Station wagons are something like the "all-rounders" among cars: reasonable and practical, but not really sexy. The Golf Variant is the paragon and uncrowned king of the compact station wagons (that's what the abbreviation "station wagon" stands for), with its rivals following behind. Coming from a part of the world where the popular European body style plays no role at all, the third generation of the Kia Ceed Sportswagon is a serious rival to the Golf's throne.
Kia is the first manufacturer on the German market to offer a compact station wagon as a plug-in hybrid: The Ceed Sportswagon plug-in hybrid can travel up to 60 kilometers in electric mode and reach speeds of up to 120 kilometers per hour. It offers just as much space as normal in the interior designed for five adults and has a luggage compartment volume of 437 liters, which can be expanded as needed up to 1506 liters.
The parallel hybrid system with 141 hp total output combines a 105 hp 1.6-liter gasoline direct injection engine with a 60.5 hp electric motor and drives the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. The station wagon accelerates to 100 km/h in 10.8 seconds and reaches a top speed of up to 195 km/h, depending on equipment.
The 8.9 kW battery can be charged from zero to 100 percent in 135 minutes at a suitably powerful 240-volt charging station via the standard Type 2 charging port with a maximum power input of 3.3 kW.
Lifestyle turns the station wagon into a chic sports wagon
And, pardon me, the car is not a station wagon. This classification no longer exists. The Lifestyle makes it a Sportswagon. It just sounds fancier and is more likely to be found on a surf beach than in front of a hardware store. There, the plug-in Ceed as Sportswagon would also reveal its disadvantages. The battery installation doesn't cost any passenger space, but still 188 liters of trunk volume. However, the Ceed SW doesn't do a bad job of mastering the virtues of transport. 437 to 1506 liters it can load. The rear seat folds down comfortably in a 20:40:20 ratio. Thus, the cargo space configuration adapts meekly to the respective transport tasks. The payload is not quite sufficient due to the 170 kilogram battery. The maximum weight is 497 kilograms. However, the Ceed is still allowed to tow 1.3 metric tons. Comparable models must fit there.
Gasoline and e-machine work hand in hand
The powertrain is assembled according to common patterns. A non-supercharged, 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine works hand in hand with an electric motor. The combustion engine delivers 105 hp and 147 Newton meters (Nm) of torque peak, the electric motor brings it to 44.5 kW/60.5 hp and contributes 170 Nm. The coupling of both drives leads to a system performance of 141 hp. The is enough for acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 10.8 seconds, 195 km/h top speed is possible. Those who prescribe all-electric operation at the touch of a button can drive at speeds of up to 120 km/h, but not for long. Better with restrained pressure on the pedal. Then the battery power of 8.9 kWh is enough for up to 60 kilometers of driving. As with all drive models of this type, the fuel consumption figures tend to be window dressing. According to the standard, the Ceed Sportswagon Plug-in Hybrid needs 1.1 liters of gasoline for 100 kilometers. With a full battery, of course. When the battery charge is depleted, the gasoline engine, which then acts largely as a soloist, becomes thirsty like all its peers. Six to seven liters are then to be expected in practical driving conditions. We were on the road at normal speed mainly on country and federal roads and determined an average of 5.7 liters.
Gaining space with two operating systems
The battery is divided into two operating systems to save space. One is installed under the back seat, the other under the trunk floor, resulting in the loss of cargo volume. Standard on board is a charging system with 3.3 kW power. At appropriate charging stations, electric "refueling" is possible in 135 minutes. With the conventional connection to the domestic Schuko socket, the charging process takes five hours, for all those who use the electric Ceed for the way to work and home, a sufficiently short time to bring the battery back up to speed during the service time in operation.
System holds on to electric operation for a long time
In lively suburban traffic, the hybrid Kia proves to be a pleasant but not over-committed companion. Purely electric and therefore stress-free driving is possible, but makes acceleration processes rather sluggish and subsequent road users impatient. But the system sticks to electric operation for a long time. Only when nimble acceleration is called for, for example when threading, and the pedal is pressed to the floor plate, does the gasoline engine jump in clearly audibly and give the Kia the desired momentum. The standard dual-clutch transmission with six gears changes gear ratios nimbly and usually at the right time. The comfortable gearshifts met with great approval. The hybrid's agile handling in curves comes at the price of a comparatively stiff suspension. The steering meanwhile pleases with accuracy and good feedbacks. The brakes require a strong pedal, but still remain easy to control. The body lean is noticeable, but acceptable.
Many assistants and gimmicks come as standard
The Ceed Sportswagon Plug-in Hybrid offers standard LED headlights, an audio system with eight-inch touchscreen, a smartphone interface (Android Auto, Apple Carplay) with voice control, dual-zone automatic climate control, smart key, a rearview camera, rain and dusk sensors, rear parking sensors, height-adjustable and heated front seats. For convenience, there's a heated leather steering wheel, a Supervision instrument cluster with a 4.2-inch display, a self-dimming interior rearview mirror, power-folding exterior mirrors, fog lights and 16-inch alloy wheels. Depending on the version, the equipment package also includes, for example, 10.25-inch navigation including the Kia UVO Connect online services, a digital cockpit, leather upholstery, a power-adjustable driver's seat, front seat ventilation, a sensor-controlled power tailgate, a power glass sunroof and 17-inch alloy wheels.
The station wagon's range of assistance features is also comprehensive, with everything from front collision warning to high beam assist included as standard. In addition, depending on the equipment, there is a traffic jam assistant, an adaptive cruise control system with stop-and-go function, an intelligent parking system, a lane change assistant, a cross-traffic warning system and a traffic sign recognition system.
The price list for the Ceed SW Plug-in Hybrid starts at 34,990 euros. For this, there is the largely fully equipped entry-level version Vision. The next level up climbs the Spirit variant we drove (36,190 euros). DAB tuner, cross traffic alert and the traffic jam assistant are the main additional extras here. In the top-of-the-line Platinum Edition version, which costs 41,190 euros, the equipment standard includes 17-inch instead of 16-inch alloy wheels, a digital cockpit, navigation system, the three-way folding rear seat, heated rear seats and seat ventilation in the front.
Not a cheap, but inexpensive product
All in all the Ceed SW is not a cheap, but still a good value for money product. The government subsidy also provides an incentive to buy, and the reduced mileage taxation for company cars on the way to work also makes the bill interesting. In addition, Kia takes a top position in the warranty promises. Because where else is there a seven-year warranty?