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New Kia XCeed 2019 review

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Kia XCeed - front tracking

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5 Sep, 2019 9:15am Alex Ingram

The new XCeed fills the small gap between the regular Ceed and Niro, but is this a niche too far for Kia?

It’s a confusing segment, the crossover class. While so many cars fall within striking distance of each other in terms of price, sizes vary widely from tall, SUV-type models to those that are little more than rugged-looking, jacked-up hatchbacks.

The new Kia XCeed is very much one of the latter. Against the tape measure, it comes up closest to the Mercedes GLA; while the Toyota C-HR and – perhaps confusingly – Kia’s own Niro are a very similar size, too. Prices start from £20,795 and climb to £29,195, so depending on trim it costs about two grand more than the equivalent Ceed hatchback. Evidence of just how popular the SUV segment is comes in the fact that Kia reckons the XCeed will be a bigger seller than any other variant in the Ceed family.

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For the cash, you’re getting a complete restyle over the hatchback, with only the front doors carried over. But we reckon that the sleek roofline and chunky wheel arch extensions mean that, in the metal, the XCeed looks more rugged and distinctive.

It’s all standard Ceed fare inside but the one big difference comes in the form of the new 10.25-inch infotainment system. The interface is similar to the old system, but it’s sharper, brighter and quicker to load. Base models still use Kia’s previous eight-inch screen, which features a reversing camera, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

In the top spec First Edition model (the highest of three trim levels) the standard analogue instrument cluster is replaced by a 12.3-inh digital display. In this first iteration of the system for Kia, there’s little in the way of customisation offered, but this should come in the future. At least the graphics are crisp and easy to read.

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Kia XCeed - rear tracking

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Interior space is on a par with the conventional

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Kia XCeed - cornering

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As we exclusively revealed at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, the XCeed (and the estate bodied Ceed Sportswagon) will be offered with plug-in hybrid drivetrains, too. Like the MHEV models, it’s due to be released early next year, and the petrol/electric setup will be the same 1.6-litre petrol/electric configuration already used by the Kia Niro.

Each engine in the range comes as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, while the 1.4-litre turbo is also available with a dual clutch auto: a transmission we’d steer clear of. The extra £1,100 buys you a laggy ‘box which slurs lazily away from the line and flares up the revs with excessive clutch slip. The manual alternative is better, but a clunky, occasionally obstructive shift means even this doesn’t trouble the best in the class.

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Kia XCeed - screen

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The XCeed range kicks off with the ‘2’ trim. Equipment levels are strong: standard kit includes 16-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, LED headlights, keyless entry, air con and cruise control.

You need to step up to the ‘3’ trim for the new, larger infotainment system. Other upgrades for the 3 include 18-inch wheels, privacy glass, part faux leather seats (those in the front, like the steering wheel, are heated) a push button start and dual zone climate control. With prices starting from £23,295, it costs £2,500 more than the ‘2’.

The top spec First Edition model is only available with the 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine and costs £28,095 for the manual and £29,195 as an auto. It adds a panoramic sunroof, an electrically-adjustable driver’s seat, a JBL sound system, a powered tailgate and wireless phone charging.

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All XCeeds get lane keep assist and forward collision warning as standard, while pedestrian detection comes as part of an optional safety pack. The First Edition also features smart cruise control (on DSG versions), blind spot collision warning and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

4 For those who like SUV styling but find most options too big or too bulky, the Kia XCeed introduces itself as a really compelling alternative. It’s not as roomy as Kia’s Sportage, nor is it as cheap as a conventional Ceed hatchback, but it’s more handsome and more fun to drive than either. As with other Ceeds, the engine and gearboxes are the weakest links, but otherwise it’s a likeable machine that’s well-equipped and backed up with a huge warranty.

  • Model: Kia XCeed First Edition 1.4 T-GDi
  • Price: £28,095
  • Engine: 1.4-litre 4cyl turbo
  • Power/torque: 138bhp/242Nm
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 9.4 secs
  • Top speed: 124mph
  • Economy/CO2: 42.8mpg/142g/km
  • On sale: Now

About Alex Ward

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