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Driven: 2024 Kia XCeed. Image by Kia.

Driven: 2024 Kia XCeed
How does the latest version of Kiaís jacked-up hatchback stack up against a plethora of family cars and SUVs?

   



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2024 Kia XCeed

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

As a halfway house between the Kia Ceed hatchback and the Sportage SUV, the XCeed has always felt like something of an oddball. Encompassing parts of both markets, and that of the Niro SUV, it has always felt like a rival to those cars, rather than a complementary product. But Kia Ė and its customers Ė see things differently. The XCeed is a big seller for the brand, and the latest version aims to keep it that way.

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2024 Kia XCeed GT-Line S 1.5 T-GDi
Price: XCeed from £24,325, GT-Line S from £31,900
Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: seven-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Power: 160hp
Torque: 253Nm
Emissions: 142g/km
Economy: 44.8mpg
0-62mph: 8.9 seconds
Top speed: 129mph
Boot space: 426-1,378 litres

Styling

With the latest-generation XCeed, Kia has made a handful of minor styling upgrades, but they're very minor updates. At a glance, you'll struggle to spot the difference between the new model and its predecessor. Look closely, however, and you'll see new lights, a new grille and some revamped bumpers. But the overall look is much the same, with the can't-believe-it's-not-an-SUV styling, slightly raised ride height and overgrown hatchback proportions. It's quite a handsome thing, in its way, but it does feel like a strange halfway house between a family SUV and a family hatchback.

Interior

Kia hasnít made too many changes to the XCeedís interior, either, so it looks broadly similar to that of its predecessor. It isnít identical, though, because upmarket models such as this GT-Line S version come with digital instrument displays and a new 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which is a step forward. Admittedly, it still doesnít feel quite as upmarket or as fancy as some other brandsí systems, but it also feels more dependable, more responsive and more stable than some. Certainly, weíd pick it ahead of the Peugeot 308ís touchscreen, purely on the basis that it works how you want it to and when you want it to. Combine that with the clear, easy-to-read instrument display, and Kia is onto a winner Ė at least with customers who prioritise usability over showing off.

And thatís kind of how the XCeed feels inside, too. The design may not excite all that much, but itís modern enough, and it feels nice and robust. The materials are generally pretty easy on the eye, too, and theyíre largely very tactile, although one or two plastics below knee level feel a little on the cheap side. That said, itís every bit a match for modern Volkswagen or Ford products, so even that isnít really a criticism. Especially with a starting price of less than £25,000.

Practicality

Although the XCeed is much the same size as the Ceed hatchback, itís slightly more spacious, with a marginally larger boot. Whereas your common-or-garden Ceed gets a respectable 395 litres of luggage capacity Ė more than you get in a Ford Focus or a VW Golf Ė the XCeed ups the ante with a 426-litre boot. Admittedly, the difference isnít huge, but it puts the XCeed more on a par with the likes of the VW T-Roc. Cabin space is acceptable, too, with a roomy front section and sufficient room in the back for adult passengers, although the very tallest will find their hair brushing the roof lining. Legroom is also adequate, but no better.

Performance

The XCeed is available with a choice of engines Ė either petrol or plug-in hybrid Ė but our test car came with the 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine and a seven-speed automatic gearbox. With 160hp on offer, it provides more than adequate performance, and a 0-62mph time of 8.9 seconds is adequate without being spectacular. Itís reasonably refined, too, which makes it quite an easy thing to live with.

Less user-friendly is the six-speed automatic gearbox, which occasionally feels a little reluctant and awkward in the way it interacts with the engine. It isnít disastrous by any stretch of the imagination, but it sometimes feels very slightly ill at ease. At least it provides slick shifting once itís up to speed, and itís fine on the open road. It gets paddle-shifters to help you select gears manually, too, which gives you a bit more control going down hills and the like.

It doesnít do much damage to the fuel economy, either, and almost 45mpg on a long run is perfectly adequate for most. Carbon dioxide emissions of 142g/km arenít too shabby, either, but company car drivers will almost certainly prefer the plug-in hybrid option.

Ride & Handling

In many ways, the XCeed drives exactly as it looks, without too much joie de vivre, but with little in the way of vices. The ride, for example, is pretty composed and mature, and itís comfortable enough, although it isnít quite as soft as you might expect given the raised suspension. Itís pretty good at motorway speeds, though, particularly compared with the plug-in hybrid version, but the worst of the lumps and bumps still make their way into the cabin at lower speeds, which is a shame. Still, it never feels unnecessarily harsh or jarring, so most customers will have few complaints.

Similarly, the handling is hardly exciting, but it isnít worrying, either. Body control isnít as good as it is in the lower Ceed Ė thank the raised suspension for that Ė and the car gets a bit of lean on in corners, but again, it isnít the end of the world. The numb steering is more of an issue, but that makes it fairly easy to drive around town and it isnít an issue on the motorway. Only on winding roads does it sap away any hope of enjoyment.

The overall impression, then, is one of a competent car that doesnít excel in any area, but doesnít struggle too much where it matters. Nobody will feel caught out by its behaviour in any way, and good seats mean itís a reasonably comfortable thing in which to drive long distances. Visibility is generally pretty good, too, and the dimensions make it a nice size for urban driving, with a very slightly elevated driving position but no greater footprint than a standard Ceed.

Value

The XCeed range kicks off with the basic '2' model, which comes in at just over £24,000. That's not bad for such a roomy car with 16-inch alloy wheels, smartphone integration tech and a reversing camera. In fact, it's only about £1,000 more expensive than the equivalent Ceed hatchback. And even this range-topping GT-Line S version, with its bigger touchscreen, JBL sound system and part-leather upholstery, as well as a panoramic roof and 18-inch alloys, costs less than £32,000. That's only the price of a mid-range, 1.0-litre VW T-Roc.

Verdict

The new XCeed is a niche product Ė of that thereís no doubt Ė but it fits its brief perfectly, carrying on where the old car left off. This is one of those cars that doesnít necessarily excite in any way, but it will slot perfectly into your life. Itís roomy, well built, and it should be pretty reliable. And for the target market, buying it on the basis that they need a family car that looks a bit different from the run-of-the-mill SUVs and hatchbacks, thatís exactly what it should be.



James Fossdyke - 1 Mar 2024



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2024 Kia XCeed GT-Line S 1.5 T-GDi. Image by Kia.2024 Kia XCeed GT-Line S 1.5 T-GDi. Image by Kia.2024 Kia XCeed GT-Line S 1.5 T-GDi. Image by Kia.2024 Kia XCeed GT-Line S 1.5 T-GDi. Image by Kia.2024 Kia XCeed GT-Line S 1.5 T-GDi. Image by Kia.

2024 Kia XCeed GT-Line S 1.5 T-GDi. Image by Kia.2024 Kia XCeed GT-Line S 1.5 T-GDi. Image by Kia.2024 Kia XCeed GT-Line S 1.5 T-GDi. Image by Kia.2024 Kia XCeed GT-Line S 1.5 T-GDi. Image by Kia.2024 Kia XCeed GT-Line S 1.5 T-GDi. Image by Kia.








 

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