On the Road

in Motoring Insight/Regular feature

The XCeed is all-new, and is partially based on the Ceed 5-door hatch platform. However, it only shares the front doors – every other panel is new, and different. It stands 42mm taller than the hatch, has more muscular lines, black plastic wheel-arch mouldings, and black trim to make it look more like a rugged SUV/Off-roader.

Many will think that the XCeed is just a pumped-up version of the hatch, that Kia have done this just to keep up with the demand of this type of vehicle. This is not the first time in history that a manufacturer has taken a car, stuck on some wheel-arch mouldings, added some other bits and pieces, and tried to make something a bit different. Remember the Rover 25 Streetwise? That actually sold quite well, and it was only a Rover 25.aBut the XCeed is much more than that, although it has the underpinnings of the Ceed. When you look past this, it is very different.

Three engines are available at launch, and I tried all three while on the launch event in Berkshire and Oxfordshire. First to try was the 1.4 T-GDI petrol, coupled to a very smooth 7-speed DCT auto (a 6-speed manual is also available). This engine produces 138 bhp goes from 0-60 mph in 9.2 seconds. The car I drove was a bright metallic yellow ‘First-Edition’ UK-priced at £29,195 OTR. This car with this engine (and fully loaded with standard spec) drove really well. It was quick enough, quiet, and had a very clear 10.2-inch TFT LCD widescreen – standard on the ‘3’ and First Edition models. The system uses Kia’s Live Services using an eSIM card to retrieve and update live data that includes weather forecasts, points of interest, details of on and off-street parking availability and so on.

The second car to drive was the 1.0 3-cylinder petrol in the base car, the ‘2’ but to describe it as a base car, is strictly not true, since it does have plenty of standard specification, but doesn’t have the larger screen or satellite navigation. I drove a car with the 6-speed manual, with a UK list price of £20,795 OTR. The engine is small, but it had plenty of power, and at no stage did it feel underpowered. This engine produces 118bhp, and although you have to work it a bit more than the 1.4, it would be a good choice especially if it was in the higher spec’d ‘3’ 

The XCeed is built alongside the Ceed Hatch and estate and the ProCeed at Kia’s plant in Zilina in Slovakia, and built to a very high standard, in an ultra-modern factory.

Last car to test was the 1.6 CRDi diesel, and the engine will probably be the least successful due to the continuing backlash against diesel powered cars. However, it does have a low CO2 figure of 116g/km NEDC 2.0, and this is bound to rise with WLTP. Surprisingly, the engine is fairly quiet, although slightly noisy on initial start-up, but soon settles down after a short distance. It is not an unpleasant car to drive, it does everything it is supposed to, but after driving the two petrol engines, you can’t stop thinking that those are the ones to have, especially the 1.4 and it costs £1,200 less than the diesel in the ‘3’ model. A Plug-In Hybrid powertrain is planned range, but the exact timing of this is yet to be confirmed by Kia.

The XCeed does look good, and has some great lines, and is very coupé-like. This is a sporty alternative to the traditional SUV, and Kia refer to it as a CUV (Crossover Utility Vehicle) The XCeed does offer the practicality of a SUV, the sporty handling of a hatch, and the handsome looks of a coupé, so it does offer something a bit more distinctive and dynamic.

The XCeed addition to the Kia range might seem a bit confusing: another SUV in the range that is bound to compete with the ever-popular Sportage, and latest additions such as the Niro, Stonic, ProCeed, Soul and the larger Sorento, and the Ceed Sportswagon. Some come with self-charging Hybrid, and others are pure-electric. Long gone are the days when Kia just offered just a handful of cars, and long gone are the days when dealers just needed a small showroom to display them all. Kia now has a great range of well-built and good-looking vehicles, and the XCeed is testament to this.

The XCeed stands out in a crowded market, it is priced sensibly and a good choice of engines. All models have a good level of standard specification, and are full of high-tech equipment. And like all Kias has a 7-Year, 100,000-mile warranty.   

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