In-depth Reviews

Kia XCeed hatchback

"The Kia XCeed manages to look more stylish and ride more comfortably than the Ceed on which it’s based”

Carbuyer Rating

4.1 out of 5

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  • Comfortable suspension
  • Attractive styling
  • Well equipped


  • Optional safety kit
  • Little bigger inside
  • Coarse 1.4-litre petrol

The SUV trend shows no sign of waning, so much so that the Kia XCeed is expected to be the most popular model in the Ceed family, ahead of the hatchback, estate and quirky Kia ProCeed shooting brake.

Based on the hatchback but 43mm taller and with a striking new design, the XCeed's body only shares its front doors with the Ceed. It has a longer, taller bonnet, a new grille, and bumpers with a skid-plate style finish. It's also fitted with LED headlights as standard and black wheelarches to complement its taller suspension and chunky wheels and tyres.

Rival crossover models range from the Ford Focus Active to the Toyota C-HR, Volkswagen T-Cross and Mercedes GLA, and you'll pay around £2,000 more for the XCeed than the standard Kia Ceed hatchback.

On the road, the effects of the XCeed’s taller, softer suspension are actually quite positive. Thanks to modifications to the way it works, the chassis soaks up bumps better than the Ceed, resulting in a smooth and relaxing car in which to cover miles. There's a bit more body lean but it's less than that of a standard SUV and doesn’t ruin the driving experience, while the steering feels accurate. The available engines are a bit pedestrian, with the 1.0-litre and 1.4-litre T-GDI engines producing 118 and 138bhp respectively. The latter is quick enough but sounds coarse under hard acceleration, and the optional automatic gearbox is lethargic. A 1.6-litre CRDI diesel with 114 or 134bhp is also available, and it will return just over 50mpg in either power output.

Kia is planning to add mild-hybrid tech to the diesels, as it has with the Kia Sportage, while the new Kia XCeed PHEV (reviewed separately) should help company-car drivers to reduce their monthly outgoings. Using the same powertrain as the Kia Niro, the plug-in even offers an electric-only driving range of up to 36 miles.

Interior space is roughly on a par with the Ceed but the boot increases in size to 426 litres and higher spec models get a 40:20:40 split-folding rear bench to boost flexibility. The dashboard is mostly carried over from the Ceed, but there is a new 10.25-inch infotainment screen with a sharper display and faster responses. First Edition models of the XCeed also get Kia's new 12.3-inch digital instruments, which look sharp but lack some of the customisation rivals boast - we expect this will arrive later.

Equipment levels are strong. The trim levels kick off with '2', which features 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The '3' model adds 18-inch wheels, the larger infotainment setup, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel along with part-leather upholstery. First Edition cars are fully loaded with a panoramic sunroof, JBL sound system, powered tailgate and powered driver's seat, as well as a new grille and black door mirrors.

The Kia XCeed is better looking than the normal Ceed and more fun to drive than a Sportage, so it's not lacking in desirability. However, the engines aren't the best in its class, and a conventional estate or SUV would both be more practical. Ultimately, it’s likely to come down to which body style you prefer but if the XCeed is your favourite, we think the 1.4-litre petrol in '3' trim represents the pick of the range.

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“The Kia XCeed PHEV offers low running costs but practicality is compromised”