The Kia XCeed, with its fashionable crossover coupe body style, is perfectly competent in most areas, and can be efficient if driven carefully.
The Kia Ceed is a hatchback that’s a very competent all-rounder, but the XCeed is now here, which offers a more adventurous crossover coupe bodystyle – so does the driving experience live up to the promise of the exciting visual appearance?
The XCeed’s design aims to attract buyers who may find a regular hatchback somewhat dull. The bodystyle features a coupe-like silhouette, and there’s also a crossover flavour in the appearance.
The interior sticks with the familiar Kia approach – everything on the dashboard is clear and sensible – not much crossover coupe excitement going on here. However there’s 31 litres of extra boot space in the XCeed (426 litres) compared to the Ceed.
The engine in our test car was a 118 bhp, 3-cylinder, 1-litre petrol unit, with a 6-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive.
The Kia XCeed is, perhaps not surprisingly, an all-round competent product like the Ceed. It feels light and easy to drive overall, and this comment can also be applied to the 6-speed manual gearbox, which is slick. The interior is very user-friendly with clear controls, and the infomedia, with its large screen, works well, although our test car didn’t have satnav – but you can connect your phone to use Google maps which works perfectly well.
The XCeed also has a comfortable ride – aside from the higher ride height, in the case of our test car this was no doubt helped by the relatively high profile tyres, although this meant that the car didn’t look as sporty as it would have done if it had featured more visually appealing alloys.
For normal driving, the 118 bhp, 3-cylinder, 1-litre petrol engine is just about adequate, but there’s very little response at low revs, and if you need to do much motorway driving (when there’s also some road noise) then you’ll find the XCeed underpowered. Lots of changing down is required to accelerate at 70mph, and doing this doesn’t help the economy. And if you need to make progress in normal traffic, then you’ll find that you’re having to rev the engine a lot, which also dents the economy.
The handling offers the promise of some fun, but it’s difficult to exploit this with the underpowered engine. Of course the XCeed is front-wheel drive so there’s always the potential for wheelspin and torque steer when accelerating in the wet.
It’s easy to switch off the dreaded lane departure warning system, but the button to do this, under the right-hand side of the dash, is next to the switch to disable the traction control, which probably isn’t the best positioning, as you could easily inadvertently switch off the traction safety systems by mistake.
The official WLTP combined fuel economy for the Kia XCeed 1.0 T-GDi ‘2’ is 45.6mpg, with (NEDC equivalent) CO2 emissions of 124 g/km. We achieved an average of 63.6mpg at 50-60mph, but this dropped to 45.8mpg at 70mph, showing that the engine is too small to deliver decent economy at 70mph motorway speeds.
Overall after a week of mixed driving, but with around 80% on long journeys, the XCeed averaged 45.1mpg – almost perfectly matching the official WLTP figure.
The XCeed should give a real-world driving range of over 400 miles on a full tank.
The Kia XCeed 1.0 T-GDi ‘2’ – the entry-level model – costs £20,795.
You can also opt for a five-door hatch, a three-door coupe and an estate. Apart from the three-cylinder, 1-litre engine in our test car, there’s also a four-cylinder 1.4-litre petrol unit, producing 138bhp – based on the engines available currently, this would be our preference (and this also has the option of a seven-speed dual-clutch auto transmission). There’s also a 1.6-litre diesel, with either 114bhp or 134bhp.
In terms of specs, there’s Grade ‘2’, Grade ‘3’ and ‘First Edition’.
So the key question is, does the Kia XCeed driving experience reflect the fun promised by the crossover coupe body style? The answer, with the powertrain in our test car, is… no. The XCeed is generally competent in most areas but the three-cylinder, 1-litre engine had performance that was only just about adequate for most requirements: it struggled at low revs, lots of gear changing was required to overtake at motorway speeds, and although economy was reasonable up to around 60mph, it deteriorated by the time you reached 70mph.
So although there’s a good car trying to get out, a powertrain with more performance would be more appropriate for the bodystyle, and a more powerful engine would probably also deliver better economy at motorway speeds.
So the Kia XCeed 1.0 T-GDi ‘2’ is awarded a Green Car Guide rating of 7 out of 10; with a bit more performance, and potentially in higher spec trim, we imagine it could squeeze an 8 out of 10 rating. It would be even better if it had more performance and more economy – and although that sounds impossible, that’s exactly what’s due to happen soon, in the form of the XCeed plug-in hybrid, which is expected to have an all-electric range of around 37 miles – so before you place an order for an XCeed it may be worth waiting for that powertrain.