Kia XCeed PHEV review

Compact crossovers are big business, but then so too are plug-in vehicles. As such, Kia’s XCeed PHEV should fly off the forecourts; the thing is, there is increasing competition in the market the Korean firm has entered. Is this compact PHEV going to be good enough to tempt buyers in?

Review by Chris Lilly


Power comes from a 1.6 litre petrol engine and electric motor, producing a combined 139bhp and 265 Nm of torque. It’s not going to set the world alight, but a 0-62mph time of 10.4 seconds clearly shows where the car sits in terms of pace. Performance is adequate, but not much more than that.

However, the use of a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission makes the driving process considerably better than rivals that use a CVT set-up, and is easy to make smooth progress in the Kia. It’s best suited to town work, relying on the electric motor for much of the pick-up.


Handling is well suited to the performance characteristics. There’s certainly a focus on comfort, and the raised ride height aids this. The suspension will soak up much of any punishment British roads can dish out.

That said, there is impressively little body roll, and control is good. The steering is precise, but there’s very little feedback, and it would really be pushing things to say that the XCeed PHEV is a thrill to drive. It’s very good at offering an effortless drive though, and will suit a great many customers.


The XCeed certainly looks like the crossover version of the Ceed hatchback, though Kia has done a good job of making it part of the family whilst making sure it has its own identity. It’s stylish in a quiet way, and few buyers will be put off by the aesthetics.

It’s not the best design for those prioritising practicality, as the crossover looses a fair bit of rear occupant and boot space over the Ceed hatch. Those wanting a large boot and PHEV powertrain from Kia have plenty of choice in the shape of the Niro and Ceed SW PHEVS, so the compact interior dimensions matter less than you might think. There’s plenty of space of a young family or couple, but that’s about it.


Kia XCeed PHEV review interior

As interiors go, the XCeed’s isn’t going to single-handedly win over buyers. Then again, it’s not going to put them off either, and it impresses the more you spend time in it. Materials used are good, and the switchgear proves to be well thought out and nice to the touch.

The infotainment system is one of the best in its class. It lacks the glitz of some rival set-ups, but the more you use it, the more you realise how important intuitive layouts, slick design, fast responses, and crisp graphics are. Simple concepts, but beautifully delivered.


Here we come to the XCeed PHEV’s main selling point. Kia has a large number of efficient plug-in powertrains, and the XCeed computably sits in this group. Official fuel economy comes in at 201.8 MPG, with the caveat that the figure can easily be beaten or never come close to depending on how often you charge it.

With an official electric-only range of 30 miles on a charge, it really is a good idea to charge it often and make use of what is a very good figure. The real-world electric range is actually closer to 25 miles on a charge, but that’s still more than enough for most daily trips.


The familiar electric systems feature on the XCeed PHEV, with brake energy recuperation helping top up the battery on the go. There’s a drive mode select as well, allowing the driver to pick between Normal and Sport.

Charging the 8.9 kWh battery is carried out through a Type 2 inlet, and the Kia will take around two and a quarter hours for a full charge, at a maximum of 3.3 kW.


Trims are available in ‘3’ or First Edition specification, and both come well equipped. Entry level 3 comes with 16-inch alloys, LED headlights, automatic wipers and lights, cloth and faux leather upholstery, heated front seats and steering wheel, air conditioning, 10.25-inch touchscreen system with navigation and smartphone connectivity, and reversing camera and rear parking sensors.

First Edition adds 18-inch alloys, panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, electric driver’s seat, ventilated front seats and heated rear seats, smart cruise control, powered tailgate, wireless phone charger, and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.


Kia XCeed PHEV review rear

The XCeed PHEV isn’t going to blow buyers. Instead, it has a number of simple but clever features that will persuade drivers to pick the plug-in crossover, almost under the radar. It’s not the most practical car around, nor is it particularly dynamic. However, if neither of these attributes are a priority, the XCeed PHEV will prove a useful and efficient machine.

Model tested: Kia XCeed PHEV 3
Body-style: Crossover
Engine / CO2: 1.6 litre petrol engine and electric motor / 32 g/km
Trim grades: 3 and First Edition

On-road price: £30,695
Warranty: Seven years / 100,000 miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 3.0 Stars

Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:27th Sep 2020

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