsheim, Germany, Gregory Guillaume said. "Whereas the five-door is a great-handling family car, this version of Cee’d will be targeting younger drivers in search of a more overtly sporty look to go with the sporty drive."To be built at Kia’s European assembly plant in Zilina, Slovakia, which has all but ruled out an Australian release in the short-term, all three Cee’d models rest on a 2650mm wheelbase.

The wagon version is 4470mm long, 1490mm high and features a tailgate shaped like an inverted "L" with its hinges set back over the load area so the tailgate rises almost vertically, giving enhanced access to the cargo area.

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