Aside from that, the updated Xceed feels like a Kia from a few years ago, both in positive and negative ways.

The interior looks a bit plain next to the new Sportage and Niro, but it’s well made with soft-touch materials in the right places and you can’t argue with the ergonomics: It has all the buttons you could wish for, there’s lots of adjustment in the driving position, and the sports seats in the GT-Line S are very comfortable. The standard items aren’t bad, but the top trim might well be worth the upgrade for high-mileage drivers for the seats alone.

As always with Kia and Hyundai, the infotainment system is excellent despite its lack of wireless functionality for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. On the practicality side, the Xceed has a big boot with a movable floor, and space in the back is fairly generous for a family hatchback.

Unfortunately, the Xceed doesn’t quite exhibit the dynamic polish of Kia’s best efforts. It rides quite firmly and crashes through potholes. Sticking with the 16in wheels of the lower trim levels takes the edge off but isn’t a cure and they make the car look rather under-wheeled. And anyway, most people will want the extra equipment of the higher grades.

The Xceed is no hot hatch in the corners either. It steers pleasingly enough, but you don’t get much of a sense of where the grip ends and it feels a touch unstable, with the rear end feeling softer than the front. When pushed, it can sloppily lurch sideways on a trailing throttle before the stability control catches it.

Thankfully, the chassis mostly settles down on the motorway, and Kia’s assisted driving features feel fairly mature. Annoyingly, blindspot monitoring is reserved for the top trim level, and you can’t have adaptive cruise control on Xceeds with a manual gearbox.


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