Kia XCeed - it's a mean green machine

Kia has built its reputation on offering a seductive combination of style and value.
Kia XCeedKia XCeed
Kia XCeed

Its cars look good and – unlike with many of its rivals – the prices are often less than you would expect. Considerably less, in fact.

The art of creating a budget car which looks like a premium model is a difficult task to conquer but just look at the model list – from Stonic to Soul, Niro to Sportage.

Tested here is one of my favourites, the XCeed. It’s a crossover car which takes the standard Ceed hatchback and with some deft additions suddenly becomes almost a sporty SUV. I must say it is tastefully done. Many crossovers are sometimes a little overcooked but not this one.

What’s more, it is one of very few cars to look good in green. This hue is called Celadon Spirit Green and it suits it.

In fact, I think it has a feel of a coupe. A sort of Volkswagen Scirocco, perhaps, which is no bad thing given that Scirocco is perhaps the most under-rated cars on the road.

Xceed, and the raft of other Kia models, has taken the brand to new heights. Kia UK has achieved 100,000 annual sales for the first time

It gave it a record-breaking market share of 6.2 per cent for 2022. The major milestone was reached, following new versions of Kia’s best-selling models in 2022: Sportage, Niro and Ceed families.

It recorded 100,000 sales in one year for the first time in its 32-year UK history. Delivering 3,417 new vehicles in December saw Kia’s full year sales result hit an all-time high of 100,191 for 2022.

The Korean car maker finished sixth overall in 2022, its highest position to date.

With over 100,000 sales for the year and a record market share, Kia’s success bucks the 2022 market trend that saw significant challenges across the UK market.

Since Kia’s arrival in the UK in July 1991, the brand has sold almost 1.4 million cars in Britain.

So, how does XCeed measure up? It takes the standard Ceed – a smart but slightly anonymous model – and gives it some pzazz.

First launched in 2019 XCeed went 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.

Kia hasn’t made major 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.

Our test car is the regular petrol, which is front-wheel-drive and comes paired to a six-speed manual gearbox It is smooth, efficient and more than a little sporty.

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.

XCeed doesn’t drive too differently from a regular hatchback perhaps because it’s not really much higher up.

It handles nicely and is competent down a twisty stretch of road and has more a sporty prowess than I expected. 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 me.

But some people like the commanding position of taller crossovers.

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.

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 wide 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 holds up to 1,378 litres of luggage with the seats down which should suit most needs.

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

GT-Line trim brings 18in alloy wheels, sportier styling and heated front seats, with the ‘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.

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.

Kia XCeed GT-Line S 1.5 T-GDI

Model: Kia XCeed

Price: £30,770 as tested. Range starts at £22,620

Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol generating 158bhp with 253Nm of torque

Performance: Top speed 129mph and 0 to 60mph 8.7 seconds

Economy: 44.8mpg combined

Emissions: 143g/km

Warranty: Seven years, 100,000 miles