ON THE ROAD – IAN LYNAS DRIVES THE UPDATED KIA XCEED
The XCeed is the most popular member of the Kia Ceed family and with its sleek styling more than 120,000 have been produced to date and now updated versions will deliver further sales success. In its latest guise, a striking new exterior design, an enhanced interior, and a sporty new GT-line trim for the first time; this will ensure further success in the popular C- Crossover segment. It’s worth pointing out that different markets may have a variety of trim levels.
The updated model is available with a choice of highly efficient electrified powertrains, including mild-hybrid (MHEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV); the latter providing an electric-only driving range of up to 60km (38mph). The latter a wise choice for those not prepared to go full EV. I had the opportunity to try both these power units, I found them both bright and responsive and the PHEV delivered a particularly satisfying drive. Throughout my test drives I was further impressed with the handling and braking performance of these updated cars; stylish, expressive and modern in appearance, the new model builds upon its predecessor’s iconic design and it is a product of the brand’s European design centre in Frankfurt. The new model features new LED headlamps and a revised grille, front bumper and innovative air intake design and by creatively integrating the fog lamps into the headlights, the designers were able to include air curtains on either side which guide air smoothly around the vehicle’s wheels to reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency. Riding on dedicated 18-inch alloys designed specifically for CUV-segment appeal and I did observe that the PHEV I drove was on Michelin rubber, which I feel played a part in handling.
At the rear, a new diffuser with a gloss black skid plate and a discreet ‘exhaust-look ’design for a refreshed sporty look across the entire range. The XCeed’s relatively long bonnet flows into the A-pillars aft of the front wheels, lending a sporty, swept- back silhouette. While the wheelbase remains the same as other Ceed variants at 2,650mm, the XCeed’s front and rear overhangs have been extended over the five-door hatchback by 25mm at the front (to 905mm) and 60mm at the rear (to 840mm) and the only body panels carried over from its five-door hatchback sibling are the front doors. Adding a sporty look, the fast sloping roofline that leads to the steeply-angled fastback tailgate enhances the car’s dynamic, coupé-like appearance. Rear LED tail-lights emit a slim, highly-technical light signature which, when viewed from certain angles, appears to spear forward into the shoulders of the car. Wheel arch and side sill cladding, along with satin chrome roof rails; lend the car a tough on road presence.
Manufactured at the Kia facility in Zilina, Slovakia, the upgraded production line features 40 new advanced robots in the paint and assembly halls, part of a long-term plan to increase automation, efficiency, and compliance with the latest environmental standards. This facility uses 100 per cent renewable energy for its operations, while heat and water from the paint shop are recycled across the plant to cut waste. All Kia models are manufactured on the same Zilina production line, which further aids efficiency and helps it better respond to changing patterns of demand across the different model ranges. Along with the new XCeed, Zilina also manufactures other members of the Ceed model family along with the fifth-generation Sportage and in addition the facility also assembles the ‘Smartstream ’1.5 litre ‘Kappa ’petrol and mild-hybrid powertrains, along with the 1.6 litre‘ Gamma ’T-GDi engine. Looking at performance, the Xceed GT-Line S, 158bhp, rest to 100kph (62mph) in just under nine seconds and on to a top speed of 204kph (127mph) while the PHEV had 139bhp, the sprint from rest to 100kph (62mph) in a respectable 10.6 seconds with a top speed of 160kph (99mph). Where Kia will score with the latest versions of the XCeed, maximum choice, excellent standard equipment levels and of course one of the best warranty packages in the industry.
I have test driven a variety of models from this giant South Korean carmaker and with every new arrival comes even better quality and above all good value, which most want today from the vehicle they choose to own.