Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The XCeed's engine range range kicks off with a 118bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol that you can also find in the regular Ceed hatchback. It pulls well from low engine speeds and doesn't mind being revved hard, but it’s at its best when the rev counter needle is halfway around the dial. It also has enough zip that you rarely need to drop a gear when climbing tall hills. We like this engine in the Ceed and recommend it for the XCeed, too.
If you regularly make long journeys with a car full of passengers, though, it’s the 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine you should go for. It develops 138bhp and provides similar verve to a Ford Focus Active 1.5 150 Ecoboost. That means it’s not super-quick but feels flexible enough for most needs.
The 1.6-litre diesel has a bit more mid-range guts, but is slower in outright speed. Only high-mileage drivers looking to maximise economy will be justified in paying its price premium.
Suspension and ride comfort
With a softer suspension setup than the regular Ceed hatchback, the XCeed is compliant over large, soft-edged obstacles, such as speed bumps, and is also pretty settled on motorways. It fails to iron out sharper pockmarks and ridges as effectively, though, and these jar through the body.
The XCeed steers fluently and grips reassuringly, but without the precision and agility that the Focus Active, and even more so, the regular Focus hatchback, provides. You get more body lean in the XCeed than in the Ceed hatchback, but not so much that we’d suggest that it’s wallowy.
Noise and vibration
The entry-level 1.0-litre is the only three cylinder engine in the range, It makes a rather different sound from the 1.4 and is a little louder, but it's never annoying. The 1.4-litre petrol is pretty quiet at low revs but gets a little thrashy when pushed hard.
The 1.6-litre diesel, meanwhile, grumbles a bit at low speeds and when accelerating, but settles to a background hum at motorway speeds.
The standard six-speed manual gearbox has a light shift action that's never obstructive but isn't as sweet or slick as the Focus Active’s. The springy clutch takes a bit of getting used to, too, especially with the 1.4-litre petrol engine, which is easy to stall. Meanwhile, the optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is available only on the 1.4-litre petrol. It changes smoothly but jerks during low-speed parking manoeuvres.
All versions have strong and progressive brakes, but there's more road and wind noise on motorways than you'll experience in a Golf or a Focus Active.
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