Kia will go electric, in a small way at least, when it introduces the Ceed with a stop-start system early in 2009. The Ceed ISG (Idle Stop and Go) will be the first of a series of new, green, technologies on the way from Kia which is also working on hybrids and fuel cell cars.
How does this Kia Ceed ISG work?
Stop and go systems give the greatest real-world benefit in urban conditions when creeping along in traffic and are less effective if your journeys' don’t involve many stops. But from the manufacturers’ point of view it looks good on paper anyway, because the ECE test cycle includes 12 stops. The system cuts in when the car comes to a halt, the driver selects neutral and engages the clutch. It doesn’t kick in if you sit at the lights riding the clutch either in gear or in neutral.
Will it wear out?
The conventional starter motor has been beefed up to withstand 300,000 start cycles during its life rather than the usual 50,000. Although adding stop-start seems fairly simple, there are quite a number of other things that have to be added too, such as a crank sensor, a beefed-up battery and switches to monitor the position of the brake, clutch and gear selector.
Click 'Next' below to read more of our Kia Ceed ISG drive
Are there any other features?
Like most of the latest powertrains, the 1.4 ISG also makes use of ‘intelligent alternator management’ which simply means that the engine’s ECU chooses the most economical time to let the alternator charge the battery. When an alternator is charging it saps horsepower from the engine. So using strategies that restrict charging to when the car is slowing or coasting saves small amounts of fuel.
Is the ISG intuitive to drive?
Like all these systems you may have to adjust your driving to suit it. So if you are in the habit of leaving the car in gear each time you stop in traffic, it won’t kick-in. Once you get used to the idea of always slipping into neutral and letting the clutch out it all falls into place. The system reacts quickly and the engine will cut within around half a second and it doesn’t force you to apply the handbrake; the brake pedal will do.
The engine re-starts quickly and smoothly as soon as you depress the clutch and with first selected, you’re away. In other respects, the Ceed ISG is completely standard. The new 1.4-litre petrol engine is smooth, the electric power steering precise and the ride, supple.
The current 1.4 produces 145gm/km CO2. The new system gives a claimed six percent improvement on the EC test Cycle dropping the figure to 137gm/km. Kia is also working with Michelin on some low-rolling resistance tyres which will reduce the figure still further to 130gm/km, so this package should give a substantial saving.
How much of that you get in the real world will depend a lot on what sort of driving you do and where. But Kia reckons that in heavy traffic real world consumption could improve by between 12 percent and 26 percent giving a best urban figure of 46.8mpg. There are no firm prices at this stage but Kia says it will offer this car as a version in the model line-up. So assuming it will be an economy model it’s likely to sit somewhere between the 1.4S and 1.4GS and cost around £11,500.
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