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In-depth reviews

Kia XCeed hatchback - Engines, drive & performance

Taller suspension gives the Kia XCeed a smooth, comfortable ride

Carbuyer Rating

4.1 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Engines, drive & performance Rating

4.0 out of 5

A lot like the last Mercedes GLA, almost all of the Kia XCeed's extra height comes from its raised suspension and beefier tyres, and these changes also make it more relaxing to drive. Thanks to the extra suspension travel, softer springs and new hydraulic bump stops, the XCeed is better able to soak up bumps than the standard hatchback, and it's quieter inside as well, making it a surprisingly good long-distance cruiser.

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These might not sound like positive changes to the car’s handling but the XCeed is still good fun. What little body lean there is, helps to communicate what the car is doing, and the steering feels satisfying and accurate. It's more involving and fun to drive than a full SUV, even if it can't quite match the Ford Focus Active for precision.

Kia XCeed petrol engines

The 1.5-litre T-GDI with 158bhp is likely a better bet if you plan on heading further afield or want to use the car for towing, and Kia predicts it will be the most popular version. It can get to 62mph in less than nine seconds from a standstill so should be quick enough for most drivers. It never feels particularly quick, however, and the engine is quite vocal when pulling away from a standstill and if you work it hard. With the optional DCT automatic gearbox, the 0-62mph benchmark increases slightly and it feels best suited to relaxed driving, where it provides smooth but not especially quick gear changes.

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A three-cylinder 118bhp 1.0-litre T-GDI petrol kicked off the range in the pre-facelift car, but it’s not currently available in the UK. It may not sound like the most powerful, but acceleration from 0-62mph in 11.1 seconds and a top speed of 115mph aren't too shabby if you mostly drive in town.

Diesel engines

While now discontinued, the 1.6-litre CRDi diesel boasted mild-hybrid technology, serving up a 0-62mph acceleration of 10.2 seconds. With a top speed of 121mph we found it to be a relaxed motorway cruiser with impressive in-gear shove.

Plug-in hybrid engine

The Kia XCeed plug-in hybrid model was introduced in mid-2020 and uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine combined with a battery and electric motor. Total output is a rather unspectacular 139bhp which, coupled with the car’s extra weight, means performance is merely adequate rather than praiseworthy. The car takes 10.9 seconds to get from 0-62mph but it doesn’t feel as punchy as the 1.5-litre petrol engine.

It’s rather sluggish to rev, and the automatic gearbox prefers to deal out smooth rather than speedy gear changes. Like the standard car, the XCeed plug-in hybrid prefers being driven at a more relaxed pace. There’s plenty of grip and the steering is precise, but neither the chassis or powertrain encourages you to take it by the scruff of the neck.

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