Kia XCeed review

The Kia XCeed combines elements of a hatchback, a coupe and an SUV to create a very appealing package. It’s also well-equipped, excellent value and comes with a long warranty.

Published: 22 February 2023

  • Green Kia Xceed in a car park

Summary

If you want a mid-size car that gives you a hatchback’s affordability with a dash of SUV style, the Kia XCeed is a great option. It shares many parts with the Kia Ceed hatchback, but it’s both sleeker and more rugged, with a higher ride height and a sportier shape overall.

Its standout features are the amount of equipment included as standard, its large boot and the availability of a plug-in hybrid model. It’s excellent value for money and, as with every Kia, you get the reassurance of a seven-year warranty from new.

Pros

  • Lots of features included
  • Stylish looks
  • Plug-in hybrid option

Cons

  • Engines lack oomph
  • Back-seat space is a bit tight
  • Plug-in hybrid version has a small boot
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Interior

Dashboard & tech

While it might not look as high-tech inside as some newer hatchback or SUV models (it has been on sale since 2019, after all), the XCeed dashboard is modern, stylish and refreshingly easy to use. 

There’s a big infotainment touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard, with clear graphics and logical menus. The system responds quickly and it’s also easy to hook up your smartphone using Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. There’s no wireless Carplay though, which is a bit of a shame – you’ll need to plug in your phone. 

An 8.0 or 10.5-inch screen is included, depending on which trim you go for, and higher-spec models also have a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel in place of analogue dials. You also get a wireless phone charger in higher-spec models.

Comfort

There’s lots of adjustability in the XCeed’s seats and steering column, so you should have no issues finding your preferred position. The seats are very comfortable and all but the entry-level models have lumbar support to fine-tune the fit on your back. Go with the GT-Line S models and you can adjust the seats electrically and save the positions for different drivers. Visibility from the front is good but it can be a bit tricky out of the back, thanks to big pillars between the rear windows.

Quality

While the XCeed’s interior design might not feel quite as cutting-edge as in some newer cars, it’s hard to fault its quality. Some of the switches have a rather basic feel, but the materials used and the overall fit and finish are a match for most rivals and it all seems like  it will stand the test of time.

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Practicality & boot space

Interior space

There’s no shortage of space up front in the XCeed, with ample headroom and legroom, even for tall passengers. It’s not quite so spacious in the back, however. Two adults will fit okay, but headroom and legroom aren’t a match for many rivals and this means it’s not as family-friendly as some mid-size SUVs or hatchbacks. One notable plus, however, is that legroom in the middle back seat is better than in some rival cars because of the almost-flat floor. Access to the back seats is good, too, with doors that open nice and wide.

When it comes to storage, the XCeed does well. There’s a big glovebox and door pockets up front, two cupholders and various trays for odds and ends. In the back, storage nets sit on the back of the front seats for comics and small toys, you can fit a drink in each door pocket and there are two more cupholders in the centre armrest.

Boot space

While much of the XCeed’s interior is similar to that of the Kia Ceed, the boot is bigger. With 426 litres of space it’s on par with the Mazda CX-30 and bigger than the Ford Focus. However, if you go for the plug-in hybrid model, that space drops to a disappointingly small 291 litres to make room for a large battery under the boot floor.

Versatility

The XCeed’s back seats fold down in a 60/40 split, although some top-spec models have a more versatile 40/20/40 arrangement. This extends the load space to 1,378 litres (1,243 in the plug-in hybrid), which should be plenty for a trip to that Swedish furniture store or to load in a bicycle. Most models (but not the plug-in hybrid) have a boot floor that you can adjust for height, letting you store items underneath and reducing the load lip, or that you can drop for extra space.

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Driving

Driving experience

You could say that the XCeed’s sporty-yet-rugged character extends to how it feels to drive. The steering is sharp and quick to respond for a car of this type, yet because the XCeed sits higher than the Ceed it has more suspension space to soak up bumps from the road, and the ride is generally very comfortable. Overall it’s enjoyable to drive yet as smooth as you’d want a family car to be.

Performance

The XCeed engines may feel a bit lacklustre. They’re not bad, and will do the job for most people, but you may feel like you’re having to rev the engine quite hard to make decent progress. However, if you’re perfectly happy with leisurely, unhurried driving, or you do most of your driving around town rather than on the motorway, you’re unlikely to find this much of a problem.

The entry-level engine for earlier XCeeds is a 118bhp 1.0-litre petrol that’s lively enough but can feel a bit laboured if you’ve got a full load of passengers and luggage. There’s also a 1.4-litre petrol with 138bhp that’s a bit quicker, but in 2021 both were replaced with a 158bhp, 1.5-litre unit that’s got a bit more punch – and this would be our recommendation if you can stretch to the extra cost.

If you are doing lots of longer journeys, consider a diesel model (also discontinued in 2022), which uses a 1.6-litre engine with either 114bhp or 134bhp. The latter in particular feels more gutsy for faster speeds.

You could also look at the plug-in hybrid model, which uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine with an electric motor for a combined 139bhp. Both automatic and manual XCeeds are available, but all the plug-in hybrids are automatic.

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Running costs

Fuel economy & CO2 emissions

For ultimate fuel economy in the XCeed, look at the plug-in hybrid model. Thanks to its rechargeable battery you can do up to 33 miles of emissions-free electric driving, so if you do a lot of around-town driving (and have somewhere to plug in to charge), you could see big fuel savings.

The diesel engines will give you up to 53.3mpg, while the petrol models will give you up to 47.1mpg from the 1.0-litre engine, 42.8mpg from the 1.4-litre engine and up to 44.8mpg from the 1.5-litre one. Impressively (and unusually), the official fuel economy figures are better for cars with an automatic gearbox than for the manuals.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are relatively low, especially for the plug-in hybrid, so annual car tax rates are comparatively affordable.


Value for money

Prices for the XCeed compare very well against most rivals, whether you’re looking at a new or used model. Add in the fact that even the most cost-effective models come with features that you have to pay extra for with many similar cars and Kia’s seven-year warranty from new (most rivals give either three or five years of cover) and it’s clear that the XCeed offers exceptional value for money overall.

Reliability & Warranty

Kia has an excellent reputation for reliability, finishing  seventh of all the major UK manufacturers in the J.D. Power 2019 Vehicle Dependability Study. All of its cars come with an industry-leading seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty from new, so all used XCeeds are still covered.

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Safety

Safety features

Safety organisation Euro NCAP hasn’t tested the XCeed, but it did test the almost-identical Ceed in 2019, giving it four stars out of five. That score rose to five when fitted with the optional safety pack. Higher-spec models include it as standard, but lower-spec cars won’t. It’s best to check the details of the car you’re interested in if this is particularly important to you. The difference concerns modern active-safety systems, including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and traffic-sign recognition.

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Trims & Engines

Trim levels

Kia names its cars using a simple number system. Well, mostly. The XCeed range starts with the 2 model, which sports 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and a reversing camera, as well as the smaller touchscreen. While this is, in theory, the entry-level model, it’s well kitted out.

Next up is the 3, with 18-inch  wheels, some synthetic-leather upholstery inside, dual-zone climate control and keyless entry and start. It’s the only trim available with the plug-in hybrid model, although this features 16-inch wheels because they’re more fuel-efficient.

The First Edition comes with premium paint, a panoramic sunroof, an electric boot lid, a JBL sound system and all the available safety features.

The 4, introduced in 2021 and discontinued in 2022, features many of the same features as the First Edition – panoramic sunroof, sporty body kit, 18-inch wheels and black and suede upholstery, as well as heated back seats and a wireless phone charger. The 4 was replaced by the GT-Line S, which has broadly the same equipment.

In 2020, an XCeed Edition was released with a 1.0-litre petrol engine and based on the 2 trim but with 18-inch wheels, tinted rear windows and three metallic paint choices: Blue Flame, Quantum Yellow or Lunar Silver. 

Engines

Pre-facelift XCeeds were available with a 1.0-litre or 1.4-litre petrol engine. In 2021, both were replaced by a 1.5-litre petrol engine with extra power.

The 1.6-litre diesel engine – available with two power outputs – was discontinued in 2022.

The plug-in hybrid model uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine with a 44.5kW electric motor and an 8.9kWh battery.

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