We had the pleasure of spending some time with the Kia XCeed recently. This is what Kia class as a new urban crossover utility vehicle (CUV), which combines compact SUV practicality with the sporty packaging of a hatchback. This is a vehicle that has been designed exclusively for European customers at Kia’s European design studio in Frankfurt, Germany. Sales kicked off in the second half of 2019, with more than 20,000 units sold and this new plug in hybrid version of the XCeed was launched in the first quarter of 2020. From all angles it’s a good-looking vehicle and spec levels are decent throughout the price range.
Inside the Kia it will be familiar to anyone who has spent time in the existing Ceed lineup. You get the same driver-oriented dashboard, low seating position with everything in easy reach. What we did notice was the Plug-in Hybrid models feature a range of new functions to help the driver extract the most out of the new powertrain. A charging indicator acts as a visual aid to tell owners that their car is charging or when the battery is fully charged. Its location on top of the dashboard means drivers can instantly glance to see the car’s state of charge from outside the car.
The 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment and navigation system with Kia’s UVO Connect telematics is a clever piece of kit and easy to navigate. Like other EV’s you can locate available charging points in your vicinity and the screen can show relevant information relating to the powertrain, displaying remaining charge levels in the battery and energy usage graphics. Owners can use the touchscreen system to schedule when their vehicle should charge when plugged in at home. This enables owners to take advantage of cheaper off-peak energy tariffs when available. Other items of note are the seats, which come with leather surrounding trim and hardwearing material in the vulnerable positions. Our test car had a black/grey combination, which looked fantastic.
As expected this Kia XCeed Plug-in Hybrid offers a worthy alternative to conventional petrol and diesel models and it’s probably the way most people will choose to go on their next purchase. The new powertrain combines a lithium-polymer battery pack, an electric motor, and an efficient 1.6-litre GDi petrol engine. This gives the XCeed a total power and torque output of 139bhp with 265Nm, which is more than adequate. The powertrain is paired with a six-speed dual-clutch auto transmission (6DCT), ensuring a more enjoyable drive than other hybrid vehicles equipped with electronic continuously variable transmissions (e-CVT). Traditional e-CVT hybrids convert a portion of engine output through the electric motor, resulting in power losses from energy conversion. They are also notoriously noisy to drive with the engine often running hard to power batteries. Kia’s six-speed dual clutch differs by allowing the full output of both the engine and motor to be transferred in parallel through the transmission, with minimal loss of energy. Standard regenerative braking technology also plays a factor to harvest kinetic energy and recharge the battery packs. It’s a hybrid system that works pretty seamlessly but we would still urge you to have a home charger to get the most out of the power train by charging each night.
Kia are not known for scrimping in this department and once again safety has been given high priority with six airbags (front, side and curtain with front passenger cut-off switch), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), High Beam Assist (HBA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), Speed Limit Information Function (SLIF) and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist – City and Pedestrian (FCA) all included as standard. Extra safety systems include a Blind Spot Collision Warning (BCW), Intelligent Speed Limit Information Function (ISLIF) and Lane Following Assist (LFA).
Prices kick of from €29,000 but there are HP options with 0% Finance and PCP plans from 3.9% fixed.
After living with the Kia XCeed Plug-in Hybrid for a decent period of time during lockdown I can honestly say it’s a nice car to spend time in. In its EV mode we travelled around 50 kilometers with ease and it takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to recharge the battery pack to 100 per cent using a 3.3kW AC charger. It has ample space for a small family in the cabin and drives particularly well. Our only gripe is that although the XCeed was engineered from the start to accommodate new hybrid powertrains with the 8.9 kWh battery pack located alongside the 37-litre fuel tank under the rear bench, the boot space is still tight! In fact, boot volume is reduced by a significant 135 litres leaving just 291 litres, which could cause a problem on that staycation this summer. Best consider that roof box! This good news is that peace of mind, is what Kia does best and they remain the only manufacturer to offer a 7-year/150,000 km warranty in Europe. If that’s not enough to tempt you into a test drive then we don’t know what is.