Kia XCeed, Mazda CX-30 & VW T-Roc in the test

Kia XCeed, Mazda CX-30 & VW T-Roc in the test

What an audacious gathering we had, reunited once again in 2022. Among Germans, hiking ranks as the sixth most popular pastime. It stands proudly amidst the more daring activities, such as computer games (5th place), puzzle-solving (4th place), dining out (3rd place), photography (3rd place), shopping (2nd place), and, increasingly intrepid, gardening (1st place).

The X variant reigns supreme as the most sought-after version of Kia’s Ceed. Surpassing the Mazda 3 in sales, the CX-30 takes the lead. Moreover, in 2022, the T-Roc emerged as the favored choice over the Golf, marking its popularity as a new car in Europe. These SUVs are now in the spotlight for comparison.

What does this signify? It demonstrates that the world cannot be fully expounded through bar charts and statistics alone. While the desire for an SUV or crossover primarily arises from recreational aspirations rather than necessity, this does not diminish the customers’ enthusiasm for these vehicles.

Presently, three models dominate the market: The X variant has already held its position as the most popular Ceed version at Kia, even prior to its facelift. Mazda continues to outsell the 3 with its CX-30, and the T-Roc, as a new entrant, triumphed over the Golf in Europe in 2022. Now, let’s delve into the tests: the XCeed and T-Roc confront each other with turbocharged dual clutch systems, while the CX-30 boasts a naturally aspirated engine paired with a manual transmission.

Kia: rebirth honest

Soft pink is now available from the Geli company in Michelbach, starting this year. Unlike XCeed, Geli is the company that introduced the groundbreaking “garden watering can with shower head attachment” back in 1961. This iconic green watering can, well-known among hobby gardens, is ingeniously crafted from a single plastic tube, a design that has remained unchanged for countless pots they have produced. They have always introduced new colors, without compromising the perfection of the original design by unnecessary tinkering.

In a similar vein, Kia has adopted the watering can principle in the construction of the XCeed, resulting in a remarkably astute approach. This approach ensures that the success achieved thus far is not jeopardized. Astonishingly, the fundamental configuration remains unchanged, which is a rarity when it comes to model refreshes. Just like before, the XCeed boasts a length that is 8.5 cm longer than the hatchback. The front portion contributes 2.5 cm to this extension, while the rear adds six centimeters, expanding the trunk volume by an impressive 31 liters. Furthermore, the “X” variant of the XCeed measures 4.8 cm longer than the Ceed. Additionally, Kia offers the option to increase the ground clearance by two centimeters using a set of springs, a feature they claim enhances its visual appeal even further.

The Kia XCeed 1.5 T-GDI is equipped with a 160 horsepower engine and generates 253 Nm of torque. Its dimensions measure 4.40 meters in length, and the trunk capacity ranges from 426 to 1,378 liters. During testing, the fuel consumption averaged 7.6 liters per 100 kilometers. The starting price for the XCeed is 30,290 euros.

Undoubtedly, one of the most noteworthy aspects of the Xceed is its exceptional user-friendliness, which remains unchanged. Kia has equipped the GT line, as customary, with a wide array of support systems and additional conveniences, including online navigation. The interface is intuitively designed, especially considering the inclusion of practical functions such as seat boosters, volume and navigation buttons, and rotary knobs. While climate control lacks the tactile feel found in some models (we’re looking at you, T-Roc), it still functions effectively.

In terms of seating, Kia has fitted the XCeed with robust sports seats in the front and a comfortable bench in the rear. The three-part folding backrest and height-adjustable floor in the trunk offer versatile cargo management options. Moreover, the XCeed includes numerous storage compartments, excellent LED lighting, and generous space, all of which enhance its practicality in everyday life.

For some customers, the driving experience may be of secondary importance when compared to XCeed’s outstanding practicality. Kia’s commitment to maintaining its cheerful character is commendable. However, it must be noted that XCeed’s performance on the road is somewhat lackluster. With feedback steering, it handles corners adequately but lacks precise responsiveness. If pushed too hard, it tends to understeer. The XCeed refrains from engaging in the subtle wrestling match at the rear during load changes. It only becomes slightly more spirited when accelerating out of bends, accompanied by the growl of the engine and the occasional screech of the wheels as power is unleashed.

The 1.5-liter engine delivers its excitement primarily at the start. It provides an energetic acceleration, accompanied by an audible roar. The seven-speed transmission quickly reaches 4,000 revolutions, typically occurring in Game mode, which also offers an enticing additional feature. In Comfort mode, the transmission shifts early, smoothly, and with attentiveness, ensuring a swift and satisfactory journey. This is precisely what one would expect from a 160-horsepower engine. Surpassing expectations, the XCeed achieved a test consumption rate of 7.6 liters per 100 kilometers. Despite the higher price point, Kia remains an affordable option in the long run, thanks to the seven-year warranty and navigation updates. Does the XCeed stand a chance of winning? Absolutely! It ticks all the boxes.

Mazda: drives everything differently

The German language possesses a remarkable characteristic, expressing “resoluteness” rather than “personal ignorance.” However, the seemingly illogical choice of Mazda’s vehicles becomes coherent when examined holistically. Engineers have never fully embraced the concept of turbocharging gasoline engines, instead dedicating their efforts to refining the two-liter vacuum cleaner engine.

This innovative 13:1 advanced direct injection engine adeptly operates on both one and four cylinders during low-load conditions, exhibiting optimal performance in a robust 24-volt hybrid configuration. This intricate system incorporates a starter generator that imparts 5.1 kW/48 Nm of power. The energy harvested from this generator through regenerative braking is efficiently stored in a modest 0.216 kWh lithium-ion battery, a particular preference of Mazda.


Mazda CX-30 2.0 M Hybrid: 150 hp, 213 Nm, length 4.40 m, jacket 430-1,406 l, test consumption 7.1 l/100 km, from 27,690 euros.

The generator’s capacity and power would be surpassed by the efforts to enhance the combustion engine, which is why E-Werk opts to decelerate the petrol engine and assume the responsibility of powering the onboard electronics during acceleration phases. This way, the four-cylinder engine expends less of its power on propulsion.

To achieve acceleration beyond the turbos, the engine, equally responsive, must eagerly rev. Fortunately, it excels in this aspect, making the longer gear ratios of the six-speed gearbox tolerable. Shifting gears becomes a breeze, allowing for easy, swift, and precise adjustments to match the desired driving style—a necessary step towards experiencing the joy of handling. Alongside the smooth and precise steering, this also involves skillfully managing rear load shifts with a happy, audacious, yet controlled approach. Although the suspension setup is firm, it adequately handles the demands but lacks complete mastery over body movements.

Is it fully controlled? What’s that? Have you driven a CX-30? It shies away from the touchscreen entirely—besides, the monitor is too small for effective use—and instead relies on rotary controls. The intuitive nature of this interface becomes evident immediately, in stark contrast to the sluggishness of the volume control.

Now let’s delve into the details. In order to enter through the narrow gates, a high level of agility is recommended—a level that can be expected from individuals who partake in yoga as a hobby. Once inside, two adults find themselves seated on an inclining bench. However, the experience improves significantly during forward travel. The trunk also offers ample space, expanding smoothly without any noticeable variations.

Mazda has shrewdly extended the warranty period to six years. Furthermore, the CX-30 boasts a lower price compared to similarly equipped Kias and exhibits the lowest fuel consumption rate at 7.1 l/100 km. Does the CX-30 have what it takes to emerge victorious?

VW: Aiming high is its objective.

One might argue that VW has already secured its victory. It is evident in this comparison, given that the T-Roc has successfully dethroned the Golf with a mere difference of 9.1 cm in length on the new registration. They claimed it would stay indoors, and indeed, the T-Roc does it rather well. In terms of positioning, not much has changed with the 2021 facelift, except for a few minor tweaks: improved support, brighter lights and colors, and, well, better performance. However, navigating the touchpads for climate control, the perplexing buttons on the steering wheel, and the bewildering infotainment system requires a penchant for puzzle-solving if one hopes to find any redeeming qualities in them.

Why dwell on these shortcomings for so long? Firstly, they are irksome, and their annoyance only amplifies with familiarity. Secondly, there isn’t much else to criticize about the T-Roc.

VW T Roc

VW T-Roc 1.5 TSI: 150 hp, 250 Nm, length 4.24 m, trunk 445-1,290 l, test consumption 7.2 l / 100 km, from 33,070 euros.

Despite its compact dimensions, Volkswagen excels in creating additional space within the vehicle. Passengers in the comfortable rear seat may find limited legroom, but the generous width compensates for it, leaving them content. The trunk, spacious and well-designed like its counterparts, offers a clever extension feature by folding the passenger seat into the cockpit, which adds further value to the overall package. Additionally, the entrance, shelves, and panoramic view from all sides seamlessly blend together, creating a harmonious and well-fitted interior.

The drivetrain is another area where Volkswagen shines. It achieves a level of success comparable to Mazda while retaining the capabilities of Kia. The dual-clutch transmission flawlessly shifts through its seven gears, occasionally displaying its speed-oriented nature. However, for a more engaging driving experience, manually shifting gears or engaging the game mode is the preferred option. This enhances the characteristics of the adaptive controls (available for an additional 1,045 euros) and provides precise handling, particularly when paired with the standard R-Line package.

The chassis may feel slightly uncomfortable in “Sport” mode but offers a more pleasant ride in “Comfort” mode. While navigating bends, the T-Roc might feel a bit underpowered. Hence, the “Normal” mode strikes the best compromise for country road driving, ensuring a comfortable journey without compromising on confident and agile handling.

The T-Roc stands out in terms of safety features, lighting systems, and its array of modern auxiliary tools. As a result, it easily secures its position as a top-rated vehicle in terms of overall property value. Despite its higher price tag, approximately 4,000 euros more than its rivals, it surpasses them with a comfortable lead. Some may find the price surprising for a Volkswagen, but we must acknowledge the triumphant victory it achieves. It reminds us of a universal truth embraced by all aspiring gardeners: only the resilient persevere and thrive in their gardening endeavors.

Opinion poll

Yes, of course!

Not more!


2. Mazda CX-30
549 points

Technical specifications

Kia ProCeed 1.5 T-GDI GT Line Mazda CX-30 G 2.0 M Hybrid 150 Selection VW T-Roc 1.5 TSI R-Line
Base price €33,990 €31,190 €37,530
External Dimensions 4605x1800x1422mm 4395x1795x1540mm 4236x1819x1584mm
Trunk volume 594 to 1545 l 430 to 1406L 445 to 1290L
Shift / engine 1482 cm³ / 4 cylinders 1998 cc / 4 cylinder 1498 cm³ / 4 cylinders
Performance 118 kW / 160 hp at 5500 rpm 110 kW / 150 hp at 6000 rpm 110 kW / 150 hp at 5000 rpm
High speed 210km/h 198km/h 207km/h
0-100km/h Sec 8.6 9.1s 9.0s
Consumption 5.8L/100km 5.1L/100km 7.2L/100km
Use of the test 7.4L/100km 7.1L/100km 7.2L/100km