Review: All-New Kia XCeed

Did the Kia XCeed our expectations? And which of the three engine choices is the best pick?

The Kia XCeed recently went on sale in the UK with prices ranging from £20,795 to £29,195 (including 7-year 100,000 mile warranty) with two petrol engines sandwiching a diesel motor and a Plug-in Hybrid to follow. Trim levels include ‘2’, ‘3’ and the top level ‘First Edition’.

At the UK media launch I drove a 2-spec petrol 1.0 T-GDI 6-speed manual with a 3-cylinder engine putting out 118bhp and good for 0-60mph in 10.9 seconds and 115mph. Fuel consumption is 45.6mpg and CO2 emissions are 124g/km. Priced at £21,045 it comes pretty well equipped with 16-inch alloys; driver’s seat height adjuster; split folding rear seats; lane-keep assist, high beam assist, driver attention warning, collision avoidance assist, hill-start etc; front, side and curtain airbags; LED lights; 6-speaker DAB radio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; air conditioning; cruise control; 8-inch touch screen and reversing camera.

We also sampled the diesel 1.6 CRDi 6-speed manual in 3-spec. It had 134bhp, could accelerate to 60mph in 10.2 seconds and reach 122mph. Fuel consumption was 53.3mpg with emissions at 116g/km. Priced at £22,345 it has 18-inch alloys, heated front seats and steering wheel, electronic parking brake, 10.25-inch touchscreen with Sat-Nav and dual-zone aircon.

And of course the flagship petrol 1.4 T-GDi First Edition with 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. 138bhp endows it with 0-60mph in 9.2 and 124mph with fuel consumption at 40.4mpg and CO2 at 134g/km. Priced at £29,195 it had panoramic roof, faux leather upholstery, driver’s seat memory, heated rear seats, three-way split folding rear seats, USB fast charger, 8-speaker JBL sound system, park assist, blind-spot collision warning and wireless mobile charging amongst other features.

Yes, yes, but what exactly is the XCeed?

Well it’s kinda like a Ceed but with an X in front of it! To be fair it’s a bit more than that, as there are definitely styling differences that give the new car added flair, and whilst it has the same wheelbase, it has longer front and rear overhangs. But it is essentially a compact crossover (CUV) – a hatchback that thinks it’s an SUV. It’s built in Slovakia alongside the Ceed hatchback and Sportswagen as well as the ProCeed.

There’s decent boot-space, reasonable rear room even for taller passengers and of course ISOFIX child seat anchor points for young families.

Does it feel nice to sit in?

Oh yeah, Kia’s have come such a long way in terms of fit, finish and the quality of trim – especially in the First Edition car. But you don’t exactly feel short-changed for equipment even in the 2-spec car, nor could you accuse it of being low-rent or even too plasticky. It’s reasonably spacious and well laid out with a decent seating position, although it seemed harder to get comfortable in the seats of the diesel 3-spec than in either of the other two.

So what are they like to drive?

The 1.4 First Edition petrol feels lusty and quick with decent acceleration and a refined ride. There’s a smoothness and serenity to it that could easily lull you into believing you’re travelling in an Audi. It’s effortless and rapid enough. It doesn’t roll too much through the corner and remains well composed.

Somehow the diesel feels gruffer, not just because of the engine note which does betray its oil-burning status but there seems to be a little more NVH in the cabin, particularly when you’re really on the go. Torque comes on strong from around 3000rpm, so there’s a slight delay in delivery compared to its siblings. Having said that, it’s very well equipped and a sensible option for high-mileage drivers.

As already mentioned the 1.0 3-cylinder variant doesn’t exactly feel like the poor sister, and whilst it might seem slower on paper in terms of figures – astonishingly on the go it feels sharper, more eager and keener. It seems to be trying harder to impress and willingly plays along, managing to prove itself not only the most engaging drive of the three, but extraordinarily the sportiest of the trio.

Yeah, but really you’d want the range-topper right?

Nope! Not only was the 3-cyl 2-spec the most fun to drive – with a slick shift gear-change and responsive steering, plus an enticing engine note (although not as prominent as in some other three-pots)  – but at about £8000 less than the range topper with the only significant absence in equipment being the sat nav, it’s a no-brainer. And who needs sat nav when you can use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto?

Frankly it was my favourite of the three choices, before you even take the price differential into consideration.

Video review coming soon!

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