From £18,2957
Plug-in Ceed Sportswagon makes for a practical, no-frills PHEV. We see how this new Kia fares on UK roads

What is it?

This is the plug-in hybrid version of Kia’s venerable Ceed Sportswagon. Along with the newly introduced Xceed PHEV, it’s the first variant in the now quite expansive Ceed family to feature both a plug socket and a petrol motor. A plug-in version of the regular hatch is expected to arrive later this year, too, and perhaps there’ll be a Proceed PHEV at some point as well. But for now, this is it.

The Ceed Sportswagon PHEV uses the same powertrain as the already established Niro PHEV. So there’s a small, normally aspirated 1.6-litre four-pot mated to a 79bhp electric motor to drive the front wheels. An 8.9kWh lithium ion battery is in the mix, too, giving the plug-in Ceed the ability to travel up to 35 miles on electricity alone. Hook it up to a 3kW home charger and you’ll be able to top it up in around two and a quarter hours.

The Ceed Sportswagon PHEV is available in just one trim, which in the UK is the £29,995 ‘3’ specification. Covid-19 complications meant that our test car was a European-spec left-hooker, but it was nonetheless representative of the car you’d actually buy here in Britain.

There’s loads of kit as standard, such as satellite navigation, heated seats, 17in alloy wheels and dual-zone climate control. A comprehensive array of active safety systems is included, too, as is Kia’s latest UVO Connect infotainment suite, which uses its own eSIM chip to let you know where things like public charge points and parking spaces are. True to Kia form, the only option you really need to decide on is which colour you want.

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What's it like?

Impressively grown-up and well rounded in some ways, and less impressive in others. But let’s start with the positives. It rides in a tidy fashion thanks to its MacPherson-strut front and multi-link rear suspension, with decent vertical body control and good resistance to ruts and bumps and the like. Motorways, country lanes and inner city streets - it handles them all with relatively little fuss or bother.

It handles sweetly enough, too, with good front-end response and more than enough grip in day-to-day driving. Although there is a slightly fake-feeling sense of weight about the wheel as you add lock, the steering is nonetheless accurate. Body roll becomes a bit more pronounced as you pick up speed, but you’d never say the Ceed feels loose or wayward. It lacks the zest and some of the poise you’d get in a Ford Focus, sure, although many will probably like it for its slightly more no-frills approach to getting down a road.

The interior is typical Kia, in that it looks and feels very well made in its construction, with a layout that prioritises ease of use - but also one that lacks a bit of flair. There’s loads of adjustability in the electrically operated driver’s seat and for the steering column. This is a comfortable car to pilot and likely a comfortable one for rear passengers, too, thanks to decent leg and head room.

Boot space takes a fairly massive hit in the PHEV, though. Whereas standard Ceed Sportswagons offer a seats-up capacity of 625 litres, this drops to 437 litres in the PHEV model because the battery eats into underfloor storage.

Although the 35-mile electric-only range that battery gives the Ceed PHEV is competitive, the rest of the powertrain isn’t particularly remarkable. Rely on the electric motor and the Ceed barely has enough grunt to get out of its own way and you have to really dig deep into the throttle pedal’s travel to accrue any meaningful pace.

The transition from electric to petrol power is sufficiently smooth, but even with both motors running, the Ceed still feels slow. So you bury your right foot even deeper into the footwell, which helps your progress to an extent but also shows the 1.6-litre petrol engine to be quite a loud, gruff-sounding powerplant under load. At least it’s much more settled when you’re at a steady cruise.

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Should I buy one?

Perhaps - but only if you understand that to get anywhere near its claimed 188mpg economy figure, you’ll have to use it primarily for short hops around town so you can make the most of its 35-mile electric-only range. You’ll want to ensure you can reliably charge at home, too, because using the petrol engine to do so will eat into any fuel savings you might have previously achieved. But the same goes for any PHEV, really.

Of course, for those approaching the Ceed Sportswagon PHEV from a company car point of view, there’s the added advantage of heavily reduced benefit-in-kind tax that cars of this type offer. And that’ll stand regardless of whether you actually use it with the battery topped up or not.

But if you are sold on the idea of a plug-in hybrid as your next car, you’d do well to consider the Skoda Superb iV, too. It’s vastly more practical and comfier and its electrified powertrain generally feels more cleverly integrated and powerful than the Ceed’s. But then so it should: not only is it bigger than the Kia, but with prices starting at £33,590, it’s a few thousand pounds pricier, too. I know where my money would go.

Kia Ceed Sportswagon 1.6 GDi PHEV '3' specification

Where Oxfordshire, UK Price £29,995 On sale Now Engine 4 cyls, 1580cc, petrol, plus electric motor Power 139bhp at 4000rpm (system output) Torque 196lb ft at 4000rpm (system output) Gearbox 6-spd dual-clutch automatic Kerb weight 1614kg Top speed 106mph 0-62mph 10.5sec Fuel economy 188.3mpg CO2 22g/km Rivals Hyundai Ioniq PHEV, Skoda Superb iV PHEV

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sportnewsng 26 July 2020

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Nice and affodable products. Thanks for sharing

nimmler 20 July 2020

30 grand for a bland korean junk car?

typical koreans copying the Japanese, this is a cynical ripoff of the miles better UK built Toyota Collora hybrid sports tourer. Do koreans ever innovate and not take the easy route and copy Japanese and German cars? I understand the Japanese resemblance in the 80s-early00’s because Japanese companies helped build south koreas automotive industry but in 2020 the skoreans need to stand on their own two feet kia soul=Nissan Cube/Toyota bB ripooff kia stonic = Nissan Juke ripoff Kia Amanti= Mercedes w210 e class ripoff kia optima = copy and paste intror from Audi This is why korean cars will NEVER be taken seriously because kia and hyundais stand for nothing! They always copy, steal and plagiarise other brands and in the end their cars alawys look like a generic design mess with mediocre engines and interiors..

The Apprentice 20 July 2020

nimmler wrote:

nimmler wrote:

typical koreans copying the Japanese, this is a cynical ripoff of the miles better UK built Toyota Collora hybrid sports tourer. Do koreans ever innovate and not take the easy route and copy Japanese and German cars? I understand the Japanese resemblance in the 80s-early00’s because Japanese companies helped build south koreas automotive industry but in 2020 the skoreans need to stand on their own two feet kia soul=Nissan Cube/Toyota bB ripooff kia stonic = Nissan Juke ripoff Kia Amanti= Mercedes w210 e class ripoff kia optima = copy and paste intror from Audi This is why korean cars will NEVER be taken seriously because kia and hyundais stand for nothing! They always copy, steal and plagiarise other brands and in the end their cars alawys look like a generic design mess with mediocre engines and interiors..

Utter tosh, the Corolla is not a PHEV. So to make it simple for you, the KIA company driver will pay only £11.70 a week in company car tax, A Corolla hybrid would cost £32 a week, or in other words a £1000 a year more if a lower rate payer,  £2000 a year moreless if higher rate  earner.

mrking 20 July 2020

Wow.

"Korean Cars will NEVER be taken seriously" - I agree this car is pretty bland but your dismissal of the whole Korean car industry is ridiculous - Hyundai's revenue is bigger than BMW for example and unlike a lot of car makers, they have vison and access to technology and will make the leap to electric better than many.

Balders 20 July 2020

KIA design

KIA cars were for many years designed by Peter Schreyer who used to design AUDI's. 

xxxx 20 July 2020

Insane

Tax dodgers only and bizarrely people who want an estate but only wish to lug two thirds of the cargo a normal estate of this size should take.  It's slow unless both engines are running and it's £30k, will take a private buyer forever to repay the extra cost, and weight, of the battery.

The Apprentice 20 July 2020

xxxx wrote:

xxxx wrote:

Tax dodgers only and bizarrely people who want an estate but only wish to lug two thirds of the cargo a normal estate of this size should take.  It's slow unless both engines are running and it's £30k, will take a private buyer forever to repay the extra cost, and weight, of the battery.

Like a stuck record, every PHEV, same comments. Even though they were never meant for you as you don't get a company car so the endless repeated comments are pointless. Why can't you just be happy for the people that these cars mean handling over less money to the government in tax for simply having a vehicle as a tool of their trade? unfairly over taxed under the pathetic excuse of worshiping the Eco demi-god when we all know its just a cash cow.

Tax dodgers? the envy that you never made it far enough in life to qualify for a company car, try to get over it.

xxxx 20 July 2020

Poor car for £30k regardless of not paying fair taxes

The Apprentice wrote:

xxxx wrote:

Tax dodgers only and bizarrely people who want an estate but only wish to lug two thirds of the cargo a normal estate of this size should take.  It's slow unless both engines are running and it's £30k, will take a private buyer forever to repay the extra cost, and weight, of the battery.

Like a stuck record, every PHEV, same comments. Even though they were never meant for you as you don't get a company car so the endless repeated comments are pointless. Why can't you just be happy for the people that these cars mean handling over less money to the government in tax for simply having a vehicle as a tool of their trade? unfairly over taxed under the pathetic excuse of worshiping the Eco demi-god when we all know its just a cash cow.

Tax dodgers? the envy that you never made it far enough in life to qualify for a company car, try to get over it.

Take it on the chin mate and get over it. Estate cars with a third of the capacity removed and £5k added to price are not the answer to anything. I'd never envious when seeing someone driving this, epsecially it's target audience,  Uber drivers!   

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