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Kia Ceed family grows with two new PHEVs

As with most manufacturers nowadays, Kia is rapidly electrifying its model range in order to hit fleet emissions targets and diversify its offering. Looking through the glut of recent news, PHEVs are very much dish of the day, and for the first time two variants of the Kia Ceed – the Sportwagon and XCeed – have gained a plug-in powertrain.

Why these two versions of the Ceed specifically? Well it's a matter of packaging. At present, Kia's PHEV powertrain would require significant re-jigging to fit into the standard hatch whereas the Sportwagon and XCeed's additional wheelbase minimises the impact on interior space. Moreover, because sales of the Ceed family have been so strong – up 40.1 per cent in the first half of 2019 according to Kia Europe boss Emilio Herrera – it was imperative for the brand to get PHEVs onto the market.

Powertrain and performance

Both the Kia Ceed Sportwagon and XCeed utilise the same PHEV powertrain. This comprises the brand's tried-and-tested 1.6-litre 'Kappa' petrol engine aided by a 60bhp electric motor which draws energy from an 8.9kWh lithium-polymer battery. Combined, the total power output of each car is 139bhp and 195lb-ft of torque, enabling the Ceed Sportwagon to hit 62mph from rest in 10.8 seconds, and the XCeed in 11 seconds.

Kia hasn't finalised the WLTP range of the cars yet, but is targeting 37 miles on electric-only power – miles which will be accompanied by a 59dBA virtual engine sound system at low speeds. Similarly, CO2 emissions are yet to be finalised and will be announced in due course.

Sending the power to the front wheels is a six-speed, dual-clutch automatic gearbox (6DCT) in the PHEV Sportwagon and XCeed. Kia highlights the fact that whilst many traditional hybrids utilise e-CVT gearboxes (electronic constant variable transmission), these are subject to power losses, whereas the 6DCT gearbox is far more efficient.

Design and interior technology

Each car has some subtle exterior differences to differentiate them from their standard petrol and diesel counterparts. A new and aerodynamically efficient 'tiger-nose' grille defines the front of each car, and on the Sportwagon there are 'eco plug-in' badges. Charging ports are located on the nearside front wing of the cars, and within the wing are newly designed 16 inch standard alloy wheels. Optional 17 inch wheels are available on the Sportwagon and 18 inch wheels on the XCeed. The front bumper on the Sportwagon is from the GT-Line model, aiding aerodynamics.

Inside there is a range of new functionality specific to the PHEV variants. On top of the dashboard is a charging indicator which enables owners to see how much battery power remains before they leave on a journey. A standard eight inch or optional 10.25 inch infotainment and navigation system feature Kia's UVO Connect telematics.

The UVO Connect telematics system is unique to the PHEV cars and makes it easier for owners to find charging points, view energy levels and usage and schedule charging while their car is plugged in at home. Both the standard and optional infotainment systems are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible, while the optional system features Bluetooth multi-connectivity enabling up to two mobiles at once to connect.

Kia has overhauled the instrument cluster on the Sportwagon and XCeed PHEVs, displaying charge, electric-only range and energy flow. A fully-digital 12.3 inch 'Supervision' instrument cluster is available as an option.

Understanding that many journeys are made by single occupants – i.e. the driver – Kia has installed a standard 'Driver Only' ventilation system which, at the push of the button, isolates all of the heating and ventilation other than that for the driver. This reduces energy draw and further enhances the car's overall efficiency.

Packaging

As we mentioned, the reason behind Kia introducing its PHEV powertrain on the Sportwagon and XCeed versions of the Ceed family is down to space. With each car, there is minimal impact on interior room as designers have been able to stash the 8.9kWh battery pack and 37 litre fuel tank beneath the rear seats.

The Kia Ceed Sportwagon has 437 litres of luggage space, or 1506 litres with the rear split folding seats down. In the XCeed PHEV there is 291 litres of luggage space, growing to 1243 with the rear seats folded down. Both cars have a cubby hole in the boot floor for storing charging cables, ensuring that these don't impact on available room.

Prices for the Kia Ceed Sportwagon and XCeed PHEVs are yet to be released, but the cars will go on sale in early 2020.

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