Kia XCeed review

Kia has given its high-riding family hatchback an update, but does it enhance its limited appeal?

Pros: potentially efficient hybrid system, solid build quality

Cons: only minor upgrades, small boot, aging cabin design

The Kia XCeed is popular elsewhere in the world with its attractive shape, potentially efficient plug-in hybrid system and slightly raised driving position. So, when the time came to refresh the crossover, Kia didn’t feel the need to change too much. But can a mild design update and a sporty-looking new trim level really keep the XCeed afloat in a competitive market?

Kia XCeed Design

Unless you put the two cars side by side, it isn’t easy to differentiate between the new XCeed and its predecessor. Look very closely and those familiar with the old car might spot the revamped bumpers, the redesigned headlights and the fresh grille, but otherwise the modifications are few and far between.

All that said, the XCeed is still quite a good-looking thing, with its slightly raised ride height and chunkier bodywork than the conventional Ceed. That design puts the car in a slightly odd position in the new car market, pitching it against everything from jacked-up hatchbacks such as the Ford Focus Active to bona fide SUVs such as the Nissan Qashqai and SEAT Ateca.

Unlike some of those rivals, the XCeed is offered in just one trim level, which leaves limited scope for personalisation. Buyers get a handful of paint colours to choose from, but none really makes the XCeed stand out in such a large crowd of competitors.

Kia XCeed Interior

Like the exterior, the cabin is also relatively unchanged, which leaves it feeling a little bit dated in places. Even so, it remains solidly built and all the switchgear is logically located on the dash. Better still, Kia has resisted the urge to fit touch-sensitive icons rather than physical buttons, which makes it all much easier to use on the move.

The Kia also comes with some very functional technology, which might sound like faint praise but isn’t meant that way at all. The standard eight-inch touchscreen is fitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration tech, which allows you to spend most of the time using familiar smartphone displays, but the proprietary system is competent enough to compete with other models’ on the market. It might not look especially fancy, but it’s logical and easy to navigate, which is much more important.

But the raison d'être of the XCeed is really practicality, and that’s a bit of an issue. Because of the plug-in hybrid system lurking under the floor, the boot capacity measures just 291 litres – much less than you get in a standard Ceed, let alone a VW T-Roc. It’s also less than you get in the plug-in hybrid Kia Niro. Cabin space is slightly more competitive, with bags of room for those in the front, but a slight lack of headroom at the back. That said, legroom is sufficient, and kids won’t have any problem sitting back there, but larger adults might feel a bit cramped.

Kia XCeed Performance & Drive

The only engine option is the plug-in hybrid system, which combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine, an electric motor and an 8.9kWh battery pack, as well as a six-speed automatic gearbox. Although the XCeed might look as though it has off-road pretensions, there’s no all-wheel-drive option, but the XCeed still offers 141hp and sufficient, if not especially remarkable performance.

But economy is the name of the game here, and the car officially uses 1.4 litres of unleaded every 100km, while the battery permits a range of just under 50km. You’ll need a light foot and a specific lifestyle to achieve those figures, with lots of plugging in to charge up that battery, but there’s no doubt the system can prove efficient for those it suits.

Unsurprisingly, the XCeed isn’t especially exciting to drive, but it’s refined whether it’s running on petrol or electric power. That said, it isn’t particularly comfortable – there’s a slight stiffness that’s ill-suited to Irish roads – and a lack of body control makes it pretty uninspiring in corners, too. At least the light steering makes it quite manoeuvrable in town.

Kia XCeed Pricing

XCeed prices start at €34,310, which pays for 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, not to mention privacy glass, wireless phone charging and the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration systems. Two-zone climate control and a reversing camera are also thrown in as standard.

Carzone Verdict: 3/5

The updated XCeed doesn’t offer anything dramatically different to its predecessor. Mild updates have kept the crossover feeling modern, but by and large this is the same car as before. It won’t thrill or excite, but it’ll be a solid, efficient and reliable mode of family transport.

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