KIA has built an enviable reputation for producing cars that are beautifully designed, packed with technology and very competitively priced and the latest model boasts all those attributes and is also a headline writer's dream car.
It's called the XCeed and whilst we could bang on about ‘XCeeding' expectations or the Ceed with the ‘X' factor and perhaps even give mention to a certain Mr Kipling, the real headline grabbing news here is just how accomplished this latest arrival to the crossover utility vehicle (CUV) sector is.
Priced from £20,795 to £29,195, it is the fourth member to join the all-new Ceed family alongside the five-door hatch, three-door coupe and wagon models.
The eight-model XCeed line-up is based on four turbocharged engines, two transmissions and three trim grades called 2, 3 and First Edition.
The XCeed certainly has a commanding road presence with distinctive styling and, although the car shares the same wheelbase as the Ceed, only the front doors are carried over.
Eye catching features include an athletic stance, a long bonnet, prominent grille and larger lower air intake, ‘ice cube' LED lights topped by a slim turning signal that flows back over the wheel arches and new narrow tail lights.
There are heavily creased lines that run horizontally across the tailgate and rear bumper to give the car a wider appearance, and very smart alloy wheels.
The interior is similar to the other Ceed stablemates with a sculptured centre console angled slightly towards the driver.
A floating infotainment system has a prominent position at the top of the dashboard while the lower section of the instrument panel features touch-sensitive buttons and dials to control the audio volume, along with the climate control.
There is a wealth of technology to explore with the likes of full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, Bluetooth and a DAB radio standard across all trims.
Move up through the grades and you will see the introduction of a 10.25-inch touchscreen, a navigation system with Kia Connected Services, heated seats, an eight-speaker JBL sound system, smart park assist, a panoramic sunroof, plus a whole lot more.
The cabin has a classy feel to it with plenty of soft touch surfaces and satin chrome dashboard trim plus a yellow colour pack for First Edition models that adds black upholstery with vibrant yellow stitching on the seats and doors, yellow seat piping and a blend of gloss black and yellow highlights throughout the car.
Petrol engines come in the form of a three cylinder 1.0-litre 118bhp unit or a 1.4-litre delivering 138bhp. There are two Smartstream diesel options that are the cleanest the company has ever developed, and these are offered in 1.6-litre with outputs of either 114bhp or 134bhp.
We tried three variants and they had their own individual appeal. First up was XCeed '3' powered by the 1.6 134bhp diesel engine matched to a six-speed manual gearbox and costing £25,345.
This car could reach 60mph from a standstill in 10.2 seconds, maxed out at 122mph and could deliver combined fuel economy of 53.3mpg (WLTP) with CO2 emissions of 116g/km.
Kia believes the 3 trim level will be the most popular and it is a car that's fully loaded with all the on-board infotainment systems imaginable. It also has the classy touchscreen and a cabin that feels very upmarket.
When it comes to performance, the XCeed is beautifully balanced and the road holding is very assured. It accelerates effortlessly through the gears and quickly reaches national speed limits on motorways where it cruises along in near silence.
The slightly elevated driving position results in good all-round visibility and all the dials, controls and readouts are ideally positioned for ease of use.
The XCeed is agile and easy to manoeuvre in busy town centres with nice light steering, but is just as content showing off to its full potential when powering down the faster country lanes.
The cabin is bright and spacious with ample room in the back for a couple of passengers provided the front seats are not pushed back too far.
Next up was the all-singing, range-topping First Edition model which is only available with the 1.4 petrol engine, with either manual or seven-speed DCT automatic transmission. We opted for the auto gearbox, making this the most expensive XCeed in the range at £29,195.
The yellow body and interior trim were greeted with mixed opinion. I liked it and thought it looked pretty exclusive, but other people felt it was a little too garish.
But one thing we agreed on was the performance of the car. The engine was punchy, the gearbox smooth and the handling slightly sharper than its diesel counterpart.
The 0-60mph sprint time is faster too at 9.2 seconds with a top speed of 124mph, but the fuel efficiency is lower at a combined 40.4mpg with carbon emissions of 134g/km.
This auto version also features a drive mode with Sport or Normal settings and they alter the steering and throttle responses accordingly.
Finally, we took a spin in the entry level XCeed '2' powered by the 1.0-litre engine.
This car, priced at £21,045, performs well enough but lacks the refined interior quality of the other models. There is a smaller touchscreen and more basic equipment levels. That said; the three-pot engine was fun to drive and the power levels were good even if the engine sounded quite raspy when pushed hard.
Any family car needs to provide good storage options and the XCeed does just that with a boot capacity of 426 litres that increases to 1,378 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. First Edition models feature 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats along with a powered tailgate.
Safety features are comprehensive across the XCeed line-up with the likes of Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go, Forward Collision Warning with pedestrian and cyclist detection, Blind-spot Collision Warning, Smart Parking Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, High Beam Assist and Lane Following Assist which controls acceleration, braking and steering by tracking vehicles and road markings ahead to keep the car in-lane and a safe distance from any cars in front.
All XCeed models are covered by the best warranty in the business of seven years or 100,000 miles.
Kia claims the XCeed offers the space and practicality of an SUV with the sporty packaging and handling of a hatchback making it quite the comprehensive all-rounder. And with news that a plug-in powertrain will follow in early 2020, there will be an XCeed model to suit all tastes, and that is headline news.