The technical base for the Xceed is the five-door hatchback, and it shares that car’s 2650mm wheelbase. Kia says only the front doors are carried over and rest of the body is new, including the windscreen and sloping roofline.
The new body is 85mm longer and 26mm wider than the hatchback's, thanks to extended front and rear overhangs that increase the length of the Xceed to 4395mm. Kia hopes these dimensions will put the Xceed in a different class from big-selling small SUVs such as the Nissan Juke and its larger sibling, the Qashqai.
Kia, of course, has to position the Xceed between its £15k Stonic small SUV and the £19k Sportage family SUV. “There is growing desire for cars that offer more emotion and dynamism than an SUV, yet these customers don’t want to lose the practicality offered by a larger car,” said Kia Motors Europe chief operating officer Emilio Herrera.
To give the Xceed a little more rough ground-covering ability and raise the driving position to improve visibility and in/out access for the driver, the ride height is pushed up by 42mm to create 174mm of ground clearance. This also raises the Xceed’s roofline to 1490mm – just a few millimetres lower than successful small SUVs such as the Fiat 500X and Audi Q2.
With the higher ride height and the dynamic handling target, Kia has re-engineered the suspension using some unique components and a bespoke set-up. Kia said the target was to deliver “a mature ride and engaging handling character in all conditions”.
The front axle features new hydraulic rebound stoppers, the front springs are softened by 7% and the rear springs by 4%. The steering is carried over from the hatchback, but it's retuned to give quicker initial response and a slightly lighter feel.
Kia claims the retuned steering, together with the chassis changes, endow the high-riding Xceed with similar handling dynamics and roll control as the Ceed hatchback. Refinement, meanwhile, is said to have been improved by a new dynamic damper for the rear crossmember.
Kia says that the interior “carries over the cabin architecture of its Ceed stablemates” with an optional upgrade to a fully digital 12.3in instrument cluster – a first for Kia. Five engines will be on offer – three petrols and two diesels, all taken from the rest of the Ceed range.
The range starts with a three-cylinder turbo 119bhp 1.0 petrol and moves up to a four-cylinder turbo 138bhp 1.4. A 201bhp 1.6 from the Ceed GT is available in other markets but Autocar understands this isn’t destined for the UK for the time being. The diesels are both 1.6 capacity in outputs of either 114bhp or 134bhp.