Kia want to rapidly electrify the models in its range, so it has important plans for 2020. The first on the list are two compact models.

After we had electrified versions of the Niro, Soul and Sportage, Kia is expanding the line-up even further with the launch of Plug-in Hybrid versions of the recently introduced all-new Kia XCeed and the stylish and practical Ceed Sportswagon. Each is powered by a 1.6-litre GDi engine combined with an electric motor and 8.9kWh battery pack to produce 139bhp and 265Nm of torque.

The new Kia XCeed and Ceed Sportswagon Plug-in Hybrid offer a compelling alternative to conventional petrol and diesel models. The new powertrain combines a lithium-polymer battery pack, an electric motor, and an efficient 1.6-litre GDi (Gasoline Direct injection) engine.

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The powertrain is paired with a six-speed dual-clutch auto transmission (6DCT), ensuring a more enjoyable drive than other hybrid vehicles equipped with electronic continuously variable transmissions (e-CVT). Traditional e-CVT hybrids convert a portion of engine output through the electric motor, resulting in power losses from energy conversion. Kia’s six-speed dual clutch differs by allowing the full output of both the engine and motor to be transferred in parallel through the transmission, with minimal loss of energy. Standard regenerative braking technology allows the new Plug-in Hybrid models to harvest kinetic energy and recharge their battery packs while coasting or braking, further enhancing the overall efficiency of the powertrain.

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Each car has a new closed ‘tiger-nose’ grille at the front of the car to aid aerodynamic efficiency and feature distinct ‘eco plug-in’ exterior badges. The charging port is integrated into the left front wing of each car.

The ‘Driver Only’ heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system – activated with a new button on the dashboard – instantly de-activates airflow to all cabin vents except those nearest the driver. This is designed to reduce the draw on battery energy from the ventilation system, while still keeping the driver at their preferred temperature. Unlike conventional ventilation systems, Kia’s ‘Driver Only’ system doesn’t simply restrict airflow to certain vents, rerouting it elsewhere; instead, it switches off the fans themselves, reducing energy use at source.

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The next stage in Kia’s electrification strategy, the new Plug-in Hybrid versions of the Kia XCeed and Ceed Sportswagon are the first time that the company has offered low-emissions electrified powertrains in the compact family car segment. They are also the first plug-in models to be built by the brand in Europe, made exclusively at the Slovakian factory in Žilina.