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KIA XCEED PHEV

Is it a Hatch, is it a five-door Coupe, is it a SUV, in reality, it falls into all of these categories. If it was to be put on a list for an award, I’m not really sure which it should go on, it could even go on the ‘Best Plug-In’, so for now let’s just call it the XCeed.

This is the fourth member of the Ceed family and shares the same wheelbase as the Ceed hatchback. The Ceed family has been designed and built in Europe with over 1.3 million sold so far.

The Xceed I had on test from KIA UK Press Office was the new PHEV (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle) and was the ‘3’ model, powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine that produces 104bhp, is coupled to a 6-speed DCT automatic gearbox. It accelerates from 0-60mph in 10.4 seconds, and has a top speed of 107mph, where permitted, which is virtually nowhere.

But it also has the advantage of also having an electric motor that produces the equivalent of 32bhp, giving it a total of 139bhp, so how does this Plug-In system work?

As it says, it is a Plug-In, so guess what, you have to plug it in, but then again, you don’t have to if you don’t want to! I had to use a standard household 3-Pin plug, just inside my front door, as my wall box, that charges a bit quicker, is in my garage and using this box means taking my old Mini out and putting it on the road. Sounds easy, but really not worth all the effort. So the front door option it was, which meant leaving the front door slightly ajar while charging, so couldn’t be done overnight in my personal circumstances.

The advertised range when fully charged is 36.6 miles, but after a charge of around three-hours it was fully charged, and showing a 31 mile range. It’s basically a petrol-engine car, but I’d say it’s cleverer than that, it will self-charge itself, for example, when you are slowing down, or going downhill. If you are coasting and don’t need any power, the engine will automatically turn off, so you save fuel and reduce emissions. But if you want to go completely on full electric you can press a button and it will travel purely on the batteries with zero-emissions. I went from Huddersfield to Bicester, mainly on motorways and at maximum motorway speeds, and the XCeed achieved 56mpg, which I thought was a great result for a large petrol-powered car.

The KIA XCEED is a good looking car, whether it’s a hatch or SUV, the designers have certainly got the styling just right, but it’s not just the exterior that has appeal, the interior is just as pleasing. Despite the slightly sloping roofline to give it a bit of a Coupe/Sporty look, there is still plenty of headroom for rear seat passengers. The boot is also a good size, even though there are some batteries hidden away, somewhere under the floor.

KIA hasn’t forgotten about safety either, with a great long list of standard features, including: Lane Assist, Lane Following Assist, Driver’s Attention Warning, Forward Collision-avoidance Assist, and so the list goes on. KIA has of course, put a load of standard goodies in the car, again the list is long, but do include heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, which are great in winter to keep you feeling cosy and warm.

The driving dynamics are not spectacular, it’s not a sports car, and you wouldn’t expect it to be the quickest or best handling car on the road. But where it falls down on driving appeal, it gains on comfort. It’s the sort of car you can sit in for hour after hour, mile after mile. It is such a lovely car to either drive, or be passenger in. This is a good all-round car and does a lot of things so well, especially fuel economy and comfort. I hope it’s one of those cars that makes it on to people’s choice lists because it’s worth a look. This high spec version of the car costs £30,695 in the UK, which does look good value.

Martin Ward

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