At just shy of ￡30,000, our top-spec First Edition test car is extremely well equipped but simply too expensive to recommend. The entry-level 2 model fitted with the less powerful 1.0-litre T-GDi engine and six-speed manual is a better option if the bottom line is your chief concern. It costs almost ￡10,000 less but still comes equipped with automatic lights, air conditioning and an impressive suite of safety technology.
Mid-range 3 adds the new infotainment system, 18in wheels, heated seats and privacy glass, though the more spacious Skoda Karoq would be our preference at the price Kia asks for this trim level. It’s also worth noting that the basic Ceed, though very nearly as versatile as the Xceed, also costs considerably less than its range-mate.
Elsewhere, the case for ownership isn’t as strong as we had hoped. As discovered, the 1.4-litre engine tested here is impressively refined under low load but fails to deliver strong fuel economy, managing 47mpg at a cruise and falling to the mid-30s with a mix of everyday driving.
It is also disappointing that only top trim levels get a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. Standard versions without a safety pack have four stars owing to poor occupant protection in certain crash scenarios.