Kia Ceed SW PHEV review

As electric vehicle manufacturers go, Kia is one of the strongest around. So it should come as no surprise that it’s pushing ahead with electrifying just about everything in sight. The latest model to receive the plug-in treatment is the Ceed SW PHEV estate, arriving at a similar time to the Xceed PHEV crossover - the Korean firm is certainly covering plenty of bases.

Review by Chris Lilly


Also found in the Xceed PHEV and the Niro PHEV, the Ceed SW PHEVs powertrain uses a 1.6 litre petrol engine and electric motor for a combined 139bhp. Throw in 265 Nm of torque, and the Ceed SW PHEV gets to 62mph from zero in 10.5 seconds. It’s the sort of figure we’ve come to expect from the system having experienced it in other models, and it works similarly here.

Power is best accessed gently so as to keep the Ceed SW PHEV refined rather than raucous. Push on hard and the engine will get distinctly thrummy - however, drive to its strengths - efficiently - and the Kia will respond nicely. It’s easy to pilot in town or out, and the engine isn’t harsh at motorway speeds, thanks in part to a six-speed dual clutch automatic transmission.


The Ceed SW is a sensible car; spacious, efficient, and excellent value for money. The handling reflects these attributes, so don’t go expecting a sleeper model, or something that is going to set the heart racing. Body control is good, and the suspension is well balanced between stiff and soft settings. It will deal with urban routes comfortably enough, but it performs best on motorways, where its length and set-up allow for a comfortable cruise.

The steering is fairly light but precise. There is little feedback though, and the driver feels somewhat distanced from the act of steering. It’s all very relaxing, but certainly not going to buyers looking for a “drivers’ car”. Fits well with overall impression the Ceed SW PHEV presents though.


There aren’t a lot of estated-hatchbacks on the market, but the Ceed is one of them. In SW form, the quietly stylish hatch loses a little of its visual appeal, but the estate is still a decent looking machine. Those prioritising style can opt for the excellent Proceed anyway.

Benefits are certainly felt inside, where the Ceed SW is one of the most practical plug-in models Kia makes - and there are a fair few of them. The boot spaces significantly hit in this PHEV version thanks to the need to house various electrical elements. It remains a good size and shape, and will comfortably cope with a family’s worth of luggage for a holiday. Rear head and leg room is good as well, so occupants will feel well catered for throughout.


Kia Ceed SW PHEV review interior

Anyone that has sat in a Kia in the past few years won’t be surprised by the Ceed SW PHEVs - it’s typical of Kia’s current offerings. That’s to say it lacks flair, but is well made, thought-out, and equipped. Effectively identical to the standard Ceed SW’s cabin, the PHEV uses a range of good quality materials throughout, and the buttons, switches, and dials are all solidly installed.

There’s no feeling of economy about, and the Kia is an easy to use car too. A large touchscreen system controls most functions, but there are physical controls for key elements for improved access. Exciting, it isn’t; it is good though.


Efficiency is the key attribute for this car, and Kia’s systems do a good job in this regard. It’s rated at returning 188.3 MPG, with an electric-only range of 29 miles. Charging is the key variable here, as drivers could comfortably beat that fuel economy figure, or fall woefully short.

After more than 500 miles and occasional charging, the trip computer was showing an average of 72 MPG; a good general figure, and in fact lower than many will see. I had a couple of long trips during that time, where a single charge was used over the course of 200 miles each time. Realistic electric-only range is around 23 miles when sticking to EV mode.


The Ceed SW PHEV is currently available in one trim level - ‘3’. It comes with everything you might ‘need’ though, and has plenty of equipment listed to tempt buyers in. The rest of the Ceed SW range starts a ‘2’, and then after ‘3’ moves into sportier GT Line and GT trims.

There’s a drive mode select system that can be switched between Normal and Sport, and Kia has added brake energy recuperation to improve efficiency.


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.

Fitted as standard are 17-inch alloys, rear privacy glass, LED headlights, automatic wipers and lights, part cloth/part leather upholstery, air conditioning, cruise control, 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and smartphone compatibility, and rear parking sensors & camera.


Kia Ceed SW PHEV review rear

It’s not a car to pick with the heart - the Kia Ceed SW PHEV is a little too sensible for that - but the head will certainly be tempted. Suiting company car drivers and those that mostly cover short trips with with regular longer runs, the Kia is a practical compact estate that can save buyers plenty in running costs.

Model tested: Kia Ceed SW PHEV 3
Body-style: Estate
Engine / CO2: 1.6 litre petrol engine and electric motor / 33 g/km
Trim grades: Just one

On-road price: £30,540
Warranty: Seven years / 100,000 miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 3.0 Stars

Olly Goodall

Author:Olly Goodall
Date Updated:29th Sep 2020

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