If the design, ergonomics and credible dynamics of the most recent Kia Ceed demonstrate that Kia should now be considered alongside any other European maker of mass-market hatchbacks, then the Xceed is the derivative perfectly tailored to the current tastes of European buyers.
And if that sounds like an exaggerated claim, consider this: half of car sales in the mammoth compact segment are now accounted for by crossovers of some description.
The Xceed is therefore the car Kia would clearly be foolish to leave on the drawing board, and it duly ticks the boxes buyers in this class are looking for. Namely, the raised ride height and toughened-up styling cues but with C-segment dimensions, which remain manageable compared with mid-size SUVs such as Kia’s own Kia Sportage.
Shortly, we’ll assess whether the Xceed has character to match strong credentials on paper, but it’s also important to appreciate how important this model is for Kia’s European business. The Korean brand is still a growing force over here, with its own factory in Slovakia and a design centre in Frankfurt that better allows it to tap into the specific tastes of local markets.
Like so many rivals, however, in the coming years Kia will need to electrify its line-up with battery-electric and plug-in hybrid models, and at a time when buyers remain sceptical of the benefits such technologies can bring them.