The usual "new car" syndromes are apparent* - you can't see the front of the car, the ride height is high (and the seat can't be lowered very well), the visibility through the back window is poor (perhaps the estate version will be better), quite a firm ride (although it doesn't seem as overly firm as the Golf), the seats aren't especially comfy (overly firm)...
BUT they are very supportive and there's a lot of nice things too: USB socket for ipod / pen-drive full of mp3s, spare power point up front, good grip even in the wet, copes well with speed bumps even though the ride is quite firm.
Performance: the 1.6 litre petrol engine manages to produce 120bhp, which is quite impressive (for a 1.6 litre engine - compare that to the 115bhp produced by the Golf's 1.6 litre petrol engine), the gearing seems quite high / long (?), with 30mph reachable in 1st, 60mph in 2nd! And the engine revs up to 6500rpm quite happily and quickly with a fairly decent sound. However, due to the lack of turbo, the speed increase seems quite gradual / smooth, and it's not until you look at the speedo that you realise the speed you're going. Accelleration is rapid 0-60 in under 11 seconds, 5th gear acceleration is swift and smooth from 50mph and quickly gains, without the car / engine feeling like it is struggling (uphill less so).
Steering: This is very light at low speed but becomes heavier at quicker speeds. It's quite nice when parking.
Economy: 70mph is at 3200rpm in 5th gear, and you'll average 40mpg at this speed. Official figures for the 1.6l petrol: urban 35, extra-urban 52, combined 44, Co2: 152. The figures for the 1.6l deisel are much more appealling: 49 (u), 67 (e-u), 60 (c), 125 (co2), and if you don't mind the extra noise, then I would go for the deisel.
Dials - The dials have an orange glow at night, it's quite nice (although not as nice as the purple glow from a VW's dials), and silver when not lit, unfortunately the brightness can't be changed.
Interior: The (petrol) engine is almost silent in idle, and road noise is minimal even at motorway speeds making the interior a nice place to be. I'm not overly keen on the vertical air-vents, but they seem to do the job well. The handbrake is very light, and the door handles / door opening also seem very light, as is the gearstick, giving the interior a slightly "cheap" feel. There are two cup holders in the front, and two for the rear passengers, which is better than a number of cars.
Exterior: The rear of the car looks like a blend of all other cars on the market at the moment (the Golf, Auris / Corolla, Astra, Peugeot 307), but thankfully the front of the car is more appealling, and some might say attractic, even interesting.
Stereo: 6 Speaker Audio System in all but the basic spec. All singing all dancing MP3 / CD / USB playing clever thing (supports MP3, WMA, OGG and displays the track name in the screen - although unfortunately it doesn't scroll smoothly). Sounds good, although there is WAY too much treble and mid to high notes can sound overly harsh (more so at high volumes), it's still the same with Treble dialed down to -10! Bass is good at +6 - +8 but overly boomy on Radio 1 (as is the fashion for modern cars it seems), and the bass kick is quite good, quick and responsive but doesn't go as deep as some stereos. It even has 3.5mm stereo jack in. Clever stuff: Volume / Stereo control on steering wheel - mute pauses CD playback. Goes up to 35!
Keyring - Reminding you that the car has a 7 year warranty - 5 year warranty for everything, and 7 year (100,000 mile) warranty for the "powertrain" - ie the engine, and gearbox. The car even comes with 3 years free RAC roadside coverage. The 7 year / 100,000 mile warranty pretty much covers the car for it's life. Even Warranty Direct only give you a warranty if you car has done less than 130,000 miles.
Positives - 7 year warranty!, Wide wheel base, fits round the stupid small speed bumps quite well, good turning circle, ABS, disc brakes all round (front and back), good price, good engine choices (even base levels have a decent amount of performance, and higher spec have good amount of performance), good front / side styling, 16" alloys, large wing mirrors (somewhat make up for lack of rear visibility), large foot rest area next to clutch (bigger than the Passat). Rated highly by AutoCar - KIA Cee'd in 5th position in top 5, and sister car Hyundai i30 in 3rd due to better kit. 3 door (Kia Pro Cee'd) is more stylish and has better looking rear. Estate (KIA Cee'd SW) available and has best space / price in sector according to Autocar.
Negatives - No traction control / ESP as standard (ESP is an optional extra for £300). No control over how bright the dial lights are (simply on/off for centre console), Trip computer button at far left of console, no "courtesy" interior lights when you take the key out, no vanity lights above mirrors, space saver spare tyre, overly firm seats (leather seats are available on some models), slightly bland rear styling (although it's not too bad really), textured dash seems to trap dirt...
KIA Cee'd Photo Gallery
KIA UK Site
KIA Ceed UK Microsite
KIA Ceed Europe Microsote
* If you can find a new car in this class that doesn't have exactly the same flaws then I'd be surprised, in fact I wouldn't be surprised if the VW Golf had exactly the same flaws.