Given the success of the standard Kia Ceed, the Xceed crossover, which follows a familiar recipe of raising the hatchback’s ride-height and beefing up the looks but without really altering anything oily, was the model that Kia had to make. It proved to be the right decision, because the Ceed on stilts now outsells its more conventional counterpart.

This is an attractive crossover with better-than-average driving control and a reasonably fluid ride, but there are more frugal and spacious cars among its peers. On the other hand, it is the only Ceed derivative available as a plug-in hybrid, since the regular Ceed, Ceed Sportswagon and Kia Proceed became petrol- and diesel-only.

Few firms have embraced the cult of the crossover quite so completely as Audi, which offers an almost endless array of Q-badged models, from the entry-level Q2 through to the imposing Q8. Many versions are also offered in Sportback guises, which throw a dash of coupe styling into the mix. 

Based on the standard Q3, the Q3 Sportback features a lower roofline that adds some kerb appeal but robs those in the rear of some headroom – although the boot remains unchanged at 530-litres. Under the skin it has the same choice of petrols and diesels, plus a plug-in hybrid option and, of course, the availability of quattro all-wheel drive that’s brings enhanced traction but is still better suited to the road than the rough stuff.


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