WHILE it's always nice to be able to have the top-of-the range in anything it's not always necessary to stretch your budget when it comes to buying a new car.
Time spent recently in the entry level model of the new Kia XCeed proved just how much you can get even when you set your sights slightly lower.
While the flagship XCeed model carries a price tag of more than Â£33,000 the Kia XCeed TGDi "2" version is good value at more than Â£10,000 less.
Okay you lose out on some of life's little luxuries which the higher grades get but the "2" is still very well equipped and has the same stylish bodywork, the same interior space and is powered by the same engine as the rest of the range with the exception of the plug-in hybrid.
It boasts the same 0-60 acceleration time of 8.7 seconds, the same top speed of 129 miles per hour and is even fractionally more economical.
Last year the whole XCeed range underwent a bit of a makeover to freshen it up and make it more appealing.
The latest models now boast LED headlights - which really are very good - revised front grille, bumpers and air intake.
And now the fog lights have been incorporated into the headlights it has made space to build in air curtains on either side of the car to guide air smoothly around the wheels to reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency.
There have been a few changes at the back too and the rear lights also get LED efficiency while the triple crease lines in the rear section make the car look wider and more stable.
Sit inside and there's no entry level feeling here. The cabin is smart and tasteful with elements of brushed metal contrasting nicely with the black interior to lighten the overall effect.
The dials in front of the driver are clear and sharp as is the centre-set eight-inch touch screen with its integrated reversing camera - but no satellite navigation - and everything feels well put together.
You get a manual handbrake rather than the electric one on the higher spec models - a feature some people prefer - and a slick six-speed manual gearbox.
Throw in automatic dipped/main beam headlights, cruise control with speed limiter, air conditioning, electric windows all round and a whole raft of safety features like lane assist, hill start assist and pedestrian and cyclist detection and it soon becomes obvious that you are getting plenty of bang for your bucks.
With a relatively high seating position and raised ground clearance compared to a conventional hatchback the XCeed offers a viable alternative to the more conventional SUV.
The suspension is slightly softer than on the Ceed hatchback - seven per at the front and four per cent at the rear - to improve comfort and stability and while there is some body roll the low centre of gravity it boasts tends to eliminate a lot of it.
Keep the revs up and the 1.5-litre turbocharged engine delivers when you need it. Conversely it's impressively quiet during normal cruising in traffic although it painfully doesn't like second gear when manoeuvring at low speed and you often have to change down unexpectedly.
That apart this best seller of the Ceed range does exactly what it says on the tin at a sensible price.