Kia XCeed 1.4 T-GDi DCT First Edition
The Kia XCeed looks set to capitalise on the fondness for SUV-type vehicles. Kia has chosen the XCeed to debut some new technology – such as a digital instrument cluster – as well as highlighting some of its newest engines; the 1.4 T-GDi mated to a DCT gearbox (as tested) is a lovely combination. But ultimately you get the same amount of space as in the Kia Ceed hatchback, and have to pay more for the privilege…
Our fondness for Kia has never been masked. A quick glance at our Kia archive page will reveal some pretty high scores. And judging by the looks of this car – the new Kia XCeed – this could be another high scorer.
Kia has taken the world’s love of SUV-type vehicles and turned it into a new type of car for them. Referring to the XCeed as a CUV – or Crossover Utility Vehicle – Kia has given the traditional family hatchback a lift… literally.
The Kia XCeed, unlike other crossovers, hides the increased height well. That’s mostly because of the raked lines at the rear, which negate a ‘bulky’ appearance.
At the font, the bonnet is long and sleek. The prominent, honeycomb grille is a premium-looking dark chrome. The bottom edge also gives the Kia XCeed a smiley appearance; like this is a car to brighten your day.
The First Edition gets 18-inch snowflake alloy wheels. They are a two tone silver and dark grey, the latter of which matches the door mirrors. The satin silver window surrounds, roof rails and side skirt accent adds a premium feel, but without being as flashy as chrome.
At the rear, the Kia XCeed has several bold lines; at the top of the bumper, in the middle of the tailgate, and just below the window, which create a sculpted, toned appearance. There is a subtle roof spoiler which incorporates a third brake light.
The bumper includes black and silver inserts, and what looks like some rather unusually-shaped exhaust tips. Upon closer inspection these turn out to be blanks; both of them. And whilst our feelings about fakery is well-documented, we will concede that, on this occasion, it works, due to the symmetry with the tail light design.
If you thought the Quantum Yellow exterior colour was a bold choice – we rather like it – then just wait until you open the door and look inside. In fairness, Kia has chosen a theme and stuck with it. Some will like the coordination while others, undoubtedly, will find it a bit much.
That’s because there is a lot of yellow in the cabin: the honeycomb pattern on the seat faces, the stitching on the door card trim and the air vent surrounds in the dashboard. Personally I like the brightness it brings; without such a bold colour there would be a whole sea of black, and that would be dull.
There are some new design features in the Kia XCeed, the most welcome of which is the addition of a fully-digital instrument cluster. Now this technology is becoming more common it’s great to see Kia keeping up with the times and introducing one.
Another new feature is a large, 10.2-inch widescreen infotainment system. It is situated in the centre of the dashboard, half integrated and half perched. It certainly wowed passengers with its prominence and crisp display.
The remainder of the switchgear is pretty much as we’re used to from Kia. But it has to be said that all the effort made by Kia over recent years to improve cabin quality has paid off. Sitting in the XCeed, you feel like you are in a premium car. The dodgy plastics are being eradicated from the cabin, in favour of soft-touch, leather-look alternatives.
And above all else the build quality of the Kia XCeed is solid. It feels like it will last much longer than its 7-year warranty, and there are no trim rattles to be heard.
There are currently three engines available in the Kia XCeed; a 1.0-litre T-GDi petrol with 118PS, a 1.6-litre CRDi diesel with 134PS and – featured in our test car – a 1.4-litre T-GDi petrol engine with 138PS.
All are front-wheel drive only, and if you want an automatic you’re restricted to the 1.4 T-GDi only. Not like that’s a bad thing, mind. The automatic gearbox is a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) and this pairs well with the 1.4 T-GDi; making the most of the power on offer.
In addition to the 138PS, you get 242Nm of torque. With the DCT gearbox able to change up in a fraction of a second, the 0-62mph dash is dealt with in 9.2 seconds, and the top speed is 124mph.
Admittedly this doesn’t fill you with an urge to get behind the wheel, but I implore you to do so. Because from the driving seat the Kia XCeed is sprightly, zipping around like a wasp at the start of spring. A fitting comparison, given the colour…
It has to be said that the 1.4 T-GDi is lacking in power. In this day and age, 180PS is easily achievable from a 1.4-litre engine. Even somewhere in the middle, 160PS, would be better.
That being said, what the Kia XCeed lacks in grunt it makes up by being rev-happy and dancing around the red line with great pleasure. This, combined with the brilliant DCT gearbox, just about saves the day.
It’s nippy enough around town, and holds its own on the motorway. What’s more, when you’re not revving its nuts off, the 1.4 T-GDi is quiet and refined. But if you really want performance, you may be better off with a Ceed GT.
When we reviewed the Kia Ceed hatchback last year, the handling left us feeling a little short changed. Now with the XCeed being a slightly taller car, our expectation was that it would be the same, if not worse, than the hatchback.
But whatever the boffins have done to the Kia XCeed has worked a treat, because it is a brilliant all-rounder. On the motorway, it is a comfortable cruiser. You would never hesitate to take it on a long drive.
What’s most surprising is how the XCeed handles when you come to the twisty stuff. Despite appearances, the XCeed is not much taller than a standard hatch. And whilst that won’t win it any points on a rutted farm track, it does mean that the tendency to lean on corner entry is avoided.
By far the best aspect is the steering. It has a lovely weight to it and, wait for it, decent feel too. You have to turn the ESC off, because it is generally too intrusive, but once you do this car is great fun.
You can actually tell what the front wheels are doing and when they are running low on grip. That’s such a rare thing these days that it is to be revered. And Kia should be mightily proud of what it has created, because the XCeed feels like it has been designed around the driver.
And because the Kia XCeed is engaging to drive, you can forgive the lack of power and, if they offend you, forget about the yellow seats.
If we have one complaint, it’s the lack of steering wheel paddles. With the instant changes of the DCT, it would have been more engaging to take manual control without having to reach down to the gear stick.
With smaller engines, the Kia XCeed is perfectly set up to save money at the pumps. Despite looking pretty large, the XCeed weighs a relatively dainty 1,375kg.
A lot of effort has gone into making the Kia XCeed efficient. The DCT gearbox is far more economical than automatic gearboxes of previous-generation Kias. Start/stop technology saves fuel when in traffic, and the smart cruise control helps you keep a consistent speed on the motorway, thus saving fuel.
And the results? Well, combined fuel consumption is 40.4mpg on the WLTP cycle. Given that this is, on balance, achievable; there can be no complaints. Sure, the diesel engine will offer more – over 50mpg in fact – but if you’re not regularly flying up and down the M6 this may make little difference to you.
In terms of CO2 emissions, the Kia XCeed does surprisingly well. This has long been an area where their engines could use some improvement. But WLTP emissions on this 1.4 T-GDi with the DCT gearbox are 159g/km which equates to a first year VED of £540, and £150 thereafter.
Given that the VED band in question ranges from 151-170g/km it covers a broad spectrum, so expect a few cars to be caught in this band. And as long as the list price is below £40,000 you avoid the VED surcharge, making future VED a level playing field.
Because this Kia XCeed is from the Ceed family, it shares much of the same practicality you’d find in the hatchback.
By that we mean plenty of room up front, and decent legroom across all three rear seats. If you cram three adults in the back, it will be on the snug side. But if you leave the middle seat vacant, it is much more comfortable. Rear headroom is fine for me, despite the XCeed’s sloping roof line, but taller people may find it more restrictive than the hatchback.
It’s the same story with the boot. There is actually more space in the Kia XCeed: 426 litres to be precise. That’s more than the 395 litres offered in the hatchback. And yet it doesn’t actually look as large as the hatchback, thanks to the sloping roof. And whilst there is great depth to the boot, that slope may make it difficult to load bulkier items.
To live with, there can be no complaints about the Kia XCeed; it makes for a brilliant family car. As is always the case with a Kia, there is a comprehensive specification that ensures the XCeed has the equipment to deal with whatever family life may throw at it.
Parking is a doddle, and with the bright yellow paint you won’t exactly struggle to find it either. You can even fit a tow bar, if you like. The XCeed is able to pull 1,000kg of braked trailer, which is great going for a small(ish) car with a small(ish) 1.4-litre engine.
When Kia offers a ‘First Edition’ trim, it always comes loaded with all the bells and whistles. The XCeed is no exception, featuring a comprehensive standards specification that would be the envy of some much more expensive marques.
For convenience you get keyless entry and go, automatic lights, automatic wipers, a smart power tailgate and electrically-adjustable, power-folding heated door mirrors.
Interior comfort is guaranteed, thanks to dual-zone air conditioning, heated front seats, heated outer rear seats, heated steering wheel, driver’s memory seat, all-round one-touch electric windows and an auto-dimming rear view mirror.
On the media front, the First Edition gets an 8-speaker JBL premium sound system, in addition to DAB digital radio, Bluetooth connectivity with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and voice control. There’s a wireless charging pad, and a couple of USB ports for good measure.
Don’t think that safety has been forgotten either. The Kia XCeed First Edition has blind-spot collision warning, lane keep assist, driver attention warning and intelligent speed limit information function. The First Edition also gets the most advanced version of Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, which includes pedestrian and cyclist detection.
It’s not perfect though; despite showcasing some new equipment there are still areas for improvement. The digital instrument cluster is the perfect example. Yes, it looks crisp. But the severe lack of customisation almost defeats the point. Let’s just hope Kia improves this new technology in time.
Your friends and family are guaranteed to be impressed with all the toys, and few family cars can offer this level of equipment at this price. Well except, maybe, the Kia Ceed hatchback…
Value For Money
On paper, the all-new Kia XCeed First Edition looks like exceptional value for money. Even with its comprehensive equipment list, fresh styling and SCT gearbox, it starts from just £29,525 on the road. The only available extra is premium paint, at £570, taking the price of our test car up to £30,095.
You will undoubtedly, at this point, be running out to your nearest Kia dealership. But while you’re there, and before you sign on the dotted line for the XCeed, take a look at the Ceed hatchback. Because, frankly, it offers much of the same for less money.
And, in some cases, significantly less money. For £27,935 – over £2,000 less – you can have a Ceed GT Line S model with the same 1.4 T-GDi engine and DCT gearbox. This car has a sportier appearance and virtually all of the same equipment.
Or, if you prefer your sportiness to be more than just visual, consider the 200PS Ceed GT. It has slightly fewer toys than the GT Line S, but is capable of going from 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds. The price? £26,005.
As you can see, it’s not that straight-forward. And that’s nothing against the Kia XCeed, it is a great family car and, if you want a utility vehicle, it looks more of an adventurer than the hatchback.
But it is the same platform, the same engines, and much of the same equipment. So in the real world a Ceed hatchback can do all of the same things, for less. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether the styling alone is worth the price difference for you. For us, it’s not.
Facts and Figures
|Engine||1.4-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol|
|Max power||140PS at 6,000rpm|
|Max torque||242Nm at 1,500-3,200rpm|
|Drivetrain||7-speed DCT automatic transmission, front-wheel drive|
|Fuel tank size||50 litres|
|Fuel consumption||40.4 mpg combined, WLTP|
|CO2 emissions||159 g/km WLTP|
|Towing capacity||1,000kg braked / (not stated) unbraked|
|Luggage capacity||426 litres|
|Price as tested||£30,095|