As a stylish, slightly more practical alternative to the Kia Ceed hatchback, the Kia XCeed fills a niche in the South Korean manufacturer’s range. It’s about the same size its Niro stablemate but more akin to rivals like the Toyota C-HR in its combination of design flair and driver focus.
Standard equipment is generous, there’s more space inside than you’ll find in the Ceed hatch and the XCeed is both more comfortable and more fun to drive than its conventional hatchback sibling. However, the XCeed’s place in Kia’s range means there’s plenty of competition from within – a Kia Sportage is a better choice if you want a full-blown SUV and the Kia Niro will be cheaper to run.
20 Sep, 2019 4
Kia has a good reputation for producing well-made cars with quality interiors and – as of recently – styling exteriors. The XCeed is a car that will sell almost entirely on the latter, with its coupe-like lines and jacked-up suspension feeling particularly on-trend. It’s a car that looks more expensive than it is, ready to take on the likes of the Mercedes GLA in the style stakes.
The XCeed shares its underpinnings with the Ceed hatch but its body is almost completely new – only the standard car’s front doors are carried over to the crossover. It’s about the same size at the aforementioned Mercedes GLA and Toyota C-HR.
Inside, Ceed owners will be in familiar territory – but that’s no bad thing. The dashboard is clearly laid out, features good quality plastics and is firmly screwed together. An infotainment screen sits high on the dash, measuring 8.0 or 10.25-inches depending on trim; a conventional rev-counter and speedometer flank a central information screen that can display trip information, sat-nav directions and other useful readouts.
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Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
Kia’s tried-and-tested infotainment system features here and is still one of the best around; intuitive to use and packed with plenty of desirable features. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity come as standard, displayed on the 8.0-inch screen on entry-level 2 models or on the 10.25-inch screen if you go for a 3 or First Edition. Features like wireless phone charging and a reversing camera are also added as you climb up the trim levels.
A six-speaker audio system is standard, as is Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition and music streaming support. Top-tier First Edition cars get a punchier eight-speaker JBL sound system. Unlike some rivals, Kia keeps its options lists sparse but packs each trim level with as much kit as possible – this keeps the buying process simple to understand. Want more equipment? Choose a higher trim.
The XCeed is closely related to the Kia Ceed hatchback; it’s based on the same platform and uses the same engines. To achieve its rugged look, the XCeed sits higher than its hatchback relative thanks to a 20mm boost in ride height and larger-sidewalled tyres that add another 17mm. Kia has fitted softer springs along with hydraulic bump stops, both of which help to provide a smoother, more pliant ride than that on the standard Ceed. The XCeed settles down nicely on flowing roads and motorways, making short work of longer distances.
This softer edge means the XCeed is actually better to drive than the Ceed hatch. It’s more comfortable and relaxing to drive, with fewer lumps and bumps transmitted into the cabin. There’s a little more body roll in corners versus the standard car, but this means the XCeed is a little easier to read when driving quickly. The unchanged electric power steering system remains accurate and well-weighted.
Minus points are awarded for the XCeed’s gearboxes. The same six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic as found in the Ceed feature here, but neither is particularly impressive.
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Our preferred option is the manual, but it feels clunky and can’t match the Mazda CX-30’s excellent shift. The dual-clutch gearbox, meanwhile, is lazy in its operation; it’s worth saving £1,000 or so and sticking with the manual unless you really need an automatic.
Despite its SUV-inspired looks, the XCeed is available exclusively with front-wheel drive.
Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed
The 1.4-litre petrol is expected to be the biggest seller and it’s this version that we’ve spent the most time with. The engine provides adequate performance but doesn’t feel fantastic under larger throttle inputs, sounding strained in its upper registers. 0-60mph (Kia doesn’t quote 0-62mph times) takes 9.1 seconds with the manual gearbox or 9.2 with the automatic; top speed is 124mph.
Go for the 1.0-litre petrol and performance doesn’t dip much; 0-60mph takes 10.9 seconds and top speed is 115mph. Improvements in fuel economy and CO2 emissions are also marginal.
The diesel options offer good performance along with improvements in efficiency. In 116bhp form the 1.6-litre unit manages the 0-60mph sprint in 11 seconds, while turning the wick up to 134bhp results in a 10.2-second time. Top speed is 118mph in the lower-powered car and 122mph in the higher.
Kia’s reputation for reliability and safety means you can choose any of its models with confidence. The XCeed is packed with active safety kit, with lane-keep assist, automatic emergency braking, hill-start assist, traffic-sign recognition and cruise control all fitted as standard. Top-spec First Edition models get the full complement of systems, including active stop/go cruise control (on automatic cars) and blind-spot collision warning.
Euro NCAP is yet to test the XCeed but the closely related Ceed hatch scored a full five stars when fitted with its optional safety pack. We expect the XCeed will manage the same score.
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Kia offers an industry-leading warranty on all of its cars that features seven years and 100,000 miles of coverage. Only sister company Hyundai’s unlimited-mileage five-year warranty comes close.
Kia recommends that petrol XCeed models are serviced every 12 months or 10,000 miles, whichever comes first. Diesels can cover 20,000 miles before needing a service, but the same 12-month limit applies.
Kia offers a range of pre-payment plans for servicing, marketed under the Kia Care brand – these can be paid monthly and are transferable between owners. The company also offers fixed-price MoT tests.
The XCeed is spacious enough for a car in this class, offering marginal improvements over the Ceed hatch on which it’s based. The XCeed is 85mm longer than the Ceed and so passenger and boot space has increased slightly – but Ceed owners won’t notice a massive difference. Elsewhere, the familiar platform means that the driving position is good, while all-round visibility is acceptable despite the sleek roofline.
The cabin is fairly practical with good-sized door bins, a mobile phone cubby ahead of the gear lever and two cupholders in the centre console. A larger cubby is located under the centre armrest. Other nods to increased practicality include luggage hooks in the boot, a roof-mounted sunglasses holder and – in top-spec First Edition cars – 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats.
The XCeed measures in at 1,495mm tall, 1,575mm wide (or 1,826mm including mirrors) and 4,395mm long. It’s about the same size as the Mercedes GLA and exactly the same length as the Mazda CX-30, though its Japanese rival is wider at 1,795mm minus mirrors.
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Leg room, head room & passenger space
Despite its SUV-alike looks, the difference in passenger space front and rear between the XCeed and Ceed is marginal to the point of being imperceivable. Space is still respectable though, with plenty of space for four adults to sit in comfort, or five at a slight squeeze. Comfort in all seats is good, with plenty of support and adjustability, especially in higher-spec models. ISOfix points feature on the outer rears, while these are also heated in top-spec First Edition cars.
The XCeed’s increase in length over the Ceed hatch is evidenced most inside by the increase in load volume – an increase of 31 litres brings the boot to 426 litres. Fold down the rear seats (60:40 as standard, 40:20:40 on the First Edition) and this increases to a total of 1,378 litres. For comparison, the Mazda CX-30 has 430 litres with the seats up and 1,406 litres with them folded – although these figures include underfloor storage.
XCeed models fitted with a 1.0-litre petrol or either of the 1.6-litre diesels can tow a braked trailer weighing up to 1,200kg, while the 1.4-litre models manage 1,000kg. Kia offers various wiring options for trailers, but a tow bar is conspicuous by its absence from the accessories list.
The XCeed’s range of conventional petrol and diesel engines is about par for the small crossover course; none exceed expectations on the fuel consumption or emissions fronts.
High-mileage buyers and company car users looking for the best in fuel consumption and BiK rates will be best served – perhaps counterintuitively – by the more powerful diesel engine: 53.3mpg and 138g/km of CO2 trump the 114bhp version’s 52.3mpg and 141g/km. The former is cheaper to buy outright, however, so it’s worth weighing up if you’ll benefit from the marginal efficiency gains.
The petrol models offer decent economy too; an average of 44.1 to 45.6mpg is possible from the 1.0-litre unit depending on wheel size, while the 1.4-litre returns 40.4 to 42.8mpg depending on wheel and gearbox options. CO2 emissions range from 140g/km for the entry-level petrol on its smallest wheels to 159g/km in the automatic 1.4-litre car.
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Insurance information for the Kia XCeed is not currently available but we expect it won’t stray too far from its hatchback relative in this regard. The standard Kia Ceed occupies insurance groups 9 to 14, depending on trim and engines.
Our experts expect that the Kia XCeed will hold on to around 39 to 42 per cent of its value after three years and 36,000 miles come trade-in time. For context, the Audi Q2 retains around 44 to 52 per cent over the same period while the slightly pricer – but cheaper to run – Kia Niro will retain around 39 to 49 per cent.