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Kia XCeed Hybrid Review

The Kia XCeed plug-in hybrid looks quite cool, comes with lots of standard kit and should be cheap to run if you charge it up regularly. But it struggles a bit for space in the back and in the boot.

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6/10
wowscore
This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
With nearly 60 years of experience between them, carwow’s expert reviewers thoroughly test every car on sale on carwow, and so are perfectly placed to present you the facts and help you make that exciting decision
after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Super-cheap to run
  • Extremely quiet in EV mode
  • Loads of standard kit

What's not so good

  • Really small boot
  • Cramped rear-seat area
  • Prett slow in a straight line

Kia XCeed Hybrid: what would you like to read next?

Is the Kia XCeed Hybrid a good car?

The Kia XCeed Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) is a small SUV for those who don’t want to look like they own a small SUV, and it’s great in the city because it can run on electric power alone for quite a few miles.

Unlike the VW T-Cross and Skoda Karoq, the Kia XCeed looks like a conventional family car that’s put on a pair of hiking boots and bought a practical backpack. It comes with some chunky black bumper protectors, raised suspension and contrasting trims that mimic the skid plates you see on full-blown off-roaders, but – like the Ford Focus Active – its rounded body bucks the SUV trend for hard edges and square silhouettes.

Step inside and this trend continues. Despite the slightly raised view out, the XCeed’s interior looks and feels almost identical to the Ceed hatchback’s. Sure, you can’t get any wild orange decals like in the T-Cross, but all the XCeed’s buttons are laid out sensibly, the plastic trims feel pretty solid and you get a decent infotainment system with smartphone mirroring built-in as standard.

The Kia XCeed doesn’t really stand out in terms of passenger space, either. Yes, there’s a decent amount of space in the front with a fair amount of seat adjustment, but adults will find the back seats pretty cramped and you can’t fit as much in the Kia XCeed’s boot as in the VW T-Cross and Skoda Karoq.

XCeed looks like a rugged hatchback but in reality it'll be more at home in the city.

Mat Watson
Mat Watson
carwow expert

Kia XCeed Plug-in hybrid range and charging

The petrol plug-in hybrid model is worth considering if you’ve somewhere convenient to charge it — do so and you’ll be able to drive for as much as 36 miles on electricity alone. Talking of charging, you’ll be able to charge it from empty to full in three hours from a three-pin plug, and only a little over an hour if you invest in a 7kW wallbox.

Sadly, the Kia XCeed PHEV isn’t particularly exciting to drive. Sure, it doesn’t lean a great deal in sharp corners and it has plenty of grip, but it can’t match the agility or comfort of the Ford Focus Active.

That said, the Kia XCeed’s light controls make it pretty easy to drive in town and it comes with a good range of standard safety features to help keep you safe.

If you’re looking for a small SUV that prioritises safety over sportiness, the Kia XCeed is well worth considering, but bear in mind that there are plenty of comfier and roomier alternatives out there that are worth test driving too.

See how much you can save on your next new car by visiting our Kia XCeed deals page or rear on for our in-depth interior, practicality and driving review sections.

How practical is it?

There’s no doubting the quality and robustness, but space is in short supply.

Boot (seats up)
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Boot (seats down)
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The Kia XCeed Plug-in Hybrid isn’t a great deal roomier than the Ceed hatchback on which it’s based, but its raised suspension and taller roofline does make it slightly easier to climb into.

Tall adults will have no issues with head- or shoulder room in the front and the driver’s seat gets a wide range of seat and steering wheel adjustment to help you find a comfy seating position. Even 3 trim brings electric lumbar adjustment (to help prevent backache on long drives) as standard, while range-topping First Edition models also get a memory function.

The news is a little less positive in the back seats. Headroom is good, but two adults in the back will find knee room a little tight if they’re over six-foot. Adding a third adult in the rear middle seat will make things even less comfortable on longer trips.

Models without a panoramic glass roof feel a little dark and dingy in the back and the raised windows don’t give children a great view out. That said, at least three kids have a decent amount of space to stretch out and it’s pretty easy to lift a child seat through the back doors and lock it in place using the standard Isofix anchor points. You will have to slide the front seats forward slightly to fit a bulky rear-facing seat, however.

The Kia XCeed might not be the best for carrying adults in the back, but at least its numerous spacious storage bins mean you won’t have trouble keeping its cabin looking neat and tidy. The front door bins are big enough to hold a 1.5-litre bottle and there’s enough space under the central armrest and in the roomy glovebox for a few bulky valuables.

You get two sizeable cupholders in the front and there’s a pair of extra cupholders built into the folding rear armrest. The rear door bins aren’t quite as cavernous as those in the front, but they’re still big enough to hold a 1.0-litre bottle and you get a set of seat-back pockets, too.

At 291 litres, the Kia XCeed’s boot is tiny, and well behind those of the VW T-Cross and Skoda Karoq.

Still, the XCeed’s boot has good access and a powered tailgate comes as standard on range-topping First Edition models. There’s a slight lip to lift bags over, the boot’s square shape makes it easy to pack in plenty of boxes or suitcases.

The 3-spec XCeed PHEV’s rear seats can be split in a 60:40 configuration and then folded down flat, while First Edition models come with a more practical 40:20:40 split – great for sliding longer items through from the boot between two rear passengers.

What's it like to drive?

At its best in the city when you can use EV mode, but you have to make sure you charge it as much as you can.

The Kia XCeed Plug-in Hybrid blends a 1005hp four-cylinder 1.6-litre petrol engine with a 35hp electric motor.

It’s no ball of fire, covering the 0-60mph dash in 10.6 seconds and topping out at 99mph. Still, those figures are put in the shade by the average economy figure of 201.8mpg and CO2 emissions of just 32g/km, which makes the XCeed a great company vehicle.

It can also cover up to 30 miles in electric mode alone, so with the right charging facilities available, this could be the cheapest model to run.

A six-speed manual gearbox comes as standard, and this isn’t quite as slick as the manual boxes you get in some alternatives.

Don’t expect to be blown away by the way the XCeed drives. Like many of its alternatives, it has plenty of grip and doesn’t lean too much in corners, but the emphasis is on comfort rather than cornering.

That said, while the Kia XCeed’s raised suspension feels fairly smooth at speed, it does get caught out over some sharper bumps and potholes at lower speeds in town. A Volkswagen T-Cross and Skoda Karoq both feel more competent at ironing out the same bumps.

At least the Kia XCeed PHEV’s good turning circle, light steering, decent forward visibility and standard reversing camera make it a doddle to drive in town. And, on the motorway where bumps are less of an issue, the XCeed also feels nicely planted and doesn’t wander about its lane. There’s little wind or road noise to disturb the peace, either.

Speaking of motorways, you get cruise control as standard to take the sting out of long stints behind the wheel, and top-spec First Edition cars fitted with an automatic gearbox also come with adaptive cruise control that’ll maintain a safe distance between you and other cars.

Lane-keeping assistance also comes as standard, alongside automatic emergency braking. The latter comes with pedestrian and cyclist detection as standard.

What's it like inside?

There’s certainly plenty of standard kit, but the style of the exterior doesn’t make it inside.

Next Read full interior review