Kia XCeed review

Category: Family car

Section: Performance & drive

Available fuel types:hybrid, diesel, petrol
Available colours:
Kia Xceed 2019 RHD rear cornering shot
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RRP £20,835What Car? Target Price from£19,836

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.

If comfort is your absolute priority, you might want to look instead at regular hatchbacks. The Volkswagen Golf and Toyota Corolla, for instance, are two of the most comfortable cars in the class.

Kia Xceed 2019 RHD rear cornering shot

Handling

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.

Unlike ‘proper’ SUVs, such as the Seat Ateca and Skoda Karoq, there’s no four-wheel drive option for the XCeed. Every model is front-wheel drive and might not be for you if you live up a muddy lane.

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.

Kia Xceed 2019 RHD front cornering shot
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