WITH freezing conditions and generous helpings of snow, wheelworldreviews editor DAVID HOOPER finds testing an eco-friendly car more challenging than usual.
THIS week’s “roadtest” coincided with some of the worst wintry weather we have seen in years, which didn’t really help with the “road” part of the test.
Funny really – an eco-friendly car when the weather was bad. But were the inclement conditions due to global warming and climate change, or was it just a proper winter of the kind we used to get every year? It may have been the worst snow we have seen for a few years, but it has certainly not been the worst ever, as some old pictures of six-foot snow-drifts in the paper reminded me.
The fact that the arrival of one of the latest versions of Kia’s cee’d, equipped with its planet-saving EcoDynamics technology, designed to improve fuel consumption and reduce C02 emissions, arrived as the temperatures plummeted and the snow began to fall, is quite ironic – and slightly amusing.
The temperature gauge on the car didn’t show anything higher than two degrees during the few days I spent with the car, and for most of the time, it was in negative territory. What this meant in reality is that the Intelligent Stop and Go (ISG) system didn’t work once, as it is disabled if the temperature is too low to avoid putting too much strain on the car’s systems.
What it is meant to do is turn off the engine if the car slows to below 3mph, with the gear lever being put into neutral and the clutch pedal is released. An “Auto Stop” indicator should then appear in the instrument cluster. When the clutch pedal is pressed, the engine should then restart immediately, allowing the driver to continue on their way.
The system works automatically, and can be turned off by the driver if they so wish, but there are lots of parameters built in to prevent excess strain on the car’s systems and ensure safety. For example, it won’t work if the driver’s door is open, the driver’s seatbelt is unfastened or the bonnet is open. It will also be automatically turned off if the battery is too weak, the battery temperature is too low, or the engine temperature is too low.
The motor industry has gone further than most in cleaning up its act in recent years, and many manufacturers have introduced similar systems on their eco-friendly models which have become the latest trend. They work well, and can make a significant difference to fuel consumption in city traffic.
The system is available only on the 89bhp 1.6-litre CRDi diesel engine initially, but others may be added in future. With the ISG system, C02 emissions are cut from 119g/km to 110g/km, while the average fuel consumption rises to 67.3mpg. Other aids to economy are Michelin Energy Saver tyres with low rolling resistance and a six-speed gearbox (standard on all manual diesel cars) with an indicator on the dash to remind the driver of when to change gear to get the best economy results. The ISG system is also available on two other models in the cee’d range, the three-door pro_cee’d and the cee’d SW.
The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that this is the cee’d 2, Kia’s updated version of its popular mid-range car. The front end has been restyled and now looks even more like a Ford Focus, while the interior also benefits from the inclusion of some higher quality materials and more equipment, spread across three trim grades, badged cee’d 1, 2 and 3.
From the odd bit of clear road I did manage to find as the big thaw set in, I can tell you that the car cruises quietly at speed. With 60mph on the clock in sixth gear, the rev counter was only showing about 1,900rpm, which reinforces its economy credentials. The ride quality seemed pretty good as it clambered over icy ruts during a brief excursion onto the Wolds which was quickly abandoned for fear of getting stuck.
The car started and warmed up quickly after sitting out in sub-zero temperatures and regular coverings of fresh snow. I was also pleased to find the heater began to blow warm air quickly following a cold start.
All-in-all, the second generation of the cee’d is a step forward from the original model. It’s a tidy looking car that is now better equipped and more eco friendly.
And if the recent snowy weather is anything to go by, that’s no bad thing!
THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: Kia cee’d 1.6 CRDi FL ISG
RANGE: From pro-cee’d 1.4 1 (£11,595) to cee’d SW 1.6 3 auto (£17,495).
ENGINE: 1582cc, 89bhp four-cylinder engine, driving front wheels through 6-speed manual gearbox.
CO2 EMISSIONS: 110g/km.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 107mph. 0-62mph in 13.5 secs.
ECONOMY: City: 60.1mpg.
Fuel tank: 53 litres.
INSURANCE: Group N/A.
WARRANTY: 7 years/100,000 miles.