KIA has gone up in the world. The once bargain basement brand is now bought on image as much as affordability. More so, in fact, given that this once cheap-and-cheerful marque is now simply cheerful. Cheap has long gone out of the window.
That’s not to say they are expensive. You get what you pay for and motorists on a tight budget look at Dacia, now Lada has vanished and Skoda has new airs and graces. Kia is occupying the space once dominated by Volvo as a safe, sensible brand. The Swedes are now chasing the premium customer.
Back to Kia, though. Recent models such as Stinger have appealed more to fun more than our quest for a bargain.
Kia has just notched 502,845 across Europe – the first time it has passed the half-million mark. Much of the growth is down to Ceed, but new niche models like the Xceed tested here have played a part.
Xceed is an interesting car. Is it an estate? An SUV? A 4x4? A coupe? Well, Kia call it an urban crossover.
It is good-looking – as most Kias tend to be – and neat. It is the fourth member of the Ceed range.
It could be called a Compact Utility Vehicle and it is a body style that is increasing in popularity, and one that bridges the gap between the hatchback and SUV. It has a higher ground clearance, is 85mm longer and 43mm taller than the Ceed hatchback, however, with its sloping roofline it sits lower than an SUV, giving it a dynamic and more distinctive look.
It is quite a sporty ride for a crossover – quick, stable and balanced – with a decent amount of space front and rear.
It is also a well-connected car. At the heart of XCeed’s dashboard is Kia’s new 10.25in widescreen panel. It is featured as standard on ‘3’ and ‘First Edition’ grades.
The ‘3’ comes with 18in alloy wheels, privacy glass, electric and heated, wide, folding mirrors and a window ‘defogger’.
There’s a new navigation system, black cloth and part faux leather seat upholstery, heated front seats and steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, an electric parking brake and, as well as a smart key and button start.
Kia’s seven-year warranty is an excellent selling point. It’s another reason not to ignore ignore Kia.
Kia Xceed '3'
Price: £24,485. Entry level model is £19,975
Engine: A 1.6 litre diesel engine
Transmission: Seven speed automatic
Top speed: 122mph
0-62mph: 10.2 seconds
CO2 emissions: 116g/km