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Saturday, December 31, 2022

Work to start on final phase of town centre traffic schemes


* Plans for the final phase of the town's traffic scheme.

Work is due to start on January 9 on the final phase of the traffic schemes which have reshaped the town centre over the past couple of years.

Affecting the junctions of the A5 with Castle Street and Hall Street/Hill Street, the work by contractors for the county council, which is delivering on behalf of the North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agent, is scheduled to last for six weeks and will include:

Three new signalised crossings will be created. Two of these will be on the A5, one from the front of number 4 Berwyn Street to the side of the Armoury, and the second from the front of M’Eating Point to the front of the Welsh Methodist Chapel. The third crossing will be on Castle Street, near the A5 junction, running from the side of the chapel to the front of the shop opposite.

All three crossings will have red coloured tactile paving at either end.

The priority of the junction of Hall Street and Hill Street will be amended, with the existing island there being removed. A new uncontrolled crossing, with buff coloured tactile paving at each end, will run between the Armoury and the Grapes.

There will be a new stop-line position marked on the A5 in front of the junction.

A new asphalt footway construction will run along the Armoury side of Berwyn Street between the Hall Street/Hill Street junction to the small road at the side of M’Eating Point.

Contractors will use four car bays on the Hall Street car park and three long coach bays on the Market Street car park to set up their works cabins. 

Friday, December 30, 2022

Cat Meade gives more details of her 'living nightmare' in Spain

* Cat Meade, left, with son Connor and her mother in Benidorm.

Cat Meade, who is stranded in Spain along with her mother and young son Connor after the older lady took ill on a Christmas holiday, has posted her latest social media update on what she's started to call her "living nightmare".  

Learning of their plight on Facebook friends back home have started a Gofundme page to help, which has so far attracted donations totalling over £1,100 of its £2,500 goal.

Yesterday evening an upset Cat wrote: "Good news! Mum got discharged today, allowed back to hotel with the oxygen (as I sourced as requested by her doctor).

"We have a 'fit to fly with oxygen and no nurse required'. We were delighted, got mum back to hotel and settled, so happy just to be out and doing great.

"Three hours later the insurance call and say they advised the hospital not to discharge to hotel with oxygen .... so further neglect in that case. I'll speak about that another day. 

"I have approval from hotel and oxygen supplied by a professional, which the hospital told me to source.

"Insurance say I had to take her back to hospital! (melt down). I questioned why, as the doctor discharged her and I have a 'fit to fly ...'

"Very rude insurance lady told me they need her in hospital until they decide on pay out, not the doctor. My mum has been in hospital for seven days, chest clear and they discharged. Week or so or more before insurance decide. Really?

"I've called the British Consul here and been for second opinion, they all tell me we can fly, as long as we have oxygen and the longer we stay the more unlikely they pay. And are racking up daily fees for us.

"I feel we are being held captive over insurance and money. We all need to get home and its been a living nightmare.

"I want everyone to know about this and when I get home and get my head back in the game I'm taking this further. For now I'm taking control and getting us on the next flight, will fight insurance when home, I'm not being held captive!"

* Cat's page is at: 

Latest local roadworks update from county council

Latest local roadworks update from Denbighshire County Council is:




A539 Stryd y Castell CASTLE STREET 05/01/2023 05/01/2023 Gwaith ar Gyrbau / Kerbing Works DCC STREETSCENE LLANGOLLEN Goleuadau Traffig Dros Dro/ Temp Traffic Lights


Thursday, December 29, 2022

MG EV highlights cold hard fact of electric car ownership

MG ZS EV drive by Steve Rogers

What a year it has been for MG.

Sales edging 50,000, a phenomenal 63.3 per cent up on 2021, and a string of awards for their value for money models shows how far the iconic British marque has come since its resurrection by the state owned Chinese company SAIC.

And here is one of its stars, the ZS EV, a family sized electric SUV that, like the rest of the MG range, has shaken up the car industry and shown that you do not have to pay a fortune for an electric car. 

That said 30 grand is a big chunk of money even if it is less than the opposition, and the Government has made it a bit harder by scrapping the plug-in car grant.

So why is the ZS seemingly such good value for money? There are electric cars that come close on price like the Vauxhall Mokka, Peugeot 2008, Citroen E C4 but can’t match the level of equipment or the range.

For instance the entry SE (£29,495) comes with LED auto dipping headlights, keyless entry, navigation, voice control, 360 degree camera, adaptive cruise control and a seven year warranty as part of its package. Rivals would have trouble matching that.

Moving up the Trophy’s battery pack increases from 51kWh to 72.6kWh pushing the range from 198 miles to 273 miles and there is even more equipment. This is all sounding very positive and for the most part it is but certain things have to be taken into consideration when debating electric cars.... like the weather.

I had the Trophy during the coldest week in December and the important lesson to be learned is not to count on the manufacturer’s range prediction, in fact you get to learn a lot about electric cars during a cold snap.

In the case of the MG it is best not to switch to economy mode to extend the range unless wrapped up because the heating system barely gets above luke warm even on the maximum setting.

The Trophy has heated front seats but with only one setting gets too hot. More significantly cold weather affects the range and at minus three the MG had used nearly half its battery capacity after 85 miles so 273 miles was never going to happen. These conditions will reduce the range on just about every electric car.

That the ZS EV is good value for money is beyond doubt but to keep the cost down the odd corner has been cut. The definition on the all round reversing camera should be a lot sharper; there is no telescopic adjustment for the steering wheel; the passenger seat is set a tad high and has no vertical adjustment.

As for the rest of the car it is all systems go. There is plenty of technology with a digital driver’s display and 10.1in touchscreen for navigation, smart phone integration and radio settings, the latter not the easiest to fathom but you get there in time. A row of quick keys beneath the screen is helpful although they need brighter back lighting.

A rotary controller for gear selection is a classy touch and there is an automatic parking brake.

This is a good sized family car with adequate legroom front and back so space for five adults is not out of the question. Boot capacity is pretty decent as well.

Like all electric cars the ZS is quick off the mark even in the economy setting and responds quickly when overtaking. The ride is a little jittery over uneven roads and generally not quite at the level of the best of its rivals but is no deal breaker

MG is building an impressive range of electric cars and has caused quite a stir with its latest budget busting EV, the Z4 which is a real stunner. If there is any justice in this world it will be named European Car of the Year. It certainly gets my vote.

Fast Facts

ZS EV Trophy LR

£35,040 (starts £29,495) 

0-62mph 8.2secs; 108mph; 153bhp

Range 273 miles. 72.6kWh battery

Full charge: 10.5hrs home wall charger

80 per cent charge: 42 mins public 100kWh point

Zero emissions

Insurance group 21

Boot: 470-1100 litres

Stranded Cat Meade 'overwhelmed' by support from back home

* How Cat Meade's Gofundme page stood this morning (Thursday).

Community champion Cat Meade says she is "overwhelmed" by the love and support she is getting from people back in Llangollen after they learned of how she and her family have been stranded in Spain after her elderly mother fell ill while on holiday.

llanblogger revealed yesterday (Wednesday) how hundreds of pounds had been raised within just a day by friends and well-wishers back at home to help the family's plight. 

Cat had decided to treat her mother, who was recovering from Covid, and her young son Connor to a Christmas break in Benidorm when the older lady became ill only days after arriving in the Spanish resort. 

Cat, who has raised thousands of pounds and arranged practical support for a variety of local good causes over the past couple of years, has been keeping friends at home in touch with developments via her Facebook page. 

The updates have revealed how with her mum’s chest infection taking longer to clear up than expected the potential bill for the hospital where she is being cared for has become a concern.

After reading this one of her friends, Jane Townend, has launched an online page to help Cat which has so far attracted £850 towards its goal of £2,500.

Jane said in her introduction to her page: “They cannot fly home tomorrow (Tuesday 27th Dec), they are having to pay to stay on in Spain, not sure insurance will pay for hospital so this is a starter to help how we can. If it raises more than needed for paying to stay on for at least another week and insurance does pay then it can help for going away again when mum is better."

Through social media Cat is now well aware of the efforts going on back home to help her family.

And in a post yesterday evening she says: "It's been a challenging few days, which have caused hurdle after hurdle! I've just caught up with Facebook and messages, Thank you all for your kind words and thoughts for Mum, it really means a lot.

"We are overwhelmed by the Gofundme page which my lovely friend Jane Louise Tornado has kindly set up and to all of you for donating. The situation currently is that we will require a private nurse and oxygen to fly home.

"The hospital will discharge mum if I find oxygen. Yes, as they can't assist with that! Anyway I've found some so hoping to get her to hotel at least tomorrow with the oxygen supply.

"Need to then sit tight on the insurance making a yes/no (maybe a few days) I'm hoping they will sort but after the stories I've heard here and pathetic reasons why. I'm not overly confident. Yes, all her medical info was declared, yes, I took out insurance, yes, it's with a decent firm.

"Worse case we looking at approx £8k for medical bill, private nurse etc. We are already almost £2k paid out on extra accommodation,  hospital fees, oxygen etc etc.

"I just wanted to keep you all updated and thank you to my amazing friends back home and Llangollen community for all helping us. A truly unbelievable experience. Praying for good news soon. xxx."

* Cat's page is at: 


Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Appeal launched after illness strands Llan family in Spain

* Cat Meade, left, with her son Connor and mum.

Hundreds of pounds has already been raised by friends and well-wishers back at home to help a well-known Llangollen community champion stranded in Spain after her elderly mother took ill while on holiday. 

Fundraiser Cat Meade had decided to treat her mother, who was recovering from Covid, and her young son Connor to a Christmas break in Benidorm when the older lady became ill only days after arriving in the Spanish resort. 

Cat, who has raised thousands of pounds and arranged practical support for a variety of local good causes over the past couple of years, has been keeping friends at home in touch with developments via her Facebook page. 

The updates have revealed how with her mum’s chest infection taking longer to clear up than expected the potential bill for the hospital where she is being cared for has become a concern.

And after reading this one of her friends, Jane Townend, has launched an online Gofundme page to help Cat which, in just over a day, has attracted more than £400 in pledges of support. 

Cat’s first Facebook update said: “Not what we had planned coming away for Xmas. Mum took ill and doctor called. She’s in hospital with chest infection. Will be there till at least Monday on oxygen and meds. Just praying she can fly home Tuesday. Now to tackle the insurance.” 

Later she posted again: “We may not be in our fancy hotel rocking away but it’s Christmas Eve and we are all together. Me and Connor rocking the hospital all-nighter to be with mum.”

* The Gofundme page set up for Cat Meade and her family.

And then: “No way flying home as we should tomorrow, so mum’s not getting out for at least 3/4days. Bless her. Stuck here. Insurance still debating. Care for a private hospital is shocking. Not that we had a choice where the ambulance took her. Our Xmas break which was so needed turned into a living nightmare. Three-day break and never-ending stress. About to blow!”

In her Facebook post on Boxing Day Jane Townend said: “For those of you who know Cat Meade please support her and her family. Her mum has been taken ill whilst on holiday in Spain (a treat for them all after her mum having Covid and being in hospital last year).

“They cannot fly home tomorrow (Tuesday 27th Dec), they are having to pay to stay on in Spain, not sure insurance will pay for hospital so this is a starter to help how we can. If it raises more than needed for paying to stay on for at least another week and insurance does pay then it can help for going away again when mum is better.

“A very stressful and anxious time. Please support Cat as she is always the first to help others in Llangollen and further afield. Funds will be set to go to Cat directly, the link will go to her to set up to receive it.”

In a further post Jane adds: “Anytime there is a cause or something needs support she fundraises. She’s always helping. She collected gifts for children and families in Llangollen before she went away for Christmas.”

Up until this morning, the Gofundme page for Cat had attracted pledges totalling over £400 towards its goal of £2,500.

It can be seen at: 

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Free school meal payments information for parents

Denbighshire County Council has welcomed news that the Welsh Government is continuing to make funding available to make free school meal payments for eligible pupils during school holidays, in response to the cost of living crisis.

The council has made arrangements for these payments to be made for the forthcoming Christmas holidays (26th December to 6th January), with the payment due to be made on Friday 23rd December.

Parents / guardians are being informed that the payments are being made based on eligibility for Free School Meals.

This is completely separate to the roll out of Universal Primary Free School Meals which has seen Reception age children being able to access free meals this school term and will be extended to Year 1 pupils in January 2023.

Councillor Gill German, Cabinet Lead Member for Education, Children and Families, said:

“We welcome this funding as it will provide reassurance to some families, given the cost-of-living crisis. We want to make sure all children receive a proper meal and this payment, made directly into bank accounts of eligible parents automatically, will help with this cost.”

* For more information go to:

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Use local shops for last minute gifts, says council

In this special seasonal article, the county council reminds us of the importance of shopping locally this Christmas ...

The previous two Christmases weren’t ‘normal’ to say the least, mainly because of the Covid-19 pandemic and our attempts to keep ourselves and each other safe. 

But Christmas 2022 is being affected by other, different circumstances beyond our control.

Postal strikes are having a considerable effect on delivery times, rail strikes are affecting our ability to travel further-afield to do our Christmas shopping, and the ‘cost of living crisis’ is affecting most of us in one way or another. 

But by having to shop differently this Christmas, it also offers us some excellent opportunities as well. And if you’ve still got some last minute shopping to do, remember that there are some wonderful businesses right on our doorstep.

Denbighshire County Council’s initiative to Support Denbighshire High Streets is particularly relevant this Christmas. 

Asking people to shop and support their local businesses is nothing new. The annual #lovelivelocal campaign provides an excellent opportunity to remind us of what we have nearby. 

Rather than taking the risk of ordering online and not receiving your items in time or filling up on over-priced diesel to drive to do our shopping miles away, we can save time and money and help our local traders by shopping closer to home.  

The campaign reminds us that we have wonderful shops, cafés, and restaurants on our own local high streets, and if we support them and use them, we can ensure that they continue to be there for us in the future. And a good Christmas can mean everything to a local trader.

There is so much more to the high street experience than just shopping, especially over the Christmas period. 

There was a time when we did much more of our Christmas shopping on our local high street. It was an opportunity to meet up with friends for a chat, a cuppa, and a mince pie, and there’s nowhere like your local high street when the Christmas lights are shining, there are carol singers singing and events such as artisan markets bring new life to town.

Councillor Jason McLellan, Leader of Denbighshire County Council, and Lead Member for Economic Growth and Tackling Deprivation, said: “The #lovelivelocal campaign is to remind people of the wonderful businesses we have in Denbighshire, to shop and use local services wherever possible to keep the Denbighshire economy thriving and lower our carbon footprint.

"It’s been going really well so far this year but it's important that we continue to remind our residents that they don’t need to travel very far to shops, and they don’t need to buy online, everything they need is here, in our towns and villages – give Denbighshire businesses a go and #lovelivelocal.”

After two Christmases of being apart, the high street can be a place for us to congregate and meet up once again. And if you’ve been out and about and feel that the service you’ve received from a local business is something you’d like to share with your friends, family, or even the business itself, don’t forget to use your social media presence to let everyone know!

And a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

Friday, December 23, 2022

Heli-help at Castell Dinas Brân!

* The helicopter swoops in to help with the work on Castell Dinas Brân. 

Helicopter help was on hand to assist Rangers from the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB undertake important works on the picturesque slopes of Castell Dinas Brân.

Earlier in the autumn - and under the expert guidance of archaeologists from Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT) – Rangers, volunteers and contractors excavated close to 35 tonnes of material from the castle gatehouse as part of the exciting restoration works taking place at the castle.

All of the excavated material was bagged up, ready to be airlifted directly onto one of the key routes that meanders to the summit. 

This section of footpath has become heavily eroded and has widened considerably in recent years, threatening the population of nationally scarce plants such as upright chickweed and shepherd’s cress that are to be found here at Dinas Brân.

Skilled contractors will then use this material to repair damaged sections of the trail.

Rhun Jones, Senior Ranger in the Dee Valley, said “Working in partnership with Cadw and CPAT, this has been a really exciting project – and not just because we have a helicopter here to move all of the material!”

“When planning the project, we knew that in restoring the castle and clearing the gatehouse, we’d generate a lot of waste. But we saw this as an ideal opportunity to use the cleared material to improve access opportunities whilst also safeguarding the fragile grassland habitat too so that everyone can continue to enjoy Dinas Brân’s rich natural and historical heritage.”

The castle restoration work is being delivered through the Our Picturesque Landscape project, a landscape partnership scheme funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with additional support and funding provided by Cadw.

Councillor Win Mullen James, Denbighshire Cabinet Lead Member for Local Development and Planning, said: “This is a fantastic piece of collaborative work and I look forward to seeing the end results at such a prominent Llangollen landmark. “

MP finds out more about feline welfare

Simon Baynes MP at the Cats Protection Parliamentary Reception.

Billy, the Baynes family rescue cat from Welshpool.

Clwyd South MP Simon Baynes MP attended a reception hosted by the UK’s largest cat charity to find out more about feline welfare issues.   

The event, held at the House of Commons, was a chance to discuss ways to improve the lives of cats and their owners, from cat microchipping to enabling more people in rented housing to own pet cats.   

Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy, Campaigns and Government Relations Madison Rogers said: “We were delighted to host our reception in the House of Commons to discuss cat welfare, which is an important issue for many people across the UK. We were able to discuss a wide range of issues, from the breeding of cats to compulsory microchipping of pet cats.   

“With 11 million pet cats in the UK, cats are undoubtedly one of the UK’s most popular pets, so it is great to see so many politicians taking an interest in feline welfare.”  

Mr Baynes said: “It was a pleasure to meet Cats Protection’s team in Parliament and to hear about the vital work they are doing for the welfare of cats. I also took the opportunity to find out more about the volunteering opportunities the charity has available across the UK.   

“Cats Protection is the UK’s largest cat protection charity and helps over 150,000 cats and kittens every year and is very close to my heart as we have a much-loved family cat Billy who was a rescue cat, found on the street of Welshpool as a small kitten.” 

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Eisteddfod announces new-look dance competitions

Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod has announced its new line-up of dance competitions for 2023. 

The Eisteddfod has long been celebrated for its choral competitions, which culminate in the famous Choir of the World final, and has won a reputation for stunning global participation in its traditional / folk dance categories. 

For Llangollen’s first full-length Eisteddfod since the pandemic, an extra day of competitions has been added, for the first time ever featuring ballet, contemporary, commercial and even a dance-off.

Executive Producer Camilla King said: “If you've ever wanted to combine friendly competition with a festival experience then Llangollen 2023 is for you.

"I hope that dancers of all ages will be inspired to come and join us in beautiful North Wales, to perform in the 4,000 seat Royal Pavilion arena, take part in our activities around town, and to compete for the chance to take part in either the Dance Champions Final (with a prize of £1,000), or the Stars of Tomorrow final for our junior performers.”

·    Traditional / Folk Dance: for groups of 4-25 performers, aged 16+

·    Children’s Folk Dance: for groups of 4-25 performers, aged 16 or under

·    NEW: Ballet & Contemporary Group: 4-30 dancers with categories for juniors (9-13yrs), youth (14-18yrs), senior (19 and over)

·   NEW: Commercial & Open Group: 4-30 dancers with categories for juniors (9-13yrs), youth (14-18yrs), senior (19 and over)

·    Llangollen Dance Off: groups of 4+, no age limit, any style welcome, no selection process 

Applications are now open with the full syllabus and application information available on the dedicated participant website: close Friday January 6 2023 at 5pm.

The Eisteddfod offices will be closed from December 23 – January 8, and it says any competition, press or ticket enquiries will be responded to from January 9 onwards. 

* Downloadable syllabus book, application forms and other competitor information available on our dedicated website:

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Castle Street cashpoint wins a reprieve from NatWest

llanblogger exclusive

* The NatWest ATM is staying in Castle Street. 

Clwyd South Senedd Member Ken Skates has welcomed a U-turn on plans to close a cashpoint in Llangollen. 

NatWest was due to start decommissioning its ATM on Castle Street in mid-November, with the company previously saying it had failed to come to an agreement with the landlord for a renewal of its lease. 

Mr Skates took the matter up with NatWest on behalf of residents and said he was pleased the cashpoint will now stay put. 

He said: “A number of residents in Llangollen got in touch saying they had heard the ATM would be closing. I contacted NatWest, who confirmed that was the case. 

“However, after I raised the matter with the company again they told me they were back in negotiations and were hopeful of an agreement. That was several weeks ago, and while many residents have since noticed that the cashpoint has clearly not been removed we still didn't really know what was happening.

“NatWest have today (Wednesday) confirmed to me that they have now agreed terms.” 

In an email to Mr Skates, NatWest said: “The new lease agreement has been agreed and is with the landlord for signing. This will now mean the ATM is staying in place. I know you received a lot of queries from constituents, so we’re happy for you to update them.” 

Mr Skates added: “For a town of its size, Llangollen isn’t particularly well-served by cashpoints, especially with the volume of visitors from all over the world it sees all year round. I’m pleased this has been resolved.  

“Usually when a bank announces something that’s that, so this is a welcome result.” 

Methodist Church Christmas tree festival winners announced

* Winning trees have been announced.

At the close of the Christmas Tree Festival in Llangollen Methodist Church the votes cast for visitors' favourite trees were counted. 

The winning tree in the Traditional Category was entered by the Bright Quilting Group, and in the Royal Category the Tidy Town Team was pipped to the post by a single vote by the Woolies Knit and Natter Group. 

A spokesperson for the organisers said: "Congratulations and thank you to everyone who entered a tree and created an impressive display.

"Certificates can be collected with the trees on Wednesday January 4, between 12 noon and 4pm. The display can still be viewed at the 10.30am Service on Christmas Day and at the 11am Service on Sunday January 1. All welcome."

News from Pengwern Community Hub


Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Information on waste and recycling services over Christmas

* There will be no recycling service at the Pavilion car park this Saturday. 

Denbighshire County Council is informing residents of waste collection arrangements over the festive period.

Collections will take place on the usual day even if it is a public holiday.

There will be no Saturday morning services at Llangollen Pavilion on Christmas Eve, says the council.

During Christmas and New Year residents are asked that:

• Waste and recycling containers are put out on their usual day of collection by 7am.

• Non-recyclable waste is contained within their black bin or pink sacks, recycling as much as possible.

• Extra dry recycling, if the blue bin or sack becomes full, can be presented in a cardboard box, except for glass which should always be placed in the designated recycling container for safety reasons.

• Ribbons, bows, excessive adhesive tape and plastic windows are removed from cardboard packaging and wrapping paper before recycling. Unfortunately, wrapping paper and cards containing glitter or foil should be put in the black bin as they are not recyclable and can contaminate the paper stream.

• Food waste (cooked and uncooked) should always be recycled – even meat bones can go into the orange kerbside caddy for composting at a specialized facility within the county. 

Cllr Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “The council wishes all our residents a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

“We know during the festive period that households will have extra waste and recycling. Most of this waste can be disposed of and recycled through our kerbside collection services.

“By following the guidelines it will help our staff to collect waste and recycling as efficiently as possible during Christmas and the New Year.”

The council’s bulky waste collection service and bin deliveries are running as usual over Christmas.

Extra waste can be taken to one of three household waste recycling centres, at Denbigh, Rhyl and Ruthin which will be open to the public as normal every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

* Booking is essential and you can book at

Ysgol Y Gwernant's big Christmas show is a sell-out

Ysgol Gymraeg Y Gwernant sent in these pictures of its smash-hit school play staged at the Town Hall last Tuesday. 

The colourful production entitled 'Shambyls Sion Corn', which involved a huge cast of pupils, was a sell-out as it was the first show by the school since Covid. 

Temporary road closure at Berwyn next month

Denbighshire County Council is making a traffic order prohibiting vehicles using part of the B5103 Chain Bridge Hotel at Berwyn for a period next month.

It says the closure is necessary to facilitate resurfacing by its works unit. Pedestrian access will be maintained throughout the period of closure.

The order is effective from January 20 until the completion of the works which is expected to be January 31.

In the first phase of the work the section to be closed to traffic is a Class III road known as Bryntysilio to St Tysilio Church which extends westward from its junction with the B5103 for a distance of approximately 70m. 

Phase 2 will involve the length of the B5103, Berwyn, which extends eastward from its junction with Bryntysilio to St Tysilio Church to its junction with the A542 for a distance of approximately 680m.

The recommended alternative route is, for phase 1, St Tysilios Church to Abersilio Maes Uchain to A542 Britannia Inn A542 to B5103 and, for phase 2, A542 to A539 to A5.                                                                 


Car's useful safety system came to my rescue

Kia XCeed drive by Steve Rogers

Safety aids are part and parcel of modern cars and barely noticed.... until they save your bacon.

Here is one such tale. I was side parked in a quiet street in the French city of Reims preparing to reverse. I thought the street was one way and started my move once a car in the opposite lane had passed. At that point the car emergency braked coming to a dead stop. In my mirror I watched a car cruise by so without cross traffic alert I would have broadsided that car.

Of all the collision stoppers this is the most useful. Drivers should be able to react to what is going on in front, but behind can be a different story and here it came to my rescue.

Suffice to say XCeed is well off for collision warning features.

What of the car? It was launched three years ago as an extra to the Ceed range and is a half hearted nod to an SUV on the basis that the suspension has been raised so it sits a little higher and comes with body armour bumpers, wheel arches and roof rails. It is also more expensive than the standard Ceed.

Asked back in 2019 was the model really needed a Kia executive replied: “We don’t build cars people don’t want.” He got that right because XCeed, which had a mild update this year, now accounts for 50 per cent of Ceed sales, helping the range to third in the sales table behind Sportage and Niro.

Apart from the higher ride height and slightly longer body this is just a variation on the theme and shares everything that is good about the Ceed. Plug in hybrid has been introduced with a 1.6 litre engine but my test car was the tried and trusted 1.5 litre petrol turbo. It’s zippy, without the adrenalin rush of a hot hatch, but proved to be surprisingly economical returning 49.9mpg over the best part of a 1000 miles and was regularly in the low fifties cruising the long, quiet French roads.

I should say this is a user friendly car for driving in Europe because the headlights will not dazzle drivers so there is no need for those stick on deflectors, and the digital speed display in the driver’s binnacle can be quickly switched to kilometres.

You get a good feel for a car on a long drive and my impression was that someone with a clear vision has looked at the dashboard and said ‘how can I make this as user friendly as possible’ and has smashed it.

The driver display is crystal clear, steering wheel buttons easy to master, there is even a switch to knock off the lane departure warning. On most cars you have to scroll through menus on a touchscreen. Annoying.

The large central touchscreen is supplemented by clearly marked quick keys along with a perfectly laid out physical display for the heating controls. You could do worse than make this the perfect model for all cars.

XCeed is easy rather than exhilarating to drive, it handles well enough without too much body roll and is comfortable, coping with just about everything our roads throw at us. My only issue was with the clutch balance which neither my wife nor I could manage smoothly pulling away in first gear.

XCeed is a decent sized family car, a small increase in length adding a few more litres to the boot space while doing nothing for back seat legroom which is no better than average.

Kia cars are always generously equipped and if you go all out with the GT-Line S you are well catered for right down to heated outer rear seats and powered tailgate.

Is it worth spending the extra for an XCeed? Probably not because you can get everything, bar the bling, on a comparable Ceed, but 50 per cent of Ceed owners think differently.

Nothing much to dislike then but if I was to be picky I look at the stunning Sportage and EV models and ask isn’t it time the ageing Ceed family got some of that razor sharp styling?

Fast facts

XCeed GT-Line S

£30,395 starts £22,995

1.5 T-GDi 158bhp; 6sp manual

0-62mph 8.7secs; 129mph

44.8mpg combined

143g/km. 1st tax £230

Insurance group 17

Boot 426-1378 litres