Kia XCeed hatchback review
"The Kia XCeed manages to look more stylish and ride more comfortably than the Ceed on which it’s based”
- Comfortable suspension
- Attractive styling
- Well equipped
- Optional safety kit
- Little bigger inside
- PHEV has a smaller boot
Previous generations of the Kia Ceed were available as either hatchbacks or estates. The Ceed range has blossomed for the latest model, with the Kia XCeed crossover and Kia ProCeed shooting brake also available, giving customers more choice. The arrival of the XCeed isn’t surprising given the popularity of SUVs, and it slots in between the Kia Stonic and Kia Sportage.
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 lightly toughened up hatchbacks like the Ford Focus Active to the Toyota C-HR, Mazda CX-30 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 base 1.0-litre petrol producing 118bhp. In early 2021, the 138bhp 1.4-litre T-GDI petrol was replaced by a 1.5-litre engine with an increased power output of 158bhp. High-mileage drivers will have to look elsewhere or stomach the slightly higher running costs of the petrols because the 1.6-litre CRDi diesel capable of 55mpg is no longer available.
The Kia XCeed plug-in hybrid (reviewed separately here) has the best on paper efficiency, and should help company-car drivers to reduce their monthly outgoings thanks to its low CO2 emissions figure. It uses the same petrol/electric powertrain as the Kia Niro SUV, and is officially capable of an electric-only driving range of up to 33 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. Top-spec 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. A new-for-2021 Connect model sits between the ‘2’ and ‘3’, offering most of the kit of the latter with the cheaper 1.0-litre engine. XCeed ‘4’ (previously First Edition) cars are fully loaded with kit, including 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 1.5-litre petrol in '3' trim represents the pick of the range.