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Kia Ceed family review

Kia invites Tim Barnes-Clay to catch up with the latest Ceed family.

The Kia ProCeed GT-Line.

The Kia ProCeed GT-Line.

You have probably heard of the Kia Ceed and its siblings, the Ceed Sportswagon, XCeed and ProCeed.

What you may not realise is they’re all different versions of the same car, broadening the appeal of the original Ceed. Therefore, those who want more space, style or an SUV are catered for.

In a nutshell, the Ceed is a five-door family hatchback, rivalling the likes of the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf, while the Ceed Sportswagon is an estate. The ProCeed is a shooting brake with a rear like the Mercedes-Benz CLA, while the XCeed has a higher ride-height and rugged SUV styling, competing with Volkswagen’s T-Roc.

The range uses a mixture of 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre turbo-petrols, mostly with manual gearboxes. That said, a handful of automatics are available, while a 1.6-litre auto is exclusive to the ProCeed. The diesels are all 1.6-litre automatics and offer mild-hybrid technology, although the ProCeed offers an all-petrol line-up.

The XCeed is the only plug-in hybrid available, featuring a 1.6-litre petrol engine (141PS, 31g/km CO2; 36-mile all-electric range).

The combination of petrols and diesels available depends on the vehicle and trim level. How Kia decides which engines it offers with which trim isn’t intuitive to figure out, though. Instead, it is challenging to choose because there's so much choice. As if giving the nod to its own complication, Kia starts the trims from '2' at entry-level, while some cars ignore the numeric sequencing altogether.

The Ceed and Ceed Sportswagon offer near-identical trims, with 16-inch alloys on the ‘2’, along with air conditioning, voice-controlled Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You also get lane-keeping assist, an eight-inch touchscreen, a DAB radio, a reversing camera, cruise control and a speed limiter. Meanwhile, the XCeed crossover SUV offers much the same, plus LED lights.

The Ceed Sportswagon has a '2 NAV' trim, basically the same as '2' but with a bigger 10.25-inch touchscreen and sat nav. Trim ‘3’ offers the same on both Ceed and Sportswagon models and adds 17-inch alloys, rear parking sensors and rain-sensing wipers.

On the XCeed, you can choose a 'Connect' trim, including the bigger screen and sat nav. It also encompasses a sliding central armrest, powered lumbar support in both front seats, an electric parking brake, powered door mirrors, 18-inch wheels, and premium paint. The ‘3’ trim adds heated front seats, a smart key, and an engine start/stop button. Kia also offers an exclusive ‘4’ trim. This grade adds a 12.3-inch digital instrument display, premium sound system, aluminium pedals, panoramic sunroof, powered tailgate, smart park assist, wireless phone charger and heated outer rear seats.

The ProCeed gets some exclusivity, too, offering GT-Line at entry level. This trim boasts 17-inch alloys, a leather heated steering wheel, heated front seats, the larger touchscreen with sat nav and a start/stop button. Meanwhile, the GT-Line S includes 18-inch alloys, a digital display, smart cruise control, a premium sound system, and a blind-spot collision warning. A powered tailgate and smart park assist are also part of the deal. In addition, the top-of-the-range GT adds in LED bi-function headlights. The Ceed is the only other model to offer a GT-Line, which largely mirrors the same trim in the ProCeed.

As you can see, the entire new Ceed family is well-equipped, with a generously sized screen and sat nav if you avoid the entry-level in most models.

The interiors of all of them are virtually identical – pleasant but not incredibly premium, while the larger infotainment system is clear and user-friendly. They all have comfortable seats, while headroom is decent in the front and back, although they don’t offer a vast amount of legroom.

Boot capacity in the Ceed is 395 litres (1,291 litres with the rear seats down). The XCeed offers 426 litres (up to 1,378- itres; 291 up to 1,243 litres in the hybrid). The ProCeed has 594 litres (up to 1,545 litres), and the Ceed Sportswagon provides 625 litres (up to 1,694 litres).

To drive, there are inevitably many similarities, but all of them have their own distinct personalities.

The 1.0-litre petrol (120PS, 54.3mpg, 119g/km CO2) has adequate performance. But the car needs you to be generous with the accelerator pedal to get anything out of it. The 1.5-litre (160PS, 49.6mpg, 129g/km CO2) is better at speed but also needs a decent shove of the right foot to get going. That is not the case with the 1.6-litre diesel (116PS, 58.9mpg, 126g/km CO2), which accelerates well from a standing start.

The 1.6-litre petrol (204PS, 41.5mpg, 153g/km CO2), available only on the ProCeed, is the superior engine, though. It offers decent torque from a standing start and plenty of grunt across the rev range.

The seven-speed automatic is smooth, while the six-speed manual is a tad clunky. The auto often doesn’t change down when you floor it, though. Furthermore, it’ll change up before it approaches the rev limiter, regardless of what you do with the paddle shifters.

In terms of drivability, the Ceed is reasonable, though not class-leading. And choosing smaller wheels makes it more comfortable over bumps, while it has decent steering and good handling. The Ceed Sportswagon is very similar, though not as fun to drive.

The XCeed is more comfortable, thanks to dampened suspension, but not quite as good to drive around corners. This is due to a raised ride height which causes more body roll in the bends. However, it still has decent handling, although those prioritising the driving experience will want to stick with the Ceed hatchback. The plug-in hybrid is decent (and quiet), but you lose a lot of boot space because of the batteries.

Kia’s ProCeed, meanwhile, is set up more for performance and has a firmer ride. As a result, the car is arguably the most exciting of the lot, especially in the top-of-the-range GT trim. This grade has a toughened-up suspension setup, but it comes at the expense of ride comfort. It is also quite expensive for what it is, while it’s not as agile in the bends as the Ceed.

All models come with Kia’s excellent reliability, along with a seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty.

The ProCeed is undoubtedly the most desirable motor in the Ceed family, but it doesn't offer enough to justify buying it over the Sportswagon, which is considerably cheaper. Meanwhile, the basic Ceed is sufficiently practical for most people’s needs as it offers more boot space than a Volkswagen Golf and a Ford Focus.

The XCeed offers a slightly bigger boot than the Ceed, but it’s only suitable for those who specifically want that 4x4 feel without committing to a full-on off-roader.

Overall, the entire new Ceed family is decent, practical, reasonably comfortable, reliable and quite decent to drive – and very underrated on the whole.

However, there are better alternatives for those seeking thrills and performance.

About the Author

Tim Barnes-Clay

Tim Barnes-Clay is a motoring journalist. He test-drives the latest cars and attends new vehicle press launches worldwide.