Kia XCeed PHEV review

The Kia XCeed hybrid isn't sporty or satisfying to drive, but its mix of quality, style and affordable running costs mean it still has plenty of appeal

Kia XCeed PHEV
£30,695 - £34,695
Plug-in hybrid

Pros

  • Stylish looks
  • Good electric range
  • Nice interior and infotainment

Cons

  • Feels a bit sluggish
  • Batteries hit practicality
  • More expensive than petrol
Car type Electric range Fuel economy CO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid 36 miles 168-202mpg 32g/km

Kia was one of the first manufacturers to go big on plug-in hybrid (PHEV) technology, with its Niro PHEV SUV and now-discontinued Optima PHEV estate models. While those cars faced only a limited field of competitors, more and more brands are entering the fray of late.

This new Kia XCeed PHEV – a stylish-looking family crossover – faces rivals like the Renault Captur E-TECH, Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid, Ford Kuga Plug-In Hybrid, Skoda Octavia iV and Volkswagen Golf GTE. There's also the less stylish but more practical Kia Ceed Sportswagon PHEV for buyers to consider.

Although no longer eligible for a plug-in car grant from the government, plug-in hybrids continue to be an attractive financial proposition thanks to the potential for zero-emissions electric running (up to 36 miles in the XCeed's case) and low Benefit-in-Kind company-car tax (10% for the 2020-21 financial year). Manufacturers are also keen to sell as many of them as possible to help meet strict CO2 emissions targets laid down by the EU.

The XCeed PHEV's powertrain is familiar from other plug-in Kias: a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine making 105hp, paired with an electric motor making 60bhp, for a total power combined output of 139bhp, delivered to the wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox. The battery is the same 8.9kWh unit seen in the Niro PHEV, but as the XCeed is a smidge lighter and more aerodynamic, it betters that car's 30-mile pure-electric range.

Kia XCeed PHEV

It follows, then, that using the same powertrain as other plug-in Kias means the XCeed PHEV is subject to many of the same compromises as those cars: namely, it's heavier (by 115kg), has less luggage space (135 litres less, to be precise) and is more expensive than a comparable turbocharged petrol XCeed.

And unlike some plug-in hybrids, the XCeed PHEV isn't exactly overburdened with power, feeling a bit sluggish under acceleration and when overtaking, which contradicts the model's supposedly youthful and sporty character. Sport mode does improve things a little, but at the cost of some ride comfort.

However, if you prefer to just drive from A to B sedately rather than pushing the car's handling limits on every journey, you probably won't be too bothered by such shortcomings, and happy to enjoy the running-costs savings the XCeed's powertrain brings. So while the XCeed hybrid's driving experience may disappoint some – and even send them in the direction of rival models – this is still a good looking, good value and cheap-to-run small family SUV that will tick a lot of boxes for many.

For a more detailed look at the Kia XCeed PHEV, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...