Kia XCeed revealed, sporty compact C-SUV alternative

Kia has officially revealed the Kia XCeed, bits of which were teased previously. Part of the European C-segment Kia Ceed range that includes the Ceed five-door hatchback, Ceed Sportswagon and ProCeed five-door shooting brake, the XCeed will be made alongside its stablemates in Slovakia for the continent.

So, what exactly is the Kia XCeed given that the Korean brand already has the Stonic B-SUV, Niro range (hybrid, plug-in hybrid, EV) and Sportage C-SUV? Well, Kia calls it an urban crossover utility vehicle (CUV) that’s a “sporty alternative to traditional SUVs”, combining compact SUV practicality with the sporty packaging and engaging handling of a hatchback. Like the Subaru XV and Volvo V40 Cross Country, perhaps.

“The XCeed addresses the growing desire for cars which offer more emotion and dynamism than an SUV, both in terms of the way a car looks and drives. Yet these customers don’t want to lose the practicality that a larger car offers them. Our new CUV meets these needs. Merging the strengths of both hatchback and SUV, the XCeed offers something refreshing and different for European consumers,” explains Emilio Herrera, COO of Kia Motors Europe.

Designed at Kia’s European design centre in Frankfurt, the Kia XCeed won’t be mistaken for any of its siblings – in fact, the top hat is almost 100% unique; only the front doors are shared with Ceed five-door hatch.

The car’s relatively long bonnet flows into the A-pillars anchored aft of the front wheels, giving the car a silhouette that can be called sporty and swept-back. While the 2,650 mm wheelbase is standard Ceed, the XCeed’s front and rear overhangs are extended over the five-door hatch by 25 mm at the front and 60 mm at the rear. It’s also 26 mm wider than the Ceed.

A steeply-angled fastback tailgate, and a rear ‘deck’ trailing edge which sits 60 mm higher than that of the Ceed, enhances the CUV’s dynamic cab-rearward appearance. Kia calls the shape coupe-like. We won’t go so far, but it does look very good and far from upright like a standard SUV. There’s a choice of 16- or 18-inch machined aluminium alloys, as seen here. The big wheels are paired with Continental SportContact 5 tyres.

The face of the XCeed also differs from the rest of the Ceed range. There’s a more prominent grille and larger lower air intakes. The headlamps are new, with the Ceed’s ‘ice cube’ LED signatures sitting within a more angular shape, topped by a slim turn signal that flows back over the front wings. No shared lights at the back, which has heavily-creased lines running horizontally for an impression of width.

The XCeed’s ground clearance is 174 mm on 16-inch wheels and 184 mm on 18-inch wheels, a rise of up to 42 mm over the Ceed hatchback. Wheel arch and side sill cladding and silver roof rails give the car some SUV flavour, with the metallic valance in the rear bumper enhancing the ‘rugged’ effect.

The new model will be offered in a choice of up to 12 exterior colours, with this new Quantum Yellow shade that is unique to the Xceed within the Ceed range.

Inside, the XCeed carries over the dashboard of its Ceed sisters, with a sculptured centre console oriented slightly towards the driver. With a lower hip point than a taller SUV, and raised ground clearance over a conventional hatchback, Kia says that the XCeed provides drivers with a sportier driving position, while also allowing a better view of the road ahead.

Unique to the CUV is a new yellow pack for the interior, with black upholstery contrasted with vibrant yellow stitching for seats and doors, yellow seat piping, and a blend of gloss black and metallic yellow highlights throughout the cabin.

Sitting between the Ceed five-door hatch and the Sportage, the XCeed still manages to provide comparable interior space and luggage capacity to Europe’s best-selling SUVs, Kia says. At 4,395 mm, the XCeed is 85 mm longer than the Ceed and 90 mm shorter than the Sportage. Its height of 1,490 mm is 43 mm above the Ceed and 155 mm below the Sportage. The hip point for each seat is raised by up to 42 mm over the Ceed, making it easier to step in or out.

The above-mentioned longer rear overhang brings a longer boot, and cargo volume is is rated at 426 litres, 31 litres more than the Ceed. Fold the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats down and this grows to 1,378 litres. There’s also a powered tailgate and a two-step boot floor that reveals a hidden underfloor compartment.

Under the hood, Europeans can choose from a three T-GDi turbocharged petrol engines, starting from a three-cylinder 1.0L with 120 PS/172 Nm. Next up is a four-cylinder 1.4L with 140 PS/242 Nm, and a 1.6L with 204 PS/265 Nm, as found in the Ceed GT and Proceed GT.

On the diesel side, there are two Smartstream units – they’re the cleanest diesel engines ever produced by Kia, and the most fuel efficient in the range. The 1.6L oil burner is offered with either 115 PS or 136 PS. Except for the manual-only base petrol option, all engines can be paired with a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed double-clutch transmissions. Idle Stop & Go is standard.

As with other models in Kia’s range, electrified powertrains, including 48V mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid options, will be available for the XCeed in early 2020.

The press release focuses a fair bit on driving dynamics. Kia says that its European engineering teams set out to deliver a mature ride and engaging handling character in all conditions, and that the XCeed has been driven across a wider range of road surfaces than any previous European-developed Kia model. With tests in Germany, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and other nations, the handling character of the CUV is truly European, it is said.

The brand is promising a more engaging compared to a typical SUV due to the XCeed’s bespoke suspension tuning, smaller footprint, lower centre of gravity and reduced overall mass. The fully-independent suspension is shared with the Ceed range, but with ground clearance up by 42 mm, Kia has softened the front and rear spring rates by 7% and 4% respectively for better comfort and stability.

Cruising comfort is also enhanced by the adoption of a new dynamic damper for the rear cross-member, further quelling road noise and structural vibrations. Unique to the XCeed in the Ceed family are hydraulic rebound stoppers on the front axle. The rubber bump-stop floats in hydraulic fluid within the shock absorbers, providing a compliant ride over poor surfaces. It also contributes towards more responsive steering and improved overall body control, while reducing suspension noise over bumps.

Production will start in August in Slovakia and first deliveries will happen in Q3 2019. The Kia XCeed looks good and sounds rather impressive, but unfortunately for us, this model is made in Europe for Europe.

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