Ceed and XCeed go PHEV

Say hi to yet another two plug in hybrid electric vehicles.

This time it’s the Kia Ceed and XCeed, built at Kia and Hyundai’s near human free factory in Žilina, Slovakia.

They combine a direct injection 1.6-litre petrol engine with a 44.5kW electric motor and a 8.9kWh lithium-polymer battery pack.

That gives them an all-electric range of around 37 miles, which should be suitable for most daily trips to the shops or the office.

The cars will also locate available charging points nearby, but don’t hold your breath for a result in the UK.

They go on sale across Europe in early 2020 with a seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty. The exact UK on-sale date has yet to be confirmed.

Total power and torque output is 141hp and 265Nm (196lb) of torque, giving the Ceed Sportswagon a 0-62mph time of 10.8s, and 11.0s for the XCeed. Top speed has not yet been released.

Good news for unsuspecting pedestrians is that both these usually silent cars will come with Kia’s new Virtual Engine Sound System, an audible warning which activates in electric-only mode at low speeds or when reversing.

It generates virtual sound levels of up to 59 dBA. What does that mean? I’ve no idea, but Google tells me that it is equivalent to: “Conversation in a restaurant or office, background music or an air conditioning unit from 100 feet.”

Each car has a closed front grille to increase aerodynamic efficiency, and the charging port is integrated into the left front wing of each car.

Both offer Kia’s 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment, or an optional 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment and navigation system.

Both systems come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, while the 10.25-inch system features Bluetooth multi-connection, enabling occupants to connect two mobile devices at once.

A “Driver Only” heating and air-con system – activated by a dashboard button – instantly deactivates 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 his or her preferred temperature.

Unlike conventional ventilation, Kia’s “Driver Only” system doesn’t restrict airflow to certain vents, rerouting it elsewhere. Instead, it switches off the fans themselves, reducing energy use.

The 8.9 kWh battery pack is located alongside the 37-litre fuel tank beneath the rear bench, unlike many other plug-in hybrids, in which the battery pack takes up valuable cargo space.

Both vehicles come with a charging indicator to tell owners that their car is charging or when the battery is fully-charged.

Its location on top of the dashboard means drivers can instantly see the car’s state of charge at a glance from outside it.

Interestingly, Kia say: “For instance, when it is parked at home and the owner hasn’t left the house.”

What they don’t add is: “To tell thieves whether it’s worth nicking or not.”