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Kia's stop-start system under test. Image by Kia.

Kia's stop-start system under test
Utilising the same components as BMW, Kia will begin selling cars with stop-start technology. We've driven the cee'd ISG.

 



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| First Drive | Frankfurt, Germany | Kia cee'd ISG |

That Kia is on the rise is in no doubt. The company's sales have increased by 350% globally over the past decade and it knows that to continue attracting new customers it must be seen to employ the latest technology in its cars. We visited Kia's European R&D centre near Frankfurt to hear the company's plans and to get behind the wheels of cars featuring some of this new technology, including a start-stop system Kia calls Idle Stop&Go (ISG) fitted to the cee'd.

How it works

Anyone familiar with BMW's stop-start system employed on several of its models will instantly be at home with ISG, as it utilises the same Bosch components, such as a new crank angle sensor and battery sensor, along with other measuring devices, a more durable starting motor, a 'smart' alternator and an Absorbent Glass Material battery for longer life.

Once the engine coolant is warmer than 75-degrees Celsius and battery charge is sufficient, the engine is switched off when the car comes to a stop, the gearbox is in neutral and the clutch pedal is not pressed. It's a simple process to initiate and restarting takes place as soon as the driver puts his foot on the clutch to move the gearbox into gear. Though engine restarting is not quite as quick as in Mazda's new SISS system, it's perfectly acceptable in traffic. If a driver doesn't want to use the feature it can be turned off by means of a switch.

In practise

As with all stop-start systems fitted to manual cars, the driver must adopt a rigid routine in which he takes the car out of gear and his foot off the clutch before reaping the benefits of the ISG system. In reality, only in heavy traffic will it have any affect on fuel consumption, with claims of 12-26% less fuel used depending on the road conditions. That aside, the main reason for ISG is to reduce the cee'd's fuel consumption and emissions of carbon dioxide on the benchmark European combined cycle. There are a total of 12 stops in the cycle, during which time a stop-start equipped car has a natural advantage over one without. Kia quotes a drop from 145g/km of CO2 to 137g/km in its cee'd 1.4-litre petrol when fitted with ISG, which may not sound like a lot, but in some countries will affect the level of tax a customer pays.

Future plans

No production plans have been made official as yet, but the ISG-equipped cee'd should be on sale before the end of the year in some markets. It'll be fitted initially to the 1.4- and 1.6-litre petrol models though will make its way onto the popular diesel versions in March or April 2009. It's highly likely to feature in the new Soul and perhaps on other models in time. Kia did tell us that it can't afford to roll out the technology on a wealth of models without compensation, so expect there to be a premium to pay for the ISG cars, though it's probable that the cee'd ISG will also come with low rolling resistance Michelin tyres as standard, reducing the rated emissions even more - hence making the initial outlay worthwhile for customers, depending on their local market taxation.

Summary

There's nothing radical about Kia's stop-start functionality. It uses proven hardware and requires only a modest change in driving style for some drivers. Benefits in terms of real-world fuel economy depend largely on driving conditions, but the cee'd ISG should come with a lower CO2 rating, which will bring savings elsewhere. It's the first step in Kia's path to reducing its cars' overall fuel consumption and a useful one.

Shane O' Donoghue - 18 Sep 2008









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2009 Kia cee'd with ISG. Image by Kia.2009 Kia cee'd with ISG. Image by Kia.2009 Kia cee'd with ISG. Image by Kia.2009 Kia cee'd with ISG. Image by Kia.2009 Kia cee'd with ISG. Image by Kia.

2009 Kia cee'd with ISG. Image by Kia.2009 Kia cee'd with ISG. Image by Kia.2009 Kia cee'd with ISG. Image by Kia.2009 Kia cee'd with ISG. Image by Kia.2009 Kia cee'd with ISG. Image by Kia.



2009 Kia cee'd with ISG. Image by Kia.
 

2009 Kia cee'd with ISG. Image by Kia.
 

2009 Kia cee'd with ISG. Image by Kia.
 

2009 Kia cee'd with ISG. Image by Kia.
 

2009 Kia cee'd with ISG. Image by Kia.
 

2009 Kia cee'd with ISG. Image by Kia.
 






 

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