In a similar fashion to its Proceed sibling, the Xceed arrives as a bold signal of Kia’s continued mission to be perceived as a bona fide upmarket brand. In many ways, this new compact utility vehicle hits that brief: its Stinger-esque front end and sharp creases give it the looks; it’s incredibly well equipped; and cabin design and quality have gone from strength to strength. It’s tough not to admire the once humble marque’s lofty ambition and determination in this respect - but it’s not quite there yet.
That’s because the Xceed is still stumbling over pitfalls that have tripped its relations up in the past, and that you’d hope a near ￡30,000 car would simply skip over. The 1.4-litre T-GDi engine is quiet and refined during low-stress running but can’t quite conjure the meaningful performance and outright flexibility you’d ideally like. Meanwhile, its handling is secure and flowing but fails to really engage meaningfully. And while it rides with reasonable fluidity at pace, it can struggle at lower speeds and on poorer surfaces.
But for these few niggles, the Xceed remains a likeable, recommendable crossover hatchback - if not an outstanding one.