They also give away less of their boot space to their hybrid underpinnings, and by and large, they feel smoother, faster, quieter, more involving and less lumpen to drive.
What about if you’re a private buyer? Well, the Ceed is cheap, reliable, and its value should hold up pretty well. But surely there’s more to life than just that? Yes, the Ceed is a relatively cost-effective way of getting into a plug-in hybrid. But it isn’t that much cheaper than some genuinely capable alternatives. Spend a little extra on one of those, and you’ll end up with a whole lot more.
Telegraph rating: Two stars out of five
On test: Kia Ceed Sportswagon 3 PHEV
How much? £29,995 on the road
How fast? 106mph, 0-62mph in 10.5sec
How economical? 188.3mpg (WLTP Combined)
Engine/gearbox: 1,580cc four-cylinder petrol engine, 139bhp (total combined maximum), six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, front-wheel drive
The electric bits: AC transmission-mounted motor with 8.9kWh battery, 3.3kW on-board charger, Type 2 charging socket
Electric range: 29.2 miles
CO2 emissions: 33g/km
VED: £0 first year, then £140/year
Warranty: 7 years / 100,000 miles (mileage unlimited in first three years)
Boot size: 437 litres
Spare wheel as standard: Yes
Renault Megane Sport Tourer 1.6 E-Tech 160 Iconic
158bhp, 217.3mpg, £30,995 on the road
By comparison with the Ceed, Renault’s plug-in Megane estate is a honey to drive with a slick, smooth powertrain and a blissfully comfortable ride. It comes with the peace-of-mind of a five-year warranty, too, though a mildly terrifying resale values mean it works best when someone else is paying for it.
Seat Leon Estate 1.4 TSI E-Hybrid 204 FR
201bhp, 235.4mpg, £32,000 on the road
The new Leon boasts all the flair the Ceed so lacks. In plug-in form, it also offers a heap more power, better fuel economy, lower CO2 emissions, and even a few miles’ more electric range. If you’re buying, it’s just £2,000 more, and as a company car the tax bill is even cheaper than the Ceed’s. Sounds like a no-brainer to us.
Toyota Corolla Touring Sports 2.0 Hybrid Design
181bhp, 56.4mpg, £29,615 on the road
The non-plug-in option is a tempting one. This Corolla has one of the best hybrid powertrains out there at the moment, yet it’ll cost you less than the Ceed to buy, and if you haven’t got anywhere to plug in, you’ll probably get better fuel efficiency too. What’s more, the Corolla looks smart inside and out.
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