This week I am road testing the first plug in hybrid in the Ceed range. The XCeed PHEV.
Unlike its petrol and diesel stablemates the XCeed PHEV comes in just one trim level and its priced at just under €29,000.
Before I go further. I frankly am not a fan of plug in hybrids.
Why? Because they are too much of a compromise. On average most plug in hybrids manage no more than a max of 50k range on battery power alone.
And that's optimistic for most. Yet you have to spend time finding a change point (yes here are nearly not enough) or invest in a home charger and then go through the hassle of plugging it in each and every time just to get 30 to 50 km of electric motoring.
Result. Many owners tell me they plug in “when I remember or when it suits” many just opting to drive on the petrol engine.
Yet when you do this the economy is not as good as its petrol or indeed diesel stablemate as you are now driving around with extra weight, of lugging a battery and an electric motor.
More weight, more emissions more fuel burn. So where is the logic in that?
If you buy a PHEV you must be disciplined and plug in to get the best from it. For some 30-50km electric range may be enough but for most its not.
Has it got any street cred?
Most certainly! This is one very attractive looking car. I really like the sweeping coupe-like lines, the distinctive light clusters front and rear, and the lovely two tone alloy wheels.
There are also some lovely dramatic colours.
So what's it like inside?
The cabin looks very well indeed. It all looks and feels good and feels well screwed together.
The driving position is just about perfect and the specification is generous too.
I like the infotainment system, with its clear 10.25 inch touchscreen, Apple car play, Android auto, allowing two devices to be connected at one time.
The system is easy and simple to use with clear menus and good graphics. I really must commend Kia on the quality and feel of the interior.
All the usual electric goodies come as standard in addition to artificial (leather look) trim, wireless phone charging, multifunction steering wheel. and a host of safety kit including Driver Attention Alert, Cruise control, High Beam assist, LED lights, Collision Avoidance Assist and of course multiple airbags.
Accommodation is pretty good despite that sloping roofline and the load area is a good size albeit a bit smaller than the 426 litres in the petrol or diesel version due to the battery.
You also loose the saver spare wheel!
What is under the bonnet?
A 1.6 litre petrol engine combined with a 8.9kWh battery powering an 44.5 kW electric motor. In reality I managed about 39 km on a full charge. It burned 7.8 litres per 100km on fuel and road tax is €170.00.
Will I enjoy driving it?
The new XCeed PHEV is designed to appeal to those looking for a more sporty looking crossover. Its added weight however dulls the handling and the steering feels unduly heavy.
The XCeed PHEV manages to be quiet and refined at all speeds and the suspension set up does a good job of dealing with our more challenging roads.
So what is the verdict?
Honestly I would buy the excellent petrol or diesel version the XCeed. Lighter, more nimble. Better to drive. Simple as that. The PHEV benefits are not enough for me anyway.