Cars

Kia XCeed: SUV-themed family hatch a hit with buyers

With the XCeed, Kia has hit on a winning formula with its customers
With the XCeed, Kia has hit on a winning formula with its customers With the XCeed, Kia has hit on a winning formula with its customers

Despite their proliferation in recent years, not everyone wants an SUV, writes William Scholes. Too big, too expensive, too much… Yet there are people who also want something that still isn't quite a regular family hatchback.

This might sound like a niche proposition but it's far from it. Volvo, with its Cross Country line, and Audi, with its Allroad models, have been the masters of taking a regular estate car and gentrifying it with a raised road height, a smidgen of off-road cladding and some SUV attitude.

Kia has used the same philosophy on its Ceed hatchback, transforming it into the ever-so-slightly wider, taller and longer XCeed. Roof bars and some some rough-and-tough plastic cladding give it a mini SUV look. In fact, the only bodywork shared with the Ceed is the front doors.

Based on the Ceed hatch, the XCeed has a loftier ride height and more comfortable suspension
Based on the Ceed hatch, the XCeed has a loftier ride height and more comfortable suspension Based on the Ceed hatch, the XCeed has a loftier ride height and more comfortable suspension

The ride height is just over 4cm higher than a Ceed and Kia has given the car more sophisticated front suspension (dampers with hydraulic rebound stoppers, since you're asking…).

A Ceed hatchback is already a very pleasant car to drive, and the XCeed's suspension changes make an appreciable difference. The softly sprung, well damped chassis soaks up the bumps and imperfections that are unavoidable on Northern Ireland roads, and the XCeed has a lovely flow to how it moves along.

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Two engines are offered these days. There's a plug-in hybrid, which I've generally found to not be a good fit for the XCeed; the car too often feels like it struggles with the hybrid system's extra weight, or at least the distribution of that weight.

Better is the 1.5-litre petrol turbo. It has 158bhp and 187lb ft of torque and is capable of mid-40s mpg fuel consumption. None of those figures are stellar - and nor is performance, with a 0-62mph time of 8.7 seconds - but they are more than adequate.

Forget fiddly touchscreens and over-complicated digital dials - the XCeed's dashboard is a model of clarity
Forget fiddly touchscreens and over-complicated digital dials - the XCeed's dashboard is a model of clarity Forget fiddly touchscreens and over-complicated digital dials - the XCeed's dashboard is a model of clarity

The interior is solidly put together and sensibly laid out, if a little bit on the dark side, but the whole thing is highly usable. It's comfortable and spacious, too. There is a lot to like here, and it isn't hard to understand why the XCeed is Kia's third most popular model, behind the Sportage and Niro.

It's roomy back here...
It's roomy back here... It's roomy back here...

Prices start at £23,770 for '2' trim but £25,770 for a GT-Line is probably the sweet spot (you can spend up to £31,870 on an automatic GT-Line S). The single plug-in hybrid version costs £33,495.

Kia XCeed
Kia XCeed Kia XCeed