With an extensive range of accomplished and appealing models, Kia’s popularity continues to grow apace.

Top choice for UK buyers of the South Korean marque is the Sportage, but drivers also love the XCeed, which represents a sporty alternative to traditional SUVs (sports utility vehicles). 

Indeed, the XCeed accounted for around eight per cent of total Kia sales in the country during 2022, and around half of all Ceed sales (there are hatchback, Sportswagon and ProCeed variants of the model too) over the same time-frame.

The highly successful compact crossover has received a series of enhancements, including a bold, new exterior design, an enhanced interior and new trim levels, changes that make the XCeed an even more enticing proposition.

The car provides the commanding driving position and comfort of an SUV with the dynamic handling and manoeuvrability of a compact European hatchback as I found when I spent a week behind the wheel of a 1.5 T-GDi ‘2’ model.

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Style file
Sitting on 16in alloy wheels, the five-door car’s lines are dynamic, svelte and purposeful, and it boasts new LED headlamps, a revised grille (matt black and satin chrome) and front bumper, with innovative air intake design. 

You will find body-coloured bumpers, exterior door handles and rear spoiler, plus silver-coloured roof rails. And there are fresh LED tail-lights and revisions to the rear include a new diffuser with a gloss black skid plate and a discreet ‘exhaust-look’ design for a more dynamic and sporty appearance. The only body panels carried over from its five-door hatchback sibling are the front doors.

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Inside story
The well thought-out cabin is a welcoming place to be, with an upscale ambience aided by pleasingly tactile finishes, including top quality plastics throughout, and appealing design for the seating fabric. Plus, there is great attention to detail, like the chrome-finish interior door handles, and vanity mirrors with illumination for driver and front passenger sun-visors.

 The lower portion of the instrument panel has been redesigned, with touch-sensitive buttons, dials and switches that control the audio volume, heating, and ventilation systems, while the sculptured centre console is orientated towards the driver.

 Cabin space feels generous, while the interior is both comfortable and practical, with boot space of 426 litres with the seats up and 1,378 litres with them folded down.

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There is a wealth of equipment, including automatic headlight control, timer function for
heated rear window, tinted windows, electrically-adjustable and heated door mirrors, reversing camera system with dynamic guidelines, leather-trimmed steering wheel, rear centre armrest with cupholders, steering wheel mounted audio controls, air conditioning, cruise control and speed limiter, USB charge ports (two at the front, one at the rear), connectivity suite, seven-speaker audio system and eight-inch touchscreen audio display.

On the practicality front, features include centre console cupholders, front seat-back pockets, front and luggage area 12-volt power sockets, rear cabin light, 60:40-split folding rear seats, luggage area light and luggage hooks .

An array of hi-tech safety features include ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist system, driver attention warning, electronic stability control and vehicle stability management, forward collision-avoidance assist, lane following assist 
and lane keep assist.

On the road
The XCeed proved a pleasure to drive in all road conditions, from tootling around town to the motorway haul. With a comfortable seating position and good visibility, the driving experience was positive and rewarding, with ride and handling ticking the box marked ‘accomplished’.

The road-test car’s turbocharged 1.5-litre, 16-valve, four-cylinder petrol engine laid down its power smoothly via a slick-changing six-speed manual gearbox. Performance: 0-60mph, 8.7 seconds; top speed, 129mph. Fuel consumption: 46.3mpg (combined). Emissions: 137g/km CO2.

Tech time
As well as our turbocharged 1.5-litre T-GDi there is a 1.6 GDi PHEV powertrain.
The plug-in hybrid powertrain combines 8.9kWh battery pack, 44.5kW electric motor and 1.6-litre petrol direct injection (GDi) engine, producing 139bhp and 265Nm of torque
Electric capabilities of the PHEV are boosted by kinetic energy harvesting technology.

The latest XCeed – like all Kias, backed by a seven-year warranty – is a highly satisfying car, offering a blend of comfort, practicality and pleasing driveability served up with design that has real eye-appeal.

Price: £23,395 OTR.