There are so many variations on the crossover theme that it’s easy get to very confused about exactly what’s what. And so it is with this new Kia XCeed, which slots into the Korean brand’s line-up between the Stonic and Sportage but isn’t much like either of them.
Rather than being cut from the same SUV-ish cloth as its rangemates, the XCeed is essentially a ruggedised Ceed hatchback, restyled with the fastbacked sportiness of the Proceed shooting brake. Its main rivals are the Ford Focus Active and Subaru XV. But it’s a more bespoke product than the Focus and will probably be a lot less agricultural to drive than the Subaru.
In short, the XCeed fits into a very small niche of the market. But let’s not worry too much about that. We think this a good-looking car that, on paper at least, seems pretty promising.
The XCeed is appreciably longer, wider and taller than the Ceed hatchback. Indeed, the restyle is so comprehensive that the only shared body panels are the front doors.
All the extra 85mm of length is in the overhangs; the extra width is in the stretched wheelarches. The bigger dimensions have freed up a bit more interior space, particularly in the boot. Kia claims a capacity of 426 litres with 40:20:40 folding reat seats up, 1,378 litres with them all folded down. There’s a power tailgate and bi-level boot floor, as well.
Underneath, the suspension has been raised – up to 42mm on the 18in wheels – and hydraulic bump stops added. The springs have been softened too. Otherwise, the running gear is shared with the hatchback so the driving experience should be broadly the same, but with a more pliant ride. Which is no bad thing, as the Ceed as is an extremely competent steer and the extra suspension travel should make it more composed on ruined urban roads.
The engine range is shared with the hatchback, too. Turbo petrol engines come in 1.0- 1.4- and 1.6-litre sizes, with anything up to 204hp. The 1.6-litre diesel is available in 115hp and 136hp varieties.
Every engine is connected to a six-speed manual gearbox driving the front wheels. All but the 1.0 can be optioned with a seven-speed dual-clutcher.
Mild- and plug-in hybrid versions will be launched next year.
Inside, there’s a slew of connectivity and infotainment tech, centred around the 10.25in touchscreen. A 12.3in digital instrument panel is on the options list for certain models and all the usual driver assistance and safety aids come as standard, with yet more on that options list.
Confusing it may be, but we can see the XCeed fitting into a lot of people’s lives. It goes on sale in the UK later this year.
By Graham King