Earlier in the year I recall being impressed with the latest Kia X-Ceed model, so much so, family me please and thank you that I was eager to get my hands on this plug-in hybrid version.
Having recently tested a full electric vehicle from a different manufacturer, I am confident that we are a terribly long way off full electrification in Northern Ireland due to a poor network of slow or broken chargers, and with more households than you would think not able to install a charger for varying reasons, plug-in hybrids could be the way forward.
PHEV’s are not new, the Mitsubishi Outlander is one of the best-selling in the UK and has been around for quite a few years. I’ve had the pleasure of testing a few hybrids over the years, but it is plug-in hybrids that interest me personally. As someone who spends a lot of time on the road, often dropping everything and running out the door to a breaking news story, means full electrification just wouldn’t be feasible for me.
Electric range on plug-in hybrids has never been fantastic, or that EV mode may only be available at slow city speeds. This is where this Kia took me by surprise as, soon after delivery I headed out with my wife to run a few errands. Covering around 25 miles in total, with a mixture of B-roads and a dual carriageway, I was pleasantly surprised to notice that the X-Ceed PHEV done the full journey, even at 60mph, on electric only power.
There was a few more miles left on the range counter, however without a home charging point and during my week with the car not being close to any public charging stations, I wasn’t able to fully appreciate, nor extensively test the exact capabilities of this hybrid model. What I do know is that it is the first PHEV I have driven that has a genuinely usable electric-only drive.
Sitting in the KIA Ceed family, alongside a 5-door hatchback, of which there is an estate version, as well as the super sleek shooting brake styled model, the XCeed is a welcomed addition to the fleet, with pricing of this hybrid version starting from £30,695.
Not quite an SUV as many people call it, rather a crossover a model with Kia preferring to brand it as a ‘sporty compact crossover’. Sporty isn’t a word I would use, but with stiff competition from the likes of the Toyota C-HR and sister company Hyundai’s Kona, such branding might catch the eye of potential buyers.
Currently there are just two trim levels available for this plug-in hybrid starting with an XCeed PHEV ‘3’ as tested, which starts from £30,695 and features 16-inch alloy wheels, 10.25-inch navigation with telematics, rear privacy glass, black cloth with faux leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, electrically folding, adjustable and heated door mirrors with integrated LED indicator lights, smart key with engine start/stop button, and electric parking brake.
There is also a first edition trim which is priced from £34,685 and add 18-inch alloy wheels, black leather upholstery, 12.3-inch TFT supervision cluster display, panoramic sunroof, smart power tailgate, wireless phone charger, aluminium pedals, heated outer rear seats, and smart park assist.
Regardless of which trim you opt for, it is safe to say that there is a generous amount of equipment within. Practical load-space in the XCeed isn’t as good as it’s siblings, however, it offers much more practicality then it’s exterior shape would lead you to believe, and is better than some rivals. The cabin is a little more spacious from its siblings thanks to extra headroom, and with all Kia models, it’s incredibly well screwed together.
A pair of ISOFIX swivel child seats fit without issue, so long as you don’t mind getting kicked on the back of your seat when driving. A comfortable driving position is easily achieved with very supportive front seating.
Unlike many brands who now digitise all cabin controls via a large touchscreen hub, the XCeed remains somewhat analogue, with push buttons for the heating controls, heated seating, and various driver safety and convenience buttons.
This is far from criticism as I for one much prefer this layout and wish many more would stick to it. Despite its SUV styling the XCeed handles every bit as well as its siblings and, if you happen to have read any of my articles on those, you will know that I was very impressed with not only there agility, but comfort, too.
Available only with a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission, the PHEV which is based upon a 1.6-litre petrol engine accompanied by an 8.9kWh Li-ion battery, provides a combined output of 139bhp. It’s not what I would call faster exciting, seeing 0-60mph in 10.6 seconds, a combined return of just over 200mpg could be expected, with an electric range just shy of 30 miles.
Company and fleet drivers can enjoy a contract hire from as little as £199/month, with an initial payment of £1,194 (prices are plus VAT). Private ownership is not quite as affordable with a PCP over 2-years and 10,000 miles/annum coming in at almost £450/month with a deposit of just over £6,000.
With a 7-year, 100,000 mile warranty, servicing of this plug-in hybrid vehicle is recommended annually, or every 10,000 miles.
Fact File for model tested
Make : Kia
Model : XCeed
Trim : PHEV ‘3’
Engine : Petrol/Electric
Gearbox : 6-speed automatic
Cost : £30,695
Words & Photos: GRAHAM BAALHAM-CURRY
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