Car review: Exceed your expectations…drive away a new Kia Xceed

WHEN the new Kia Xceed T-GDi ‘4’ arrived initial impressions were (a): It is bigger than I thought, and (b) It is really ‘classy’ looking writes Steve Berry.

More than one person compared it to the new Mercedes GLA and though that’s pushing it, I see where they’re coming from.

The XCeed does look classier than the ordinary Ceed hatchback that it’s based upon.

That is thanks to the raised, SUV/Crossover look and all the trimmings, such as: roof rails, rugged side sills, deeper front grille with larger lower intake and a rear trailing edge ‘deck’ sitting 60mm higher than on the conventional Ceed.

Based on the Ceed platform, the XCeed is longer and wider by some way.

The deep creases running along the rear hatch and bumper add to the bullish, planted way the XCeed sits.

There is a sense of overall solidity much more so than in the Ford Focus Active, which is probably the XCeed’s main rival.

My car was also equipped with the new 1.5 T-GDi petrol unit which pumps out 158bhp-a full 40bhp more than the alternative 1.0 litre unit.

Trim levels are simple with ‘2’, ‘Edition’, ‘3’ and ‘4’. If you want to go with the 1.6, mild-hybrid diesel variant then you’ll have to go for the ‘3’, while the ‘2’ and ‘Edition’ models get the 1.0 litre petrol, only.

The new 1.5 T-GDi is available on ‘3’ and ‘4’ models and can be optioned with a DCT automatic gearbox.

My ‘4’ model came with a six-speed manual gearbox which felt smooth enough and enabled me to get the best from the more powerful petrol unit which benefits from keeping up the revs between gearchanges.

It really does feel quite punchy at anything above 1,500 rpm. It sounded a little harsh in gears one and two when setting off at a decent pace but once up to normal speeds it settled down and felt refined even at motorway speeds.

The Kia XCeed features hydraulic rebound stoppers, fitted as standard to the front axle of all models.

The rubber bump-stop floats in hydraulic fluid within the shock absorbers, providing a highly compliant ride over poor surfaces.

Handling is decent and twisty B-roads can be enjoyed. Steering is on the light side- just like the XCeed’s rivals-but can be weighted up by selecting ‘Sport’ mode, which also increase throttle sensitivity.

Around town – where most XCeed’s will spend the majority of time – the Kia feels nimble enough to be a relaxing drive.

Visibility all-round is good with the raised ride-height adding to confidence, as do the reversing sensors and rear camera. Smart Park Assist on the ‘4’ model will also parallel or bay-park for you.

The ‘4’ includes a fully digital 12.3in. instrument display. There is turn-by-turn navigation instructions, audio information and in-depth trip information, as well as vehicle diagnostics alerts, and pop-up notifications linked to the car’s various active safety and driver assist technologies.

Other technologies include a JBL Premium audio system with Clari-Fi technology and black leather heated front and rear seats.

Further highlights include a panoramic tilt/slid sunroof with automatic electric roller blind, aluminium pedals, smart powered tailgate and wireless mobile phone charging.

Extra safety systems include: Blind Spot Collision Warning (BCW), Intelligent Speed Limit Information Function (ISLIF) and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) plus Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection. Lane Following Assist (LFA) is included on DCT models only.

It’s a heck of a lot of style and technology for £28,880 OTR.The entry-level XCeed starts at just £21,055 and is far from sparse when it comes to ‘toys.’

There are 16in alloys, an 8in touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cruise control, silver roof rails, LED bi-functional headlights and a reversing camera.

There is also keyless-entry, Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), High Beam Assist (HBA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), Speed Limit Information Function (SLIF) and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist – City (FCA) all included as standard.

Kia get better every year when it comes to interior ambiance and the XCeed will, err… exceed most people’s expectations.

There is plenty of space inside the XCeed despite it being classed as a ‘compact SUV’.

Sitting directly between the Ceed five-door hatchback and the Sportage, the XCeed still manages to provide comparable interior space and luggage capacity to many best-selling SUVs.

With the car’s longer rear overhang creating a longer boot, luggage capacity for the Kia XCeed is 426 litres – 31 litres more than the Ceed. With the rear seats folded down, luggage capacity grows to 1,378 litres.

Versatility is assured thanks to 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats, Smart Power Tailgate, and two-step boot floor that can be moved up or down to provide either more space or a hidden underfloor storage compartment.

So, the Kia XCeed looks good, drives very well – especially with the new 1.5 T-GDI engine and fancy suspension set-up – while also providing practicality and Kia’s unrivalled seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty.

It may not be the cheapest compact SUV around but the XCeed ‘4’ provides genuine value for money.

RATING: *****

AT A GLANCE: Kia XCeed 1.5 T-GDI ‘4’
OTR Price: £28,880
Engine: 1.5 turbo petrol
Power: 158 bhp
Transmission: 6-speed Manual
0-62mph: 8.7 secs
Top Speed: 129 mph
Combined economy: 42.2 mpg
C02: 142 g/km

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