CAR buyers are facing a mind-boggling number of decisions today.
Do you go for a diesel power or petrol? Should your purchase be a self-charging hybrid or a plug-in? Is it to be a hatchback or a saloon? Or maybe an SUV is better than either?
Well, Kia has come up with a possible answer to that last conundrum in the shape of the new XCeed which is a sort of middle-ground between a traditional hatch and a full cream SUV.
With a rather coupe-styled profile, the mid-size XCeed is, to most eyes, one of the better looking cars around with balanced proportions and sharp lines that help it stand out from the herd.
Based on the Ceed hatchback with a similar wheelbase, it is however slightly longer as well as being taller. The extra inches benefiting boot space rather than going into the cabin.
Don't be fooled by the raised ride height - 44mm higher to be exact - and the beefy wheel arch cladding, this is a road going crossover with front drive and no option of four wheel drive.
Three engines are offered, the car reviewed here having the most powerful, a 1.4-litre, 138bhp petrol which despatches the 62mph sprint in a respectable, if not dramatic, nine seconds.
The top of the range First Edition comes with just about every trinket you could wish for - heated front seats, reversing camera, panoramic glass opening sunroof, electric heated door mirrors, power tailgate, sat nav, DAB radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are included in the sub-Â£30,000 price tag.
A six-speed manual gearbox is standard issue but the seven-speed dual clutch automatic fitted to the car we drove gets full marks for taking the effort out of gear changing without sacrificing anything in terms of driving enjoyment. Ratios are switched with slick and seamless ease, but it's a shame it doesn't come with steering wheel paddles.
The cabin is stylishly finished, although the black leather seating with yellow stitching to match the exterior colour may prove a tad garish for some tastes. There's plenty of soft touch plastic around which lends a luxury feel to proceedings.
On a practical note, the need for stowing oddments and clutter is well catered for with a central bin and numerous pockets and bottle holders. The boot itself is generously proportioned and can soak up 426 litres of cargo, and 1,378 litres when the rear seats are folded.
From a driving point of view the XCeed strikes a happy compromise between relaxed, refined travel and the punchy, raciness of a hot hatch. Brisk enough for nippy overtaking but never raucous or over-demanding of the driver, most owners will be please with the balance reached.
With 18-inch alloys shod with low profile rubber, cornering is capable and tenacious although the XCeed lacks a degree of delicate poise possessed by some rivals.
Driven hard - an easy habit to get into - economy sinks to little over 32mpg, but a more gentle right foot can easily produce around the 40mpg mark.