The Kia XCeed has been given a boost with the addition of a new 1.5 litre petrol turbo engine. Described as an urban crossover, it combines practicality with the sporty packaging and engaging handling of a hatchback; many will see it as a small SUV. However, I see it as a sporty alternative to traditional SUVs, yet it manages to offer comparable levels of space for occupants and luggage.
This was not the first time I had driven an XCeed, and once again I enjoyed its sporty handling, comfortable, assured ride, while providing a more commanding view of the road ahead than a conventional hatchback; the latter will certainly appeal to a number of drivers. The new 158bhp 1.5 litre T-GDi engine, which makes its debut in the XCeed, joins the existing 118bhp one litre T-GDi unit. (N.I.). At time of writing in the ROI, a one litre petrol engine with 120bhp and a diesel with 115bhp with no news of the new engine joining the line-up.
My test car was equipped with a six speed manual transmission, which is reasonably slick in operation and after having driven a number of automatics it was almost strange in having to select gears. At the command of the right foot is a very useful 158bhp, enough to allow the sprint from rest to 100kph (62mph) in 8.7 seconds and where legal on to a top speed of 208kph (129mph). The XCeed boasts a suite of advanced safety, connectivity and infotainment features which makes it one of the most high-tech cars in the class. This Kia is more emotional and dynamic in format and appearance than its taller rivals, while offering something different to the other models in the Ceed range and the only body panels carried over from its five-door hatchback sibling are the front doors. With a sporty, swept-back silhouette, the wheelbase remains the same as other models in the Ceed line-up and the front and rear overhangs are extended over the five-door hatchback model by 25mm at the front (to 905mm) and 60mm at the rear (to 840mm). A steeply-angled fastback tailgate, and a rear deck trailing edge which sits 60mm higher than that of the Ceed five-door hatchback, enhances the vehicle’s dynamic, coupe-like, cab-rearward appearance and it rides on a choice of 16 or 18 inch alloy wheels, shod with high-grip 205/60 R16 or 235/45 R18 tyres.
Moving to the interior, the Kia XCeed carries over the contemporary cabin architecture of its Ceed stablemates, with a sculptured centre console oriented slightly towards the driver. Having a lower hip point than a taller SUV, and raised ground clearance over a conventional hatchback, the XCeed provides you with a sportier driving position allowing a better view of the road ahead. A floating touch screen infotainment system is a prominent feature of the dashboard, while the lower portion of the instrument panel provides a set of touch-sensitive buttons, dials and switches to control audio volume, heating and ventilation.
Highly ergonomic in its layout and functionality, these controls have been designed to enable quick changes to the cabin environment without taking eyes off the road for any longer than necessary. The interior is finished in sophisticated soft-touch materials throughout, with a satin chrome dashboard trim, presenting a refined, upscale ambience. Trim levels (N.I.) ‘2’, ‘3’ and ‘4’; my test car was the ‘3’ trim. The longer rear overhang creates a longer boot and luggage capacity is rated at 426 litres, 31 litres more than the Ceed and only slightly less than the best-selling compact SUV in Europe. With the rear seats folded down, luggage capacity grows to 1,378 litres and thanks to the available 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. For added peace of mind and in company with the rest of the Kia family, the XCeed enjoys a comprehensive seven year warranty.