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Kia XCeed Review

6 / 10
30 January 2024

The Kia XCeed is hard to nail down. It's posher and slightly larger than a regular Kia Ceed hatchback, but with the raised ride height and plastic cladding you'd expect from an SUV.

Despite this, it's lower and sportier than Kia's own Niro SUV, while taking up a similar amount of space on the road. Keep reading to find out if the XCeed is the perfect middle ground for you.

What we like:
  • Loads of equipment
  • Solid build quality
  • Good value on the used market
What we don't like:
  • Average practicality
  • Unremarkable to drive
  • Some cheap interior materials

Should I buy a Kia XCeed?

What is the Kia XCeed? Well, it sits partway between a hatchback like the regular Kia Ceed and a small SUV like the Kia Niro.


That means you get a neat hatchback body with familiar Kia styling, but also a taller ride height and some of the chunky looking plastic cladding you'd usually expect from an SUV. So, you can either think of the XCeed as a tougher Ceed hatchback, or a more civilised alternative to an SUV, depending on your persuasion.


Whatever way you look at the XCeed, it's still a Kia at heart. You get a long seven-year factory warranty, robust-feeling mechanical parts, and solid build quality inside and out. This is backed up by a generous equipment list, especially on high-end versions.


The thing is – the XCeed is hardly the only car on the market that offers all those qualities. Perhaps its low price as a used buy will be enough to sway your decision?

Interior and technology

Poke and prod the XCeed's cabin and you'll have very little to complain about. All the panels are securely screwed together and there's no creaks or rattles as the car passes over bumps. Sadly, the design does little to excite the senses – the lower dashboard is made from hard black plastic that looks and feels cheap, and this is carried into the centre console and door panels.


The switchgear is clearly marked and logically laid out making the XCeed easy to use but, again, the overall styling is quite dull. At least the large infotainment screen helps inject a dash of modernity, with bold graphics and reasonably quick response times. As with other Kia systems we've tried recently, however, it's quite fussy and sometimes forces you through too many submenus to find the function you're looking for.

Practicality

Practicality, like the XCeed in general, is something of a halfway house. On paper, there's more space than you get in a regular Ceed hatchback, with a touch more rear legroom and a larger boot.


In practice, however, the XCeed never feels that much more useful than a standard hatchback. Rear passenger space is tight for tall occupants – both for heads and legs – and the boot can't match the overall boxier shape found in cars like the Kia Niro.


Nevertheless, if you're shopping for a small family car, the XCeed should be large enough for most jobs – able to haul a weekly shop or a folded pushchair at a pinch.

Engines and performance

There are a handful of engine choices available for the XCeed if you're shopping nearly new and used examples.


Older cars can be found with a 118hp 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine. This has just enough punch to get the car up to faster speeds but will feel underwhelming when you put your foot down.


You're much more likely to encounter the XCeed with the company's 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine. This boosts power up to 158hp and feels substantially more relaxed at all speeds as a result. It's not enough that you could call it 'fast', but it's effortless in use and suits the car's easygoing personality.


Kia's clever plug-in-hybrid engine is also available, but we've yet to sample that version.

Driving and comfort

On the road, the XCeed is, well… fine.


It's certainly not going to set your pulse racing. There's no feedback through the steering wheel and, while it's accurate, the weighting is fairly artificial and doesn't seem to match what's actually going on at the front axle. That doesn't matter especially, because the front end never feels particularly inclined to dive into corners like the Ford Focus or other more entertaining hatches and is simply content to head roughly in the direction it's pointed.


Clearly, the XCeed isn't about driving excitement, but it can't quite pull off being a comfortable cruiser, either. There's enough compliance that it's not tiring to drive and big bumps are absorbed competently, but you still feel small vibrations from rough road surfaces making their way into the cabin.

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