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a light green kia xceed gt-line parked on tarmac in front of a green field

Kia XCeed GT-Line S review

The Kia XCeed is one of those hatchbacks that tries really hard to be an SUV, with its chunky wheelarch cladding and raised ride height, but it’s just not quite there.  

This isn’t to say we wouldn’t have one, however, because what Kia has done with the interior and overall exterior looks is remarkable.

But would you be better off with one of its rivals, or even a regular Ceed? 

Reasons to buy 

  • Very economical petrol engine 

  • Comfortable interior 

  • Spacious boot


a kia xceed gt-line's black interiorIn recent years, Kia has been smashing it when it comes to its interiors, rivalling German brands such as BMW and Audi when it comes to overall quality and feel.

While there is the odd plastic lower down in the cabin, there's also plenty of soft-touch materials and a shiny piano black centre console, which will attract scratches like a smartphone in a bag full of knives. 

The highlight of the cabin for us is the steering wheel because it’s got superb ergonomics in terms of thickness and feel. Kia models in recent years have usually had this, notably the new Sportage. 

Sitting in between the driver and front passenger is a 10.25-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is available on all models. Our top-spec GT-Line S model also gets a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display thrown in to bring it up to date with the rest of its range.  

a kia xceed's infotainment screen showing its sat-nav softwareThe system itself is easy to use and very responsive to the touch. We like that the XCeed has so many physical buttons below the screen to control the A/C, though the touch-sensitive buttons directly below the screen aren’t as tactile as they could be. 

The seats themselves are comfortable, offering plenty of support for your lower back and a solid fit, even if you’re on the taller side.

This makes longer motorway journeys a breeze, which is aided by safety features such as lane keep assist and cruise control. 


a light green kia xceed gt-line driving on a country road in GermanyIt almost feels rare to drive a brand-new manual car these days, with buyers favouring automatic gearboxes and electric cars, but it was a refreshing experience thanks in large part to the superb gearbox. 

It’s a six-speed that’s not clunky when shifting, and it's very smooth when accelerating. To be honest, bad gearboxes don’t really exist anymore, especially for well-established brands such as Kia.

The clutch itself is weighted nicely, making every gear change a delight.

When you get up to speed on a motorway, the cabin is very quiet and well-isolated from the elements, almost reaching EV levels of silence when the engine is at low revs. 

The engine in the XCeed GT-Line S model we tested was the 1.5-litre T-GDi four-cylinder petrol, which was smooth throughout the rev range and had plenty of power at 156hp.

While this is by no means a sporty car, it can do the 0-62mph sprint in 8.7 seconds and a top speed of 129mph, which puts it on the same level as the VW T-Roc and a tad slower than the Toyota C-HR. 

All of its power is sent to the front wheels, which may come as a surprise due to its 4x4 looks. It gets there via a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearbox.

The steering itself is a classic rack and pinion setup but with electric motor-driven power steering to make it lighter and therefore easier to manoeuvre.  

a frontal aerial shot of the kia xceed driving on a roadWhen on the road, the Kia rides like you’d expect. It's got direct steering, plenty of grunt and is a pleasant overall experience.

The ride errs on the side of being too firm, which you can certainly feel over the bumpy country roads we tested it on. Its Citroen C4 rival, in contrast, offers much softer suspension. 

The added safety systems are all switched on when the engine strikes up. This is great if someone is drifting on the motorway as it’ll alert you to that fact, but if you’re driving on narrow country lanes that often require you to move around more, it can be annoying.

It’s not instantly apparent how to switch it off, and if you’re not expecting the alert, it can be a real shock to some drivers.

Once you’ve figured out how to turn it off, however, country life might be a little easier for you. 

It's got direct steering, plenty of grunt and is a pleasant overall experience


the black rear seats of a kia xceedDespite trying to be an SUV, the XCeed isn’t quite on that level and instead offers large hatchback-like storage that's still plenty for the average Joe.  

In the back, you’ll find a 426-litre boot that grows to 1,378 litres when the rear seats are folded flat. This isn’t quite as roomy as its Skoda Karoq rival but it’s decent enough for a large food shop or some suitcases. If you want a spacious Kia, you’re better off with the 625-litre boot of the Ceed Sportswagon. 

The Kia XCeed measures 4,395mm long, 1,826mm wide and 1,495mm in height, which puts it on a similar level to the Ford Focus Active and Fiat Tipo Cross. 

There are plenty of storage options throughout the cabin, including well-sized door bins and crevices for sweets, coins and your smartphone.  

Its total weight is 1,840kg and it has a maximum braked trailer weight of 1,410kg, which is enough to tow a small caravan across the country or a trailer for work. 

Running costs

a light green kia xceed gt-line parked on stone outside a glass buildingBrand-new, the Kia XCeed in top-spec GT-Line trim will set you back £30,770, which, when spread out via car finance, looks less scary.

You can, however, easily pick up a used XCeed online for around £15,000, which is a huge saving.  

If there’s one thing Kia knows how to do well, it’s fuel economy. Whether it’s a petrol, diesel or electric model, this South Korean brand knows how to deliver strong efficiency. 

The petrol model we tested has an official combined rating of 44.8mpg, averaging 39.2mpg in our testing on (mostly) windy roads.

It can do this thanks to its clever onboard technology and 50-litre fuel tank. Additionally, it produces 142g/km of CO2, which is considered low for any car. 

Other costs include insurance, which should be fairly low with the XCeed sitting between insurance groups 11 and 19.

There are also maintenance costs to consider, but because Kia is a reliable brand, you can have confidence in the XCeed.  

Every new Kia comes with a massive seven-year/100,000-mile warranty from the factory that can be passed on to subsequent owners.

If you plan on keeping a car for a long time, a Kia is always a safe bet for this reason alone. 

Written by Ben Welham

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It’s refreshing to see an ‘affordable’ family car that you can have for around £30,000.

Yes, this is still a lot of money, but when Vauxhall Corsas are costing this much, it adds a bit of perspective. 

The interior is a pleasant place to be, and the steering wheel really is one of the best in its class.

There’s also a wide range of engine options, including an even more efficient plug-in hybrid unit that offers an electric range of up to 30 miles. 

If you just need a solid and reliable large hatchback to see you through the next decade and beyond, we see no reason why an XCeed wouldn't be for you – especially with that hefty factory warranty and unusual styling. 

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