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Kia XCeed 1.6 GDi PHEV ‘3’ Review

The Kia XCeed is a ‘compact crossover’, a popular segment for car buyers, and it’s available as a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) with an official fuel economy figure of 201.7mpg.

  • Kia XCeed PHEV
  • Kia XCeed PHEV
  • Kia XCeed PHEV
  • Kia XCeed PHEV
  • Kia XCeed PHEV
  • Kia XCeed PHEV
  • Kia XCeed PHEV
  • Kia XCeed PHEV
  • Kia XCeed PHEV
  • Kia XCeed PHEV
  • Kia XCeed PHEV
  • Kia XCeed PHEV
Green Car Guide Rating: 6/10

Key stats

  • Model/Engine size:  Kia XCeed 1.6 GDi PHEV ‘3’
  • Fuel:  Petrol-electric plug-in hybrid
  • Fuel economy combined (WLTP):  201.7 mpg
  • Electric range (WLTP):  30 miles

Summary

  • XCeed is a ‘compact crossover’ – a popular segment for car buyers
  • Best-selling model in Ceed family
  • PHEV offers 30 miles of electric range – in theory
  • In practice, our test car ran on its petrol engine almost the entire time we had the car on test

Background

The Kia XCeed went on sale in the UK in 2019. It has become the best-selling model in the Kia Ceed line-up (there’s also the hatchback, Sportswagon and ProCeed), The XCeed is Kia’s third best-selling model, behind the Sportage and Niro, and it accounted for 10 per cent of total Kia sales in the UK in 2021. Over 120,000 XCeed units have been sold in Europe.

Kia XCeed PHEVKia XCeed PHEV

Design & Engineering

The Kia XCeed received some minor visual updates for 2022, including, at the front, new LED headlamps, a revised grille and front bumper, and at the rear, new LED tail lights and a new diffuser. However most people aren’t likely to notice much difference compared to the XCeed that went on sale in 2019.

The Kia XCeed PHEV has a plug-in hybrid powertrain which combines a 1.6-litre petrol direct injection (GDi) engine with an 8.9kWh li-ion polymer battery pack, a 44.5kW electric motor and a six-speed DCT transmission.

Boot space isn’t huge, at 291 litres, and this is smaller than the petrol XCeed (426 litres). Rear leg room is also quite tight.

The XCeed still has Kia’s ‘old’ interior, which is perfectly easy to use, with clear buttons such as those for the heated seats and heated steering wheel, and shortcut buttons under the touchscreen, but it’s not as modern or stylish as the dashboard in the latest Kia Niro or EV6.

Kia XCeed PHEVKia XCeed PHEV

Kia XCeed PHEV Driving Experience

The basic concept of the Kia XCeed is good, ie. a compact hatchback with slightly raised ground clearance; this should be practical and fun to drive.

The whole point of a plug-in hybrid powertrain is that you charge it up and the battery gives you around 30 miles of electric range. The XCeed PHEV has a button marked EH/HEV, which gives you the drive options of Auto, Hybrid or Electric. The idea is that you select Electric and you drive locally for up to 30 miles on zero tailpipe-emission electric power then plug it in, charge it up, and drive on electric power again.

However this isn’t what happened during our week with the Kia XCeed PHEV. Despite selecting Electric at the start of every drive, the car ran on its petrol engine for virtually the entire time that we had the car – including when at a standstill at traffic lights. This is even when in ‘Eco’ drive mode. The only other drive mode is Sport (there’s no ‘Normal’ drive mode). The XCeed PHEV basically operated like a hybrid rather than a plug-in hybrid.

During the very rare few miles when the XCeed was using electric power, there was very little performance. This is because the electric motor only produced 79hp, which isn’t enough to propel a car weighing 1,594 kg with any dynamism. And if you’re on electric power, the only drive mode you can select is Eco, which dials down the car’s responses.

If the XCeed was using its petrol engine, and was in Eco mode, the performance was still poor. If you select the only other drive mode choice of Sport, then the petrol engine was revvy, strained and noisy. And the petrol engine has turbo lag, as opposed to the instant torque and responses of an electric powertrain.

The XCeed was on test in December, when temperatures were hovering at around zero degrees, which may have had an impact on the car’s inability to run on electric power, and it may also have had an impact on the level of grip levels from the front-wheel drive chassis, which was very poor. Despite small 16-inch alloy wheels, and high profile tyres, ride quality wasn’t great.

The XCeed doesn’t have any steering wheel-mounted paddles, but you can change gear manually using the gear selector.

Kia XCeed PHEVKia XCeed PHEV

Kia XCeed PHEV Economy and Emissions

The Kia XCeed PHEV has a combined electric range of 29.8 miles, and a city range of 36.6 miles. This results in WLTP combined fuel economy of 201.7 mpg and CO2 emissions of 32 g/km. Because our car refused to run on electric power during its week on test it’s perhaps no surprise that the XCeed only averaged 34.3mpg. The car was charged when it arrived and displayed a range of 27 miles; the car wasn’t charged during the remainder of the test because the battery was virtually never used and so its charge never dropped below 80%. The total petrol range was displayed as 429 miles.

It should take 2.15 hours to fully charge the XCeed’s battery using a domestic plug socket.

Kia XCeed PHEVKia XCeed PHEV

Price and Model Range

The Kia XCeed 1.6 GDi PHEV ‘3’ – the only trim level for the PHEV model – costs £32,995.

Kia XCeed PHEVKia XCeed PHEV

Conclusion

The XCeed PHEV demonstrates how much progress Kia has made since the car went on sale in 2019. The XCeed features ‘previous-generation’ plug-in hybrid technology, and like other cars that we’ve tested using the same PHEV system, such as the Hyundai IONIQ PHEV, it ran on its petrol engine almost all of the time, which completely defeats the purpose of a plug-in hybrid. So the Kia XCeed PHEV ends up with a Green Car Guide rating of 6/10.

However, since the XCeed went on sale in the UK, we regard Kia as having made more progress than any other car manufacturer, particularly in the area of electric cars. Today, the Kia EV6 is one of the best cars – electric or otherwise – that you can buy. So our recommendation would be not to buy an XCeed PHEV, but instead to go all-electric, with the latest Soul EV, or the new Niro EV, or, if possible, the excellent EV6.

Car facts and figures Kia XCeed 1.6 GDi PHEV ‘3’ Review

  • Test economy: 34.3 mpg
  • CO2 emissions (WLTP): 32 g/km
  • Vehicle tax rate (VED):  TBC
  • Benefit in Kind (BIK) company car tax liability (2022/23): 12%
  • Price:  £32,995
  • Insurance group:  15E
  • Power:  104 bhp (Engine) 139 bhp (Combined)
  • Torque:  147 Nm (Engine) 265 Nm (Combined)
  • Max speed:  99 mph
  • 0-62 mph:  10.6 seconds
  • Weight:  1,594 kg
  • Towing capacity: 1,300 kg
Paul Clarke

Review by:
Paul Clarke, GreenCarGuide Editor