Kia’s second-generation cee’d has made its debut in Geneva, and the car arrives in five-door hatchback and SW body styles. Designed, engineered and manufactured in Europe, exclusively for the European market, the car has been deemed as a more sophisticated, more efficient and a more refined offering than its predecessor.

It’s both longer (by 50 mm, to 4.31 metres) and lower (by 10 mm) than its predecessor, and despite being based on a completely new platform, the new cee’d continues on with a 2,650 mm wheelbase, one of the longest in the C-segment.

The track has also been widened on the new car, by 17 mm at the front and 32 mm at the rear, and the availability of 17- and 18-inch diameter alloy wheels means that the new car offers a minimal gap between tyres and bodywork.

Engine-wise, the new cee’d will be available with a wide variety of mills, offering power outputs from 90 to 135 ps. For Europe, the primary offerings are two Gamma petrol engines (a 1.4 MPI and a 1.6 GDI, with 100 PS and 135 PS respectively) and two diesels, these being a 90 hp 1.4 WGT and a 1.6 VGT diesel offered in two states of tune (110 and 128 PS). Certain European markets will also get a 130 PS 1.6 MPI petrol unit.

All engines will be offered with a choice of manual or automatic six-speed transmissions. Depending on version, the 1.6 GDI will also be available with Kia’s all-new six-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), which is developed by Kia’s in-house transmission development team in partnership with a German-based engineering firm.

The car will be available with a number of fuel-saving technologies, organised under the company’s EcoDynamics sub-brand, to optimise efficiency and lower emissions. These technologies, available on both diesel and petrol models with manual transmission, include ISG (Start/Stop), low-rolling resistance tyres and an alternator management system (AMS).

The standard steering system employs electric power-assistance, but on certain models an all-new Flex Steer system is available, offering improved driving dynamics. This one introduces three operating modes – comfort, normal and sport – allowing the driver to vary the level of steering assistance and the weight of feedback, in order to best suit the current driving conditions and the driver’s personal preferences.

Inside the cabin, higher quality materials are featured, as is a broader range of high-tech equipment – new standard gear includes tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel adjustment, iPod/Aux and USB support, a six-speaker audio system and a multi-mode trip computer.

Other kit includes a full length (1,045 mm long) powered panoramic glass sunroof, LED daytime running lights, fixed cornering lamps (illuminated depending on steering angle) and a new Parallel Park Assist System (PPAS), which features front, side and rear sensors and automatic steering control by an on-board computer to safely perform parallel parking, with the driver remaining in control of the accelerator and brake.

The cee’d is set to be manufactured exclusively at Kia’s Zilina facility in Slovakia, and is set to go on sale across Europe from the second quarter of 2012. As for the wagon version, details on that one will only emerge closer to its European on-sale date later in the year.