The Kia name in motoring may not have the same resonance as other manufacturers in its category, but the new Cee'd is certainly not a car to be sniffed at.

In a departure for the company, the Cee'd is the first Kia model to be designed and built in Europe, the result being that it is much more in tune with what UK drivers require.

A five-door hatchback is the first to be released, with its overall dimensions close to that of a Volkswagen Golf. The car has plenty of space in the front and rear and benefits from a large, well-shaped boot, although the interior is a touch basic.

It comes with a 103 bhp 1.4 or 120 bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine and 89bhp and 113bhp versions of a 1.6-litre turbodiesel. A two-litre diesel and a 'Sport Wagon' estate will follow in the summer. An even sharper looking three-door hatchback is being added

before the end of the year.

Features include water-repellent side glass and a tyre pressure warning system. Every Cee'd has front, side and curtain air bags as well as active headrests that counter whiplash if you are hit from behind. It features a USB plug for an MP3 player and air-conditioning is standard on the entry-level 1.4S model.

The entry point price is expected to be around £11,000.

Perodua Myvi, £7,779

With prices starting at less than £8,000 and with a limited period £1,000 cash back offer, the Myvi from Perodua ticks the box for those on a tight budget. Yet it falls down in other areas, such as having a tiny boot and no side air bags.

Volkswagen Touran, £14,800

This latest incarnation of the Touran is not only better looking but it helps to overcome the problem of finding a suitable parking space in busy towns. It has a system which, when activated, lets you know if spaces you are driving past are big enough.

Suzuki SX4, £12,999

A touch of a button turns the Sx4 from a front-drive runabout to a hardier four-wheel-drive vehicle. While it won't go too far off-road, a muddy track is no problem. The 1.6-litre petrol engine is good around town but struggles at higher speeds.