In-depth reviews

Kia XCeed review - Engines, performance and drive

The XCeed is good to drive and comfortable on long journeys, but gearboxes disappoint

The XCeed is closely related to the Kia Ceed hatchback; it’s based on the same platform and uses the same engines. To achieve its rugged look, the XCeed sits higher than its hatchback relative thanks to a 20mm boost in ride height and larger-sidewalled tyres that add another 17mm. Kia has fitted softer springs along with hydraulic bump stops, both of which help to provide a smoother, more pliant ride than that on the standard Ceed. The XCeed settles down nicely on flowing roads and motorways, making short work of longer distances.

This softer edge means the XCeed is actually better to drive than the Ceed hatch. It’s more comfortable and relaxing to drive, with fewer lumps and bumps transmitted into the cabin. There’s a little more body roll in corners versus the standard car, but this means the XCeed is a little easier to read when driving quickly. The unchanged electric power steering system remains accurate and well-weighted. 

Minus points are awarded for the XCeed’s gearboxes. The same six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic as found in the Ceed feature here, but neither is particularly impressive, while the new XCeed PHEV version uses a six-speed DCT 'box.

Our preferred option is the manual, but it feels clunky and can’t match the Mazda CX-30’s excellent shift. The dual-clutch gearbox, meanwhile, is lazy in its operation; it’s worth saving £1,000 or so and sticking with the manual unless you really need an automatic.

Despite its SUV-inspired looks, the XCeed is available exclusively with front-wheel drive.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed 

The 1.4-litre petrol is expected to be the biggest seller and it’s this version that we’ve spent the most time with. The engine provides adequate performance but doesn’t feel fantastic under larger throttle inputs, sounding strained in its upper registers. 0-60mph (Kia doesn’t quote 0-62mph times) takes 9.1 seconds with the manual gearbox or 9.2 with the automatic; top speed is 124mph.  

Go for the 1.0-litre petrol and performance doesn’t dip much; 0-60mph takes 10.9 seconds and top speed is 115mph. Improvements in fuel economy and CO2 emissions are also marginal. The petrol-electric plug-in hybrid model accelerates from 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds and has a top speed of 99mph.

The diesel options offer good performance along with improvements in efficiency. In 114bhp form the 1.6-litre unit manages the 0-60mph sprint in 11 seconds, while turning the wick up to 134bhp results in a 10.2-second time. Top speed is 118mph in the lower-powered car and 122mph in the higher.

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