Shropshire Star

First Drive: Is the updated Kia XCeed a crossover you should consider?

Kia has tweaked its XCeed crossover with a new look and revised trim levels. Ted Welford tries it out.

Kia XCeed

What is it?

Kia XCeed
A slightly raised ride height gives the XCeed a bit more presence

You’d think that with Kia already having the Stonic, Soul, Niro and Sportage all competing in the small to mid-size SUV segment, there wasn’t possibly room for another.

But in 2019 along came the XCeed – a slightly raised version of the Ceed hatchback that got various bits of plastic add-ons to give it a more rugged look. But, despite our misconceptions, it’s gone on to become Kia’s third most popular model. Now, just three years after it first went on sale (not long in the car world), Kia is back with a mid-life update. Let’s find out what it’s like.

What’s new?

Kia XCeed
The front end of the XCeeed has been lightly updated

Kia hasn’t made a significant number of changes to the XCeed, with design alterations being some of the most important – particularly with the addition of sportier-looking GT-Line and GT-Line S trim levels.

Inside, Kia has worked to improve the quality with new graphics for the digital dial display and a slightly revised button layout, while the engine line-up has had a rejig too – the entry-level 1.0-litre petrol option being discontinued.

What’s under the bonnet?

Kia XCeed
The 1.5-litre engine is flexible and more than punchy enough

With the removal of the cheapest engine, the line-up consists of a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol and a 1.6-litre plug-in hybrid that can manage up to a claimed 36 miles on electricity. But our test car is the regular petrol, which is front-wheel-drive and comes paired to a six-speed manual gearbox – Kia has removed the automatic gearbox option it used to be offered with.

Putting out 158bhp and 243Nm of torque, it’s able to accelerate from 0-60mph in 8.7 seconds and on to a 129mph top speed. In terms of efficiency, Kia claims 44.8mpg, while CO2 emissions come in at 141g/km. On a motorway run, we were easily able to match the claimed figures.

What’s it like to drive?

Kia XCeed
The XCeed is efficient in all types of driving

Behind the wheel, the XCeed doesn’t drive too differently from a regular hatchback – likely because it’s not really much higher up. It’s by no means a fun car behind the wheel, but it handles nicely and is competent down a twisty stretch of road. Referencing the fact it doesn’t feel much like an ‘SUV’ from the driver’s seat, you sit low in the car – something welcomed by this reviewer, but likely not those wanting that higher seating position offered from higher-riding rivals.

This 1.5-litre petrol engine is a good match too, offering just the right levels of performance and efficiency, while the six-speed manual gearbox is pleasant to use – if slightly strange that an automatic gearbox (which is becoming more and more common) isn’t offered. The ride is largely comfortable too, and it’s a good motorway cruiser as well, though there’s perhaps a touch too much road noise.

How does it look?

Kia XCeed
The rear light design is really distinctive

The bulk of the changes on the XCeed affect the way it looks, with the main revision being the addition of the GT-Line trim. It’s a sportier-looking grade used elsewhere on the Kia line-up, and it’s certainly welcome here. The new 18-inch alloy wheels are a smart design, while the new LED lights and revised grille certainly give this crossover more presence than its predecessor.

Around the back, Kia has fitted a pair of new LED indicators, which look particularly smart with the sequential indicators, while the new Spirit Green colour certainly gives this model a bolder finish.

What’s it like inside?

Kia XCeed
All XCeed models get plenty of equipment

One of the best things about the XCeed is its interior. Though only minor changes have been made as part of this update, it remains smart, well-built and exceptionally easy to use. There’s a widescreen touchscreen and digital instrument cluster on our top-spec car, and each works particularly well. There might be more high-tech crossovers on the market, but it’s hard to fault the XCeed for its ergonomics.

In terms of spaciousness, it doesn’t feel too much bigger inside than a regular hatchback. The boot measures 426 litres and features a height-adjustable floor while the adequate rear seat space offers little more than a regular Ceed hatchback does.

What’s the spec like?

Kia XCeed
The instrument binnacle is clear to read

All XCeed models come with plenty of features, with the entry-level ‘2’ coming with LED headlights, 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control and an eight-inch touchscreen with smartphone mirroring and a reversing camera.

GT-Line trim brings 18-inch alloy wheels, sportier styling and heated front seats, with the similarly-specced ‘3’ trim gaining keyless entry. The range-topping GT-Line S gains high-end features like black and suede leather seats, a panoramic sunroof and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.

In terms of price, the XCeed starts from a reasonable £23,295, with the GT-Line being the pick of the line-up at £25,395. While the top-spec GT-Line S model is impressively well-equipped, its £30,395 starting price is quite hard to justify.


The Kia XCeed is a car with plenty of merits while styling changes and the addition of the GT-Line trim level has only helped to boost its appeal.

The XCeed is also well-equipped, reasonably roomy and decent value if you stick with the lower trim levels. While it perhaps sits too closely next to the standard Ceed – and won’t appeal to those wanting that ‘proper’ SUV feel – there’s surprisingly only a small price difference between the two cars, so if you prefer the more rugged and interesting look of the XCeed, it’s worth a punt.

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