Kia XCeed review

Kia XCeed

It’s time to get back behind the wheel of Kia’s popular XCeed compact crossover, which has just been treated to a facelift…

The XCeed is an important car for Kia in the UK, accounting for 10% of the South Korean company’s sales in the country during 2021, and more than half of all Ceed family sales over the same timeframe.

Just to recap, the XCeed is longer and taller than a standard Ceed hatch, and features a higher ground clearance and driving position, bigger wheels and a more rugged look.

The makeover brings a fresher exterior design, more kit and a new ‘GT-Line S’ trim level.

Kia XCeed

The design tweaks are subtle. Outside, there are updated LED head and taillights, a revised front grille and bumpers, plus new colours such as Sprint Green.

Interior upgrades are harder to spot, but apparently the lower portion of the instrument panel has been redesigned, with touch-sensitive buttons, dials and switches that control the audio volume, heating, and ventilation systems.

Meanwhile, the choice of engines is now between a 1.5-litre turbo petrol and a plug-in hybrid.

Priced from £23,395 to £32,995 for the PHEV, the XCeed line-up now consists of ‘2’, ‘3’ and ‘GT-Line S’ trim levels with GT-Line S replacing the old range-topping ‘4’ model.

Kia XCeed

Entry-level 2 grade comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, and 4.2-inch driver instrument cluster. There’s also a reversing camera system, cruise control, speed limiter, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, plus safety systems such as collision avoidance assist and pedestrian/cyclist recognition.

The 3 adds 18-inch wheels, privacy glass and LED indicator lights on the door mirrors. Inside, there’s a 10.25-inch touchscreen, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, along with front seats that are heated and have electrical lumbar adjustment.

The range-topping GT-Line S gets a 12.3-inch driver’s digital display, plus a 10.25-inch central touchscreen. Other goodies include special 18-inch wheels, a bespoke body kit, a panoramic sunroof, black leather and suede seats that are heated front and rear, a powered tailgate, an upgraded JBL sound system and a wireless phone charger.

The interior is perfectly decent, but compared to newer Kia models, such as the Niro, Sportage and EV6, it looks dated up front where there’s a curvy instrument binnacle and separate centre touchscreen instead of the merged panoramic, dual 12.3-inch screens.

Kia XCeed

That said, the XCeed’s infotainment system is a perfectly good and intuitively laid out display, while the interior itself is well put together with plenty of soft-touch surfaces.

The driving position is comfortable and there are no complaints in the visibility department.

There’s ample space in the cabin for adults front and rear. Boot capacity is 426 litres with the seats up and 1,378 litres with them folded down, though the PHEV’s boot is smaller at only 291 litres (1,243 litres in total).

We tested the plug-in hybrid and petrol versions of the new XCeed.

Kia XCeed

The entry-level 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engined car (badged T-GDI) develops 158bhp and can sprint from 0-60mph in 8.7 seconds (top speed 129mph).

Economy is up to 44.8mpg, while CO2 emissions are 143g/km. Drive sensibly and 45-48mpg is quite possible.

The engine itself is punchy, but vocal when pushed. That said, it settles down nicely on the motorway, while the six-speed manual shifts well.

The steering is light and accurate, body lean is well controlled and overall the XCeed is agile and delivers a decent drive.

Kia XCeed

Some may find the suspension a little on the stiff side and it’s not the most sophisticated of rides on poorer surfaces, but it feels planted and it’s more dynamic than you might think.

The PHEV combines a 1.6-litre petrol with a 8.9kWh battery and electric motor (producing a combined 139bhp) mated with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

With a top speed of 99mph, it takes 10.6 seconds to sprint to 60mph and offers up to 30 miles in electric-only mode.

In theory it can return as much as 200mpg. The reality is that your economy will depend on your journey lengths and whether you keep the battery charged up.

Kia XCeed

Drive with the battery depleted on longer journeys and you’re looking at closer to 40mpg.

Crucially, especially for business users who get tax benefits, tailpipe CO2 emissions are just 32g/km.

The XCeed PHEV is generally more refined than its ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) sibling. The hybrid system itself is smooth and switches between petrol and electric, and vice versa, almost seamlessly.

It feels planted on the road and zips along surprisingly swiftly in Sport mode, while the six-speed auto box is particularly slick.

Kia XCeed

Yes, you heard right, the XCeed PHEV isn’t afflicted with a CVT gearbox like most plug-in hybrids, so no high-revving din under heavy acceleration.

More comfortable than sporty, spirited drivers will find body lean well controlled in more challenging corners.

It’s also worth noting that the XCeed PHEV can (unusually for a car of its size and type) tow a braked trailer of up to 1,300kg.

Verdict: The refreshed Kia XCeed is better than ever. Whether you go for a straight petrol or the plug-in hybrid version, it’s more comfortable than engaging, but still a great all-round package. Add the affordable price and generous seven-year warranty and it’s no wonder it’s been selling so well.

Kia UK

All-new Kia Niro named 2023 ‘Car of the Year’

Gareth Herincx

2 days ago
Auto News

Kia Niro Hybrid (

The latest version of the Kia Niro has been named the best new car on sale by leading car buying advice website Carbuyer.co.uk.

The Niro, which is available with a choice of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully-electric powertrains, scooped no fewer than three of the 18 categories on offer.

Carbuyer’s judges could hardly believe the transformation Kia has made with this second-generation Niro. Editor, Richard Ingram, said: “Our favourite small family car, our top hybrid, and of course our overall Car of the Year, the fabulous new Niro builds on everything we loved about the old one, but with sharper styling, and a cutting-edge interior.

“It remains a practical, efficient and easy to drive family car – with a powertrain to suit all buyers. The Kia Niro is a most deserving winner of our 2023 Car of the Year award.”

Kia wasn’t the only Korean manufacturer to make a splash at this year’s Carbuyer Best Car Awards. The Hyundai Tucson – Carbuyer’s overall Car of the Year just 12 months ago – was awarded Best Family Car, while the Hyundai i20 N scooped Best Hot Hatchback for the second year in a row. Finally, the SsangYong Musso was awarded the Best Pickup prize thanks to its strong value, practicality, and generous kit list.

Carbuyer Car of the Year 2023 winners 

Carbuyer Car Of The Year Kia Niro
Best Small Car Skoda Fabia
Best Small Family Car Kia Niro
Best Family Car Hyundai Tucson
Best Large Family Car Skoda Kodiaq
Best Estate Car Skoda Octavia Estate
Best Small Company Car Cupra Born
Best Company Car BMW i4
Best Sports Car BMW 2 Series Coupe
Best Convertible Car MINI Convertible
Best Hot Hatchback Hyundai i20 N
Best Hot SUV Cupra Formentor
Best Pickup SsangYong Musso
Best Small Electric Car Fiat 500
Best Family Electric Car MG ZS EV
Best Large Electric Car Nissan Ariya
Best Hybrid Kia Niro
Best Plug-in Hybrid Mercedes C 300 e
Best Large Plug-in Hybrid Lexus NX 450h

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Kia Niro review

Kia Niro Hybrid (

We test drive the Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid and EV versions of the all-new second generation Kia Niro…

The Niro compact crossover is an important car for Kia. After the slightly larger Sportage, it’s the South Korean brand’s second most successful model.

A genuine game-changer when it was launched in 2016, it was available with self-charging hybrid, plug-in hybrid or 100% electric powertrains and offered practicality, peace of mind and economy at an affordable price.

Fast forward six years and more than 70,000 have been sold, while 55% of all Niro sales are fully electric. In fact, the e-Niro was the UK’s second best-selling EV in 2021.

The success of the all-electric version especially was no surprise, given the value for money it offered, plus that 282-mile range.

Kia Niro Hybrid

Now it’s time for the second-generation Niro. Again, there are hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric versions, and this time round it’s slightly bigger (65mm longer, 20mm taller and 10mm wider) and the interior features a higher proportion of sustainable and recycled materials.

Pricing starts at £27,745 (Niro Hybrid), followed by the Niro Plug-in Hybrid (£32,775) and the popular Niro EV from £34,995. Note, it’s no longer badged ‘e-Niro’.

There are three trim levels (‘2’, ‘3’ or ‘4’) and a choice of eight colours, with top spec ‘4’ models offered with an eye-catching two-tone paint option which features the C-pillar in contrasting Steel Grey or Black Pearl, depending on the chosen body colour.

Naturally, there are differences in spec and equipment between the trim levels, but as standard you get goodies such as LED headlights, rear parking sensors and camera system, a touchscreen display with DAB radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus driver assistance technologies such as Forward Collision Avoidance with car, pedestrian and cyclist recognition and junction crossing – and Smart Cruise Control.

Kia Niro Hybrid

Top-of-the-range ‘4’ grade models get a head-up display, twin 10.25-inch touchscreen, an instrument cluster display, heated rear seats and ventilated front seats, a power operated tailgate, electric sunroof, an uprated Harman Kardon premium sound system, driver’s side memory seating, and front passenger lumbar support.

There’s also Remote Smart Parking Assist, Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist and PU vegan leather seat coverings, containing Tencel from eucalyptus trees.

The all-new Niro EV combines a 64.8kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack and a 201bhp electric motor.

Torque is rated at 255 Nm, and it can accelerate from 0-to-62 mph in 7.8 seconds. More importantly, an electric driving range of 285 miles is claimed.

Kia Niro Hybrid

Recharging from 10-80% takes as little as 45 minutes – up to nine minutes quicker than the outgoing model.

In colder months, the system uses navigation-based conditioning to pre-heat the battery when a charge point is selected as a destination, which helps shorten charge times and optimise battery performance.

The Niro Hybrid has a 1.6-litre petrol engine paired with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. There’s also a 43bhp electric motor and small 1.32kW battery, delivering a combined maximum power output of 139bhp.

It can accelerate from standstill to 60mph in 10.4 seconds, fuel economy is up to 64.2mpg, while CO2 emissions are 100g/km.

The Niro Hybrid (and Plug-in Hybrid) also feature a new ‘Green Zone’ drive mode, which automatically switches to electric power based on location guidance from the navigation system, driver patterns, or manual selection by the driver.

Kia Niro Hybrid

Expected to be popular with business users because of its low CO2 emissions and tax benefits, the Niro Plug-in Hybrid uses the same 1.6-litre engine as the Hybrid, a larger 11.1kw battery (it takes about 2.5 hours to charge it at home) and an 83bhp electric motor, producing a combined 180bhp and 265Nm of torque.

Crucially, it has an electric-only driving range of up to 40 miles – more than enough to complete the average daily commute in the UK.

The Niro Plug-in Hybrid can cover the 0-60mph sprint in 9.4 seconds, CO2 emissions are just 18g/km, while fuel economy could be as high as 353mpg (in theory).

Whichever version you go for, the new Niro is a much bolder looking crossover than the outgoing car with angular design cues and a hint of the larger Sportage. And those sharper looks continue to the rear corners which feature high-set upright boomerang-shaped lights.

The smart interior is attractive, and well designed, with twin 10.25-inch displays giving the dashboard a wow factor. Featuring slick, sharp graphics, the infotainment system is intuitive to use – something of a Kia trademark. Broadly speaking, the quality of the cabin, in terms of materials used and build quality, is good, but it won’t worry premium rivals.

Kia Niro Hybrid

There’s a real feeling of space and plenty of leg and headroom for adults in the back, while luggage capacity varies depending on the model chosen. For the record, the Plug-in Hybrid has 346 litres, the Hybrid gets 451 litres, and the EV boasts 475 litres. Flip the rear seats and you get 1,342, 1,445 or 1,392 litres.

You sit quite high in the comfortable seats so there’s a commanding driving position. Visibility is generally good, but those chunky rear pillars leave a bit of a blind spot.

The three versions of the Niro each have their own character. Naturally, the Niro EV is the smoothest and most refined of the trio.

It’s swift without being gut-wrenchingly quick like some other electric cars. And for a crossover with no performance SUV pretensions, it handles well (with the accent on comfort). Sure, there’s some body roll if it’s pushed, but it’s well controlled and it generally feels planted.

There’s good traction through the front wheels, while the all-round grip is impressive. There are various drive modes, and you can also adjust the level of brake energy recuperation using paddles behind the steering wheel. It’s worth playing around with them, but we found the normal/mid settings worked best for us.

Kia Niro Hybrid

The Plug-in Hybrid is refined too, unless you floor it and the petrol engine kicks in. Drive sensibly and the transition between electric and petrol, and vice versa, is much smoother.

There’s more than enough performance on tap for everyday driving and it works well with the six-speed automatic gearbox. Obviously, EV mode is a joy, if not as quick as it’s pure electric sibling.

With a firm suspension and sharp steering, it’s a lively performer and more agile than you might think, but as with the EV, it’s at its best cruising along.

The lethargic full Hybrid is the most disappointing version of the Niro. It’s not a bad car, but its shortcomings are apparent when it’s tested alongside the PHEV and EV models.

Not only is it down on power compared to its siblings, but the six-speed automatic gearbox can be tiresome. It’s fine at city speeds, but can become hesitant on faster roads, meaning the engine is more vocal, resulting is a far less relaxed driving experience.

Kia Niro Hybrid

On the plus side, it will slip into EV mode for short bursts in stop-start traffic or when manoeuvring, CO2 emissions are low, and the fuel economy is comparable.

The Hybrid has a slightly softer ride than the PHEV, and again is easy to drive. Just don’t push it.

The Niro hasn’t been tested for safety by Euro NCAP, but we’d expect it to get a maximum five stars (like the Sportage and EV6) because it’s packed with driver assistance and safety technology.

Finally, the Niro comes with a large dose of peace of mind because, as with all Kia cars, it comes with a generous seven-year warranty.

Verdict: The all-new Kia Niro family-sized crossover is a step-up from its predecessor, offering a winning blend of good looks, space, safety, practicality, generous equipment levels and comfort.

Kia UK

Toyota Yaris Cross review

Toyota Yaris Cross review

We test the chunky crossover version of Toyota’s fuel-efficient Yaris…

Since childhood, we have been told that practice makes perfect. We have learned that nothing is achieved or improved without hard work and repetition. As the great golfer, Gary Player, once said: “The harder I practice, the luckier I get.”

All manufacturing and technical companies focus on one aspect of their general operations so that they become expert and gain a certain reputation that attracts clients who have confidence in their products and services.

Toyota Yaris Cross review

Car companies are no different. For example, Porsche’s cars are dynamic to drive with supreme build quality, while Skodas are spacious and deliver great value for money.

Toyota is known for many things – and hybrid technology is right up there. The Japanese giant was the first to launch a mainstream model that combined petrol and electric drive with the Prius in 2000 (UK debut). What’s more, it’s been able to use that knowledge and expertise gained over the years to constantly improve the system and apply it to a broader range of models.

Toyota Yaris Cross review

The highly successful Yaris supermini has become a hybrid-only car since its last major update in 2020 and combines a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with a small battery and electric motor.

Now, to compete in the currently popular small SUV sector, Toyota has launched the Yaris Cross, which has the same chassis and powertrain, but rides higher and has an off-roader look.

The electric motor produces up to 79bhp and the maximum output for petrol and electric combined is 116bhp. The gearbox is an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) and drive is through the front wheels.

Toyota Yaris Cross review

There will be a four-wheel drive option in due course but you will pay an extra £2,360 for the benefit. The range offers five levels of trim and equipment – Icon, Design, Excel, Dynamic and Premiere edition.

However, even the base Icon has keyless entry, Apple CarPlay, 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear camera, climate control and adaptive cruise control.

My test car came in Design trim with a ticket price of £24,140 and added LED lighting, 20:40:20 folding seats and 17-inch alloys, though the slightly bigger 9.0-inch infotainment screen (usually 8.0-inch) was an extra £500.

Toyota Yaris Cross review

The Yaris Cross looks smart and the bodywork boasts the usual rugged black plastic wheel-arch extensions and raised ride height shared with other small SUVs. If anything it’s more baby RAV4 than big Yaris.

The interior is basically the same as the new Yaris hatchback, which means that it’s clear, functional, modern and features the latest technology.

Rear space is pretty good for two with average knee room, but would be a push for three adults. The boot is roomy at 397 litres (expanding to 1,097 litres with the rear seats flipped down). A raised and flat false floor is available on higher trim levels.

Toyota Yaris Cross review

So how does all this cutting-edge hybrid technology work on the road? Is it smooth in operation and does it provide decent fuel economy?

Well, the clever electronics ensure that the Yaris runs on pure electric power up to 30mph until the battery runs out or you need extra acceleration. It then transfers to hybrid drive and the change is seamless. Engine noise is suppressed and the CVT transmission works well, as long as you don’t floor the accelerator, at which point the revs shoot up.

A dashboard display tells you how much electric driving you are doing and the state of the battery. I found that this encourages a gentler driving style which can only benefit economy.

Toyota Yaris Cross review

In fact, despite an officially quoted fuel consumption of 55-60mpg, I managed to get an indicated 70mpg on a particular varied run without too much trouble. Impressive stuff. The handling is pretty good and the steering is sharp, though some may find the ride is on the firm side.

Overall, it would be wrong to call it a dynamic drive, but then it’s not designed for that. Buy the awesome GR Yaris if you want serious fun.

So, job done for the boldy styled, spacious new Yaris Cross, which works as a good value, fuel-efficient commuter or small family car.

Test Facts

  • Toyota Yaris Cross 1.5 VVT-i Design
  • Body: Five door SUV
  • Engine: 1.0 litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol / electric hybrid
  • Power: 115 bhp
  • Torque: 120 Nm
  • Top Speed: 105 mph
  • Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 11.2 secs
  • WLTP combined mpg: 54.3 to 64.1 mpg
  • CO2 emissions: 102 g/km
  • Range priced from £22,515

Toyota UK