Kia XCeed

In the new Kia XCeed: partially automated driving (level 2) in the test

It’s sunny and pleasantly warm on the second IAA press day in Frankfurt. I wait patiently for my appointment at the German Kia headquarters, not far from the exhibition center. Because today I can test partially automated driving myself. It feels a bit like “coming home”. Because the Kia Ceed SW plug-in hybrid was parked in position in the lobby. And as a private driver of a Ceed GT, many things seem simply familiar.


Out and about in the new Kia XCeed

A few moments later, I take a seat. In the brand new Kia XCeed, which will be available in Germany with its coupe-like roofline from September 21. Painted in the inconspicuous quantum yellow color, I venture out of Frankfurt city traffic onto the motorway in the direction of Taunus. A large 12.3-inch HD screen shows speed like a cluster of instruments. The navigation device, which can be subdivided via the split screen if necessary and real-time traffic information is always provided via eSIM, shows me the way on a 10.25-inch screen. The next step is to test what it means to let the car drive at least a little autonomously.

Kia XCeed

Kia XCeed

Kia XCeed

Kia XCeed

Kia XCeed

Kia XCeed

Kia XCeed

Kia XCeed

Kia XCeed

Kia XCeed

Kia XCeedSource: Kia Germany

Kia XCeedSource: Kia Germany

Kia XCeedSource: Kia Germany

Kia XCeedSource: Kia Germany

Kia XCeedSource: Kia Germany

Kia XCeedSource: Kia Germany

Kia XCeedSource: Kia Germany

Kia XCeedSource: Kia Germany

Kia XCeedSource: Kia Germany

Kia XCeedSource: Kia Germany

Kia XCeedSource: Kia Germany

Kia XCeedSource: Kia Germany

Kia XCeedSource: Kia Germany

Kia XCeedSource: Kia Germany

At 120 km / h, I dare. I activate the jam assistant. On the part of Kia, it literally says in a corporate communication: “The Lane Following Assist recognizes lane markings and keeps the XCeed in the middle of the lane. In addition, it uses radar sensors to orient itself to the traffic in front and accelerates, brakes and turns while the driver monitors the environment of the vehicle. And this up to a speed of 180 km / h.

So far the theory. But how is the practice? The answer is simple. What sounds very technical is a real gain in driving comfort in real life. But the truth also includes: it feels a little awkward to take your foot off the gas and let the vehicle drive and control you – life on the edge. And then I let my semi-autonomous crossovers ride “awfully” in the direction of a truck passing in front of me.

Kia XCeed speedometer

Please stop. Brakes!

And then the moment comes. The Kia XCeed starts the braking process necessary to avoid a rear-end collision much earlier than expected. And as promised, keep your distance from the truck in front. Even with a second and third attempt, everything works as you would like it to be in road traffic. But, alas, I take my hands off the wheel. The car immediately sounds the alarm and makes it clear: don’t do that, your hands belong to the control module even in level 2 driving.

I’m off the Autobahn. In the middle of the Taunus, I would like to test whether the traffic jam assistant also delivers what it promises on rural roads. A traffic light with waiting vehicles is useful. I’m approaching 55 km / h. And in this scenario, too, the Kia slows down in due course, brakes the vehicle to a stop, and stops about five meters ahead of the waiting car without any action on my part.

On the last few meters back to Kia headquarters, I shut off the assistance systems. And then, as a bonus at the end, I notice the haptic feedback the steering wheel gives me when I get too close to the median or hard shoulder without turning on the indicator. The clearly noticeable vibrations on the steering wheel make it clear quickly: Boy, be careful, you’re not driving according to the actual rules.

Conclusion: semi-autonomous driving (level 2) – makes you want more

Yes, it was fun. I am used to driving on the North Rhine-Westphalia motorways with a cruise control system. And I don’t want to do without the convenience of an assistant who maintains speed, especially on the open road. This is clear to me over and over again when I have to drive a car without cruise control. Especially on longer trips. But what level 2 driving taught me is even more fun.

There’s no question: a little effort is needed at first to give the car the right to control while driving. But once you get used to it, the driver quickly has the feeling of gliding a little more relaxed down the road.

However, I also say: Never pay attention to very different things. Because when a multi-lane traffic light intersection opens up in front of me, in which a left turn lane complements the straight lane, it quickly becomes clear that the assistance systems are not doing 100 percent of what they are doing. supposed to do. The Kia XCeed wants me to turn left, although I actually want to follow the course of the road. But hey, I’m still there too. It’s good that my attention is still good for something.

By the way: from the beginning of 2020, the Kia XCeed will also be available as a plug-in hybrid.