Have you seen the television advert for the new XCeed? I have and thought “uh oh”. The car itself appears on screen just a handful of times, in rapidly edited shots, with the main focus instead on the two fellas running around, in what looks like a competition to get to the car first. Either way, a car advert with so much emphasis on lifestyle isn’t a good sign, even if that’s how most are nowadays.
After seeing the advert a few more times, an email arrived with the subject ‘New Long Term Car’ and as coincidence would have it, a Kia XCeed was inbound. Then, proving things tend to come in threes, a week later I found myself photographing a new XCeed at the UK launch event in Berkshire. I was impressed with its looks ‘in the metal’, and after the last photo was shot, there was the chance to have a spin in the diesel version. I wasn’t going to pass that opportunity up, especially knowing I’d be getting a sneak preview of the car I’d be spending the next six months in.
When ‘our’ XCeed arrived a few weeks later I christened it ‘B. A. Baracus’ thanks to its LG69 FWL number plate – as in “I pity the fool – FWL”. And, sticking to my long-termer rules, I’d abstained from any research into the car – apart from that short jaunt – to avoid any preconceptions. My first proper drive would be from the south coast back home to Birmingham, perfectly acquainting me with the car I’d be spending the next few months traversing the motorway network in. I took notes, and there were several “hmms” and even a few “ooohs” as I poked around.
Reading the DieselCar reviews later – we’ve tested the XCeed both abroad and in the UK – and one thing that stuck with me was the sentiment that increased climate change awareness could see large, bulky SUVs become less popular, and that the smaller, sleeker XCeed could be perfectly positioned to take up the slack. You might not be able to see over hedges like in a Sportage, but there’s still the fashionable styling and much of the function SUVs offer.
Our XCeed is in the highest ‘3’ trim that UK buyers can get paired with an economical diesel engine, in its highest output of 134bhp. I’m also glad it has a manual six-speed gearbox. The Diesel engine offered in the XCeed is the company’s latest and cleanest, a 1.6-litre unit replacing the old 1.7- that powered many Kia badged cars before it. It exceeds (pun very much intended) by some margin, the strict limits of the latest Euro 6d-Temp emissions standards, making it reassuringly future-proof in terms of emissions zones.
It’s a shame the UK doesn’t get the choice of the top First Edition with a diesel engine, as that would spoil us with goodies such as a panoramic sunroof, an upgraded JBL sound system and digital instruments. They’d be nice to have, but we’re hardly scratching around for equipment with the ‘3’ grade. It comes with the same 18-inch alloy wheels as the First Edition – which look great – and also dual-zone climate control, heated front seats and steering wheel, and an excellent 10.25-inch touchscreen featuring Kia’s Connected Services. So far I’ve worked out this includes weather reports for where you are, or where you’re headed for, if you have a route programmed into the navigation system. Oh, and there’s LED headlights standard throughout the range, and ours are also automatic on the ‘3’ grade.
So, after jumping to conclusion about the XCeed solely from the television advert and finding it distinctly mediocre, have my opinions changed after driving it? You’ll have to stay tuned and find out from my future reports.
Date arrived 12th April 2019
Fuel economy 53.3mpg (WLTPcombined) 47.9mpg (on test)
Two USB chargers up front.
But it’s a family car with no USB chargers in the back.