We drove the Kia XCeed 1.4 T: above and beyond your expectations…

There are cars which indeed exceed what you would think of them. Such a car is the latest Kia XCeed. We know that at the moment of writing there are already hybrid and electrified versions being built and they are to be seen on the Brussels show. Just read our comments elsewhere in these columns.

Intrigued as we were about this bestselling Kia, we tested it for you in the 140 HP 1,4 litre petrol engine version, and to tell you right away, we were stunned by its mechanical refinement and smooth manners…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

This Kia XCeed has gained in style over the years, and this latest version has everything to seduce us. Its styling language has a truly European character, not surprisingly so when one knows it has been designed here in the old world. It looks good from any angle, and the proportions are just right.

This clean styling language of the crossover body is continued in the interior, and we loved it very much. Our test car came with round digital instruments for revs and speed, a large 10,8 inch central touchscreen,

and then there were the excellent and logical to use infotainment functions, dab+ radio and last but not least the very creditable JBL sound system, all this added to cabin well being and travel pleasure.

The XCeed we tested came also with a host of driving assist functions, and one can even monitor its own driver alertness.

Pedestrian recognition and warning is also provided, together with of course adaptative cruise control. The latter proved delightfully simple to use, with all relevant controls nicely nestled in the right horizontal steering wheel spoke.

The XCeed is indeed…exceedingly simple and “zen” to use, and all this is further enhanced with its impressive mechanical refinement.

The 1,4 litre four cylinder petrol engines is one of the most refined and smooth, silent engines we have come across lately, and its turbine like behaviour has to be experienced to believe it.

When driven with restraint, it is almost indistinguishable from pure electric propulsion. Its vibration free silence at low revs combined with its good overall pulling power see to that.

Also the super smooth 7 speed DCT completes the picture, with its almost imperceptible gear changes. All this makes this Kia a pleasure to drive in everyday urban traffic, and what’s more, keeping smaller throttle openings in combination with low revs delivers excellent consumption figures, and we achieved without effort a consumption of around 7 liters/100 km.

The positive picture continues on the open road. The engine remains vibration free and totally silent up to 135 km/h cruising speeds, and here the Kia reveals itself as a formidable compact Gran Turismo. Needless to say that consumption hovers here around the 6 to 6,5 litre/100 km mark. Consumption on average is quoted by the manufacturer at 5,7  l/100 km, with CO2 emissions being 130 g/km.

When it comes to outright performance, it is good to know that 0 to 100 km/h sprint is absolved in less than 10 seconds, and top speed is quoted at some 200 km/h. The XCeed can also be driven in “sport” mode, which makes it even more responsive and lively. The digital instruments also change somewhat, and the revs are now even read out in clear numbers.

Comfort and impeccable agility

But everybody knows that besides performance the way a car handles and drives on the road is even more important. For your servant, sound deadening, mechanical smoothness and silence, absence from tire roar and wind noise is crucial.

In sport mode, the instrument dial layout changes…

On these items, our Kia XCeed(s) expectations and it is definitely stunning to experience how this Kia scores just as good and even better than a noble executive car of the sixties, the Rover 3 litre for instance. A car made to absolute and exacting quality standards, which was the dream of your servant to own and drive when he was a young boy. I settled for the more sporting Jaguar MK 2, which I bought as a classic soon as I started to earn money, but the big pontoon-shaped Rover remained one of my dream cars. But back to modern times.

The clear dials are reminiscent with…

The good comfort is also due to the fact that the XCeed sits higher than its cousin, the “normal” Ceed due to a 20mm taller ride height and tyres with higher sidewalls, adding another 17mm.

The Kia handling is also predictable and precise, and it doesn’t protest when you throw it with spirit around corners. The vast experience of rally hardened chassis and suspension engineers within the Kia/Hyundai group sees to that. Just look at their i10 Hyundai rally cars and you know what we mean. Indeed, racing (still) improves the breed…

…the clarity seen in the layout of the Rover 3 litre from the sixties…

The Kia also offers good comfort. The seats are beyond reproach, offering very good support and being pleasantly firm. Indeed, we repeat ourselves, a proper Gran Turismo…

Conclusion

A well engineered and built car, which indeed XCeed(ed) our expectations in many respects. Smooth and “zen” to drive in urban conditions as well as on the open road, with high quality infotainment to match. Intuitive and simple to use, and loaded with driving and parking aids.

On top of that the 7 year/150.000 km  warranty and the very reasonable maintenance and service costs, and you understand that this XCceed is a formidable contender, offering excellent value for money with the very appealing looks too…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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