By Mike Torpey on 2020-12-12 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Kia XCeed 1.4 T-GDI
WHERE once the nation's roads were populated largely by hatchbacks of various sizes, we now have an obsession with SUVs as car buyers continue to migrate away from traditional models.
But what if you really wish to stand out from the crowd, hanker for more emotion, spirit, vitality - and a bit more flamboyance?
The answer could lie with the new Kia XCeed, an urban crossover with serious low-slung style but that also seals the deal for practicality.
Officially described as an urban crossover utility vehicle, the XCeed is the fourth and latest model to join the Korean manufacturer's popular Ceed family that already includes hatchback, estate and the ProCeed Shooting Brake.
They are all smart, well designed offerings that radiate a sense of wellbeing - the Xceed just raises that feeling a notch higher.
Up for grabs in an eight-model range, it is based on four engines, two transmissions and a trio of trim grades with prices starting at £20,840 and topping out at £29,525.
While the three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine powering the entry level XCeed is proving understandably popular with buyers due to a combination of efficiency and performance, our tested variant featured the more powerful 1.4-litre turbo unit.
This engine, which develops 138bhp, brings added punch to the party yet can still return close to 40 miles per gallon. It's that sporty nature that really sets this model apart from many of its rivals.
Both mild hybrid diesel and plug-in hybrid petrol options are also on their way while those, like fleet customers, still leaning towards diesel power can opt for Kia's new 1.6-litre Smartstream oil-burner that's already accounting for a significant proportion of sales.
The XCeed may sit on the same wheelbase as the hatchback model on which it is based but it is actually three inches longer - and you can tell with just a glance.
Combined with a slightly raised ride height it's a real eye-catcher and while many may shy away from certain shades, the Quantum Yellow - a standard colour - has a really upmarket lustre to it.
With more practical issues in mind there are 1,378 litres of space available with the rear seats folded - half decent in anyone's book and significantly more generous than its Ceed hatchback stablemate.
And the cabin, which in the case of our top spec First Edition model looks striking with arty yellow stitching throughout, has a new-look instrument panel with a larger display screen.
This car proved lively and enjoyable to drive over 200 miles of mixed urban and major roads, the T-GDI (Turbocharged Gasoline Direct Injection) engine responding well to the seven-speed DCT automatic gearbox which comes as standard with this variant.
Having both Sport and Normal driving modes in auto models available at the push of a button is also convenient, though the former tends to prove a bit revvy for town or city driving.
But whether you go for a base spec 2 grade or opt for 3 or First Edition, the amount of kit included is extensive.
Everything from cruise control with speed limiter, electric windows, air con and alarm to keyless entry, alloy wheels, LED projection headlights and tinted glass come as standard.
That's in addition to safety kit like blind spot alert, lane keeping aid, reversing camera, driver attention monitor and anti-collision braking.
Kia XCeed 1.4 T-GDI First Edition
Mechanical: 138bhp, 1,353cc petrol engine driving front wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 124mph
0-62mph: 9.2 seconds
Combined MPG: 40.4
C02 emissions: 159g/km
Bik rating: 36%
Warranty: 7yrs/100,000 miles
Choose from one or more of the options to find the car for you.
Based on your search find the dealership
nearest to you.