1.6 GDi PHEV '3' DCT
continue to provide a worthy
halfway point for drivers en route
to an all-electric car. And with the
crossover bodystyle still the number
one choice for many drivers, what
better than one of Kias
AS WITH ANY plug-in, the headline-grabbing official fuel consumption
is a fine place to start. In the XCeed's case the weighted combined economy
stands at a whopping 201.8. If you plug-in consistently to maximise the XCeed's
all-electric, zero-emissions city range (36.6 miles) and can manage the bulk
of your journeys in 30-mile bites between recharges, then you really could see
those eye-watering numbers for yourself.
Most drivers will need to undertake longer trips, in which case the all-electric
range will offset running the 1.6-litre four-pot petrol engine that's the mainstay
of this petrol-electric hybrid. Do so and you can expect to match our week's
test average of an impressive 68.3mpg (yes, really!). We managed regular charging
and were rewarded with 104mpg when driving in road conditions that favour the
plug-in's electrified powertrain. So, if you're crossing over from a traditional
combustion-engined car there's plenty of potential to maximise savings on your
and green-ness aside, most people buy a car for its looks like it or
not, that's human nature. And you can see why the buying public are giving the
XCeed designed to be a sporty alternative to traditional SUVs
the thumbs up. With its rakish coupe-esque profile and some well executed crossover/SUV
cues (black wheelarch protection and a hint of high-ridin' freedom), it's smart,
self-assured and shimmers with street presence.
around in the
PHEV is a pleasant
The ride is well damped
and comfortable, with no
jarring from even the
worst bumps. Forgiving
205/60 profile tyres
help, as too does the
level ride, flat cornering,
and impressive in-cabin
refinement. In fact, the
PHEV is relaxingly
smooth everywhere, not
just when running in
Swing open a door and you'll be greeted by an equally stylish interior with
a strong showing of plush quality and that's just in the penultimate
'3' level trim. Not that you should feel pressured to move up the spec ladder
to the £4K-dearer First Edition because the '3' is notably well equipped.
The tablet-sized, landscape format 10.25-inch touchscreen that 'floats' dead
centre of the dash instantly takes your eye, but equally appealing are the contoured
seats upholstered in faux-leather with tactile patterned cloth centre panels.
They're good to the touch, look good and feel good to sit in, and benefit from
comfortable but effective bolstering; both have three-stage heating, powered
lumbar support and are height adjustable. The result is a sporty driving position
with a full fist of headroom and a commanding view of the road ahead. Throw
in a meaty, smooth-leather-rimmed (and heated) multifunction steering wheel
along with tasteful fittings and you have another 'great-to-be-here' cabin from
Comms are comprehensive and the quick-acting touchscreen underscored
by a strip of touch-sensitive menu-jump buttons is home to Kia's Connected
Services featuring absolutely foolproof TomTom 3D satellite navigation. Its
UVO telematics feature also means you can monitor charging and other settings
remotely via your smartphone as well as send route directions direct to the
car before a journey. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (both with voice control)
are installed, while more traditional entertainment comes through a DAB radio
with a seven-speaker audio system.
Naturally there's also Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming
and convenient USB ports. Boosting the usability score is a reversing camera
system with dynamic guidelines supported by rear parking sensors. And whenever
you need it you can call up a dedicated 'plug-in' screen which, among other
things, pinpoints the nearest charging stations a fingertip tap and the
SatNav will guide you straight there.
the everyday driving information is clearly presented on the colour digital
display and two main dials in the instrument panel including comprehensive battery
charge and data plus the all-important road speed readout; posted speed limits
are shown on the main screen's mapping.
out power to
the front wheels is a six-
lets you, should you
wish, to change gear
yourself, serving up a
more enjoyable drive
than the continuously
found in a lot of
This plug-in XCeed sets
out to score on efficiency
but even so its 0-60mph
acceleration time of
10.4 seconds is more
than lively enough...
Family-sized in-cabin storage is provided with siamesed dual-use cupholders
in the centre console, drop-down glasses case, a coin-tray, large shelf at the
base of the centre stack for a smartphone, a second sliding-lidded tray ahead
of the selector lever with 12-volt and USB sockets, a biggish bin capped by
an extending centre armrest, damped and lit glovebox, and large bottle-holding
front door pockets.
'3' spec editions come with smart keyless access, engine Start/Stop button,
cloth and faux-leather heated seats, heated steering wheel, tinted glass with
privacy to the rear windows and tailgate, 2-zone automatic climate (with a driver-only
setting to conserve power), smart cruise control with stop-and-go functionality,
auto-dimming rearview mirror, electronic parking brake with autohold, four one-shot-op
electric windows, powerfolding door mirrors (on demand and auto when locking
and leaving) with a wide-view mirror on the driver's side, and alloy wheels.
In addition there's a host of safety-tech that includes Forward Collision-Avoidance
Assist (City/Pedestrian/Cyclist), Lane Keep Assist, Lane Following Assist, Electronic
Stability Control & Vehicle Stability Management, High-Beam Assist, Driver Attention
Warning, Speed Limit Information Function, Hill-start Assist, auto lights, rain
sensing wipers, tyre pressure monitoring, twin front airbags, twin front side
airbags, twin curtain airbags, height-adjustable front seatbelts, Isofix child
seat top tethers & anchor fixings, LED bi-function projection headlights, LED
daytime running lights, and LED rear fog and tail lights.
Within the XCeed's 4.4m overall length is a family-accommodating wheelbase stretching
to 2.65 metres; so plenty of space for legs, knees and three pairs of feet.
The seats are well-shaped with relaxing backrest angles and with good under-thigh
support; they're also easy to access via doors that open to almost ninety degrees.
Thanks to a generous glasshouse, the XCeed's rising rear window line (which
looks slick from the outside) doesn't spoil the view out and passengers enjoy
plenty of headroom.
The drop-down centre rear armrest is well padded and wide enough for two to
share, and comes with a pair of built-in cupholders; with it out of the way
three side-by-side is definitely doable. Rear passengers also benefit from dedicated
air vents, deep front seatback pouches, and bottle-holding door bins. And for
passengers who like a bit of privacy there's B-pillar-to-B-pillar privacy glass.
around in the XCeed PHEV is a satisfying and pleasant experience. Suspension
is fully independent and the ride is well damped and comfortable, with no jarring
from even the worst bumps. Sixteen-inch alloy wheels shod with forgiving 205/60
tyres help, as too does the level ride, flat cornering, and decent in-cabin
refinement. In fact, the PHEV manages to be relaxingly smooth everywhere and
not only when running in pure-electric mode.
feels planted; the
steering is well synched
with the XCeeds chassis
and, in spite of their
regenerative braking duties, the brakes (discs
all round; ventilated at
the front) are reassuring
when anchoring up...
So does that mean it's more satisfying for passengers than the driver? Not a
bit. While the XCeed has no aspirations to be a hard-charging Stinger, it's
more than happy to serve up some press-on driving if that's what you want although,
to be honest, most XCeed PHEV buyers won't be slinging it about like a hot-hatch.
Dishing out power to the front wheels is a six-speed dual-clutch transmission
that enables drivers should they wish to shift gear themselves,
serving up a more enjoyable drive than the continuously variable transmissions
found in a lot of other hybrids. This plug-in XCeed sets out to score on efficiency
but even so its 0-60mph acceleration time of 10.4 seconds is more than lively
enough. Top speed is 107mph; again, with a never-likely-to-be-increased motorway
limit of 70mph, that's ample for legal cruising with plenty in hand for passing
It's worth remembering, too, that the PHEV's mission statement is to maximise
economy and minimise its carbon output, not post record laps around the Nürburgring.
That noted, the PHEV's kickdown is effective but for longer, more focussed performance
streams press the Sport button; if you want even more control, nudge the selector
lever sideways from D into the DCT's manual mode and use the shapely lever to
make sequential manual shifts.
With a 1.6-litre petrol engine backed up by a transmission-mounted electric
motor, the PHEV is good for a combined 139bhp plus 195lb ft of torque. There
are three drivetrain modes: Auto allocates the best petrol/electric power mix
for the circumstances with fluent switchovers; hybrid (HEV) lets the petrol
engine cut in sooner when the battery is low; EV allows pure-electric running
for as long as the battery pack has juice a very practical 36 miles in
town. You can select any mode whenever you wish and living in the country we
found it especially helpful when encountering horses to instantly switch to
paddle-shifters behind the steering wheel aren't for changing gear but for adjusting
the intensity of the regenerative braking set at the maximum level 3
they provide intense deceleration whenever you lift off the accelerator
enough to slow the car noticeably at urban speeds without using the brake pedal;
level 2 is perfect for general driving including back roads where ahead of a
tricky bend it's as effective as dropping down a gear or two in a manual gearboxed
pack lives under the rear
seats and boot floor.
Which explains why the
offers 291 litres against
Not that 300 litres is
a regular shape,
easy to load and
swallows enough to make
packing for Le Staycation
a simple business...
And every time you lift off with these higher 'regen' settings you send a bit
more charge back to the battery pack. Encouraging regular recharging is the
fact that drivers able to complete the majority of their daily drives and commutes
on electric power alone will chalk up tremendous mpg figures. And with recharging
the battery pack from zero to 100% taking just over two hours (using a 3.3kW
charger), keeping fully charged is no hassle. Dynamically, the PHEV feels 'planted';
the motor-driven power steering is well synched with the car's chassis and,
in spite of their regenerative braking duties, the brakes (discs all round;
ventilated at the front) are reassuring when anchoring up.
The PHEV's battery pack lives under the rear seats and boot floor. Which explains
why the plug-in version's trunk offers 291 litres against the non-hybrid's 426.
Not that 300 litres is small a regular shape, it's easy to load and swallows
enough to make packing for Le Staycation a simple business.
The lifting parcel shelf load-cover, bag hooks, pop-up tie-down eyelets, corner
bin (with a retaining strap for large bottles), and 12-volt power socket will
also all be appreciated. Beneath the rearmost boot floor you'll find a lidded,
full-width storage compartment for the plug-in charging leads and the tyre repair
kit. Folding 60:40-split rear seatbacks offer multi cargo/passenger choices;
or fold them both to create a 1,243-litre loadbay with a seamlessly flat floor.
Your other option is to tow go that route and you can haul a braked 1,300kg.
Kia are front-runners with their electrified vehicles (the all-new Soul EV and
the very much in-demand e-Niro with its genuine 282-mile pure-electric range)
but this new plug-in XCeed hybrid makes it very easy for those who don't want
to jump straight into a full-electric car when coming from a standard petrol
or diesel. For some, that and its lithe looks, undemanding driveability and
impressive real-life economy will be enough; for others its seven-year, 100,000-mile
warranty (which also covers the battery pack and electric motor) will seal the
deal. Either way, expectations are XCeeded and you win big-time. ~ MotorBar
Kia XCeed 1.6 GDi PHEV
Maximum speed: 107mph | 0-60mph: 10.4 seconds | Test Average: 68.3mpg
Power: 139bhp | Torque: 195lb ft | CO2: 32g/km