By Nigel Wigmore
Kia continues its shift towards electrification, spurred on by record sales of its electric vehicles (EVs) in Europe early in 2020.
This week’s drive, the Plug-in Hybrid variant of the Kia Ceed Sportswagon range, is a major contributor to Kia’s electrification strategy. By 2025, Kia plans to offer 11 EVs globally.
“This represents an important next stage for Kia as we introduce advanced, next-generation powertrains to our vehicle line-up,” says Emilio Herrera, Kia Europe’s chief operating officer.
The Ceed Sportswagon Plug-in Hybrid is produced in Žilina, Slovakia – the first plug-in models built by the brand in Europe, exclusively for Europe.
Equipped with 17in alloy wheels, the Ceed Sportswagon PHEV 3 model emits 33g/km of CO2 and achieves a combined drive cycle figure of 188.3mpg according to latest regulations.
The car has a maximum speed of 106mph and achieves 0-60mph in 10.5 seconds. It follows the petrol and diesel versions of the Ceed Sportswagon.
The Plug-in Hybrid powertrain combines a 8.9kWh battery pack, 44.5kW electric motor and 1.6-litre Gasoline Direct injection engine, which produces 139bhp.
The all-electric driving range is 35.4 miles (city).
Kia says this car has “comparable cabin and luggage space to an SUV but “in a more compact body”.
I would not disagree with that claim of plentiful interior space in the Ceed Sportwagon because it is one of the first things that strikes you when you get behind the wheel.
And if you do not require the high riding position of an SUV then this car could prove an ideal size and proposition.
Plug-in Hybrids have been with us a long while now comparatively speaking and I understand that they are a solid alternative at present to a low range EV.
But as carmakers improve the range of their EVs with each new model, I wonder what the future of the PHEV might be.
Of course it is a viable alternative and has proved a very successful one for certain carmakers, but my preference at present is the self-charging hybrid.
My reason for this is simple. The self-charging hybrid gets the job done with less fuss and without the dreaded “range anxiety” which still is a factor when driving a fully electric car.
But this addition to the Ceed range is a welcome one simply because it shows that Kia is headed in the right direction by producing greener cars.
You would expect nothing less from the South Korean carmaker. South Korea is one of the most tech savvy countries on the planet and it should be and is reflected in its manufacture of cars.
As with most of the Kia model range I really like the look of this car. Interestingly, Kia uses the word “emotion” when describing the car’s design ethos.
It says inspiration for the car comes from the “emotional design character” of the Kia Stinger (a firm favourite of mine for its flowing good looks).
It may be my imagination but I agree that this new Ceed Sportwagon, with its low sweeping look does show more “self-confidence” than the previous model.
In that sense for those that like the estate car/sportwagon type of vehicle, this slightly rakish look should greatly appeal.
The Ceed Sportswagon PHEV is among the first vehicles in Europe to offer the brand’s innovative UVO Connect telematics system.
UVO Connect links drivers to the world around by providing invaluable information via the in-car touchscreen and on their smartphone.
It features Kia Live services and housed within the 10.25in TFT LCD widescreen, the system uses its own eSIM chip to retrieve and update live data during a drive.
This includes live traffic information, weather forecasts, points of interest, and details of potential on- and off-street parking (including price, location and parking availability).
The second element of the UVO Connect diagnostic data about owners’ cars and the trips they take, enables drivers to send route directions to their car before a journey, and enables them to check the location of their vehicle at any time.
Unique to the new Plug-in Hybrid variants, the systems incorporate new functionality to help owners locate available charging points in their vicinity, or en route to their navigation destination.
Ceed 1.6 GDi PHEV ‘3’ 6-speed DCT
Price: £29,995 on the road
Combined drive cycle figure of 188.3mpg
10.25″ Touchscreen Satellite Navigation with Telematics
7-speaker Audio System
Apple CarPlay with Voice Control
7 Year / 100,000 mile warranty