The Kia XCeed is a dynamically designed compact SUV that’s packed with technology and available with a choice of powerful engines. The modern styling will turn heads, the interior has a premium feel to it and there’s plenty of on-board kit as standard. It’s quite the all-rounder.
The goodStyle, practicality, technology, performance and pricing
The badCompeting against accomplished opposition
Kia XCeed – First Drive (2019)
Kia has built an enviable reputation for producing cars that are beautifully designed, packed with technology and very competitively priced and the latest model is guaranteed to make an impact in the compact SUV sector.
Called the XCeed and priced from £20,795 to £29,195, it is the fourth member to join the all-new Ceed family alongside the five-door hatch, three-door coupe and wagon models. The eight-model XCeed line-up is based on four turbocharged engines, two transmissions and three trim grades called 2, 3 and First Edition so there’s lots of choice.
There’s no denying that the XCeed has a commanding road presence with distinctive styling and, although the car shares the same wheelbase as the Ceed, only the front doors are carried over. Eye catching features include an athletic stance, a prominent grille with larger lower air intake, ‘ice cube’ LED lights topped by a slim turning signal that flows back over the wheel arches, a long bonnet and new narrow tail lights. There are heavily creased lines that run horizontally across the tailgate and bumper to give the car a wider appearance, and very smart alloy wheels to complete the look.
The interior is similar to its other Ceed stablemates with a sculptured centre console angled slightly towards the driver. A floating infotainment system has a prominent position at the top of the dashboard while the lower section of the instrument panel features touch-sensitive buttons and dials to control the audio volume, along with the climate control.
There is a wealth of technology to explore with full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a DAB radio and Bluetooth standard across all trims. Move up through the grades though and you will see the introduction of a 10.25-inch touchscreen, a navigation system with Kia Connected Services, an eight-speaker JBL sound system, smart park assist, a panoramic sunroof, heated seats and a whole lot more.
The cabin has a classy feel to it with plenty of soft touch surfaces and snazzy satin chrome dashboard trim, plus a yellow colour pack for First Edition models that adds black upholstery with vibrant yellow stitching on the seats and doors, yellow seat piping and a blend of gloss black and yellow highlights throughout the car.
There’s a good choice of engines too. For petrol fans there is a three cylinder 1.0-litre 118bhp unit or a 1.4-litre unit delivering 138bhp. There are also two Smartstream diesel options that are the cleanest the company has ever developed, and these are offered in 1.6-litre with outputs of either 114bhp or 134bhp. A plug-in powertrain will follow in early 2020.
We tested three variants and they had their own individual appeal. First up was XCeed 3 powered by the 1.6 134bhp diesel engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and priced at £25,345. This car could reach 60mph from a standing start in 10.2 seconds, topped out at 122mph and could deliver combined fuel efficiency of 53.3mpg (WLTP) with CO2 emissions of 116g/km.
Kia believes the 3 trim level will be the most popular and it is a car that’s fully loaded with all the on-board infotainment systems imaginable. It also has the classy touchscreen and a cabin that feels very premium.
When it comes to performance, the XCeed is beautifully balanced and the road holding is very assured. It accelerates effortlessly through the gears and quickly reaches national speed limits on motorways where it cruises along in near silence.
The slightly elevated driving position results in great all-round visibility and all the dials, controls and readouts are ideally positioned for ease of use. The XCeed is agile and easy to manoeuvre in busy city centres with nice light steering, but is just as content showing off to its full potential when powering down the faster country lanes.
The spacious cabin is bright and welcoming with ample room in the back for a couple of passengers provided the front seats are not pushed back too far.
Next up was the top-of-the-range First Edition model. It is only available with the 1.4 petrol engine, matched to a six-speed manual or seven-speed DCT automatic transmission. We opted for the auto gearbox, making this the most expensive XCeed in the line-up at £29,195.
The yellow body and interior trim were greeted with mixed opinion. I liked it and thought it looked quite exclusive, but other people felt it was a little too garish.
But one thing we agreed on was the performance of the car. The engine was punchy, the gearbox ultra-smooth and the handling sharper than its diesel counterpart. The 0-60mph sprint time is faster too at 9.2 seconds with a top speed of 124mph, but the fuel economy is lower at a combined 40.4mpg with carbon emissions of 134g/km.
The auto version of the XCeed also features drive modes with Sport or Normal settings and they alter the steering and throttle responses accordingly.
Finally, we took a spin in the entry-level XCeed 2 powered by the 1.0-litre engine. This car, priced at £21,045, performs well enough but lacks the refined interior quality of the other models. There is a smaller touchscreen and more basic equipment levels. That said; the three-pot engine was fun to drive and the power levels were good even if the engine sounded quite raspy when pushed hard.
Any family car needs to provide good storage options and the XCeed does just that with a boot capacity of 426 litres. This can be increased to 1,378 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. First Edition models feature 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats along with a powered tailgate.
Safety features are comprehensive across the XCeed line-up with the likes of Forward Collision Warning with pedestrian and cyclist detection, Blind-spot Collision Warning, Smart Parking Assist, Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Lane Keeping Assist, High Beam Assist and Lane Following Assist which controls acceleration, braking and steering by tracking vehicles and road markings ahead to keep the car in-lane and a safe distance from any cars in front.
And of course all XCeed models are covered by the best warranty in the business of seven years or 100,000 miles.
Kia claims the XCeed offers the space and practicality of an SUV with the sporty packaging and handling of a hatchback making it quite the comprehensive all-rounder. And after a day driving a selection of models, I wholeheartedly agree with that summary.