ICE Heads Up Kia Ceed New Powertrain Range

A new ICE engine heads up Kia’s latest powertrain line-up for the Ceed family suggesting the automaker sees a future for the technology despite some market’s threatened bans.

It debuts the automaker’s latest Smartstream powertrain innovations featuring the brand’s Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) technology that alters the valve timing of the engine to improve performance, while also reducing emissions. A new Low-Pressure Exhaust Gas Recirculation system (LP-EGR) is also active at lower engine speeds, further improving fuel efficiency and emissions, while a Gasoline Particulate Filters (GPF) reduces the engine’s particulate emissions.

It’s the Smartstream 1.5-liter T-GDi which will be available across the four-strong Ceed model family, including Ceed, Ceed Sportswagon, ProCeed and XCeed. It will be paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Kia claims it produces 158bhp at 5,500rpm and is 14% more powerful than its outgoing 1.4-liter T-GDi engine with 138bhp. Peak torque output is also 4.5% higher at 186ft-lbs between 1,500 and 3,500rpm.

Electrification also comes in the shape of a 48-volt mild hybrid (MHEV) powertrain option added to all Ceed diesel models. This supports Kia’s Smartstream 1.6-liter diesel engine, it says is the cleanest diesel engine it has ever produced maximizing fuel efficiency with electric torque assistance.

This EcoDynamics+ hybrid system supplements the engine’s torque output with power from a compact 48-volt lithium-ion polymer battery and extends engine ‘off time’ with a new mild-hybrid starter generator (MHSG). The unit is connected by belt to the engine’s crankshaft and switches between ‘motor’ and ‘generator’ modes. In ‘motor’ mode, under acceleration, it provides electric power assistance to reduce engine load and emissions. As the car decelerates, the unit has the ability, under certain conditions, to switch to ‘generator’ mode, recuperating energy from the crankshaft to recharge the battery.

This combines with the diesel engine’s latest common-rail direct fuel injection and also features selective catalytic reduction active emissions control exhaust technology to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, particulate matter and NOx. The engine develops 134bhp and 206ft-lbs of torque (236ft-lbs on automatic versions).

A new intelligent manual transmission (iMT) employs a ‘clutch-by-wire’ system is engineered to boost fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions, while claiming the same level of driver engagement as that of a conventional manual transmission. The iMT makes its debut in the Ceed, Ceed Sportswagon and XCeed and is initially paired with the 1.6-liter CRDi 48-volt MHEV engine.

The iMT works with the mild-hybrid starter generator (MHSG) to switch off the engine earlier than Kia’s start-stop system when coasting to a halt. This claims improved fuel efficiency and can reduce CO2 emissions by around 3% in real-world driving conditions. The chosen gear remains engaged even with the engine is off. The engine then restarts in the same gear as soon as the driver presses either the brake or accelerator pedals, thanks to the burst of power provided by the MHSG. The transmission restarts the engine in neutral (with an open clutch) if the driver pushes the clutch pedal to change gear, or if the vehicle speed is too low for the gear that is presently engaged.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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