The Kia Pro_cee’d GT comes with the familiar neatly-packaged key where the key itself flicks out at the touch of a button. Or, rather it should. The one on the test car was reluctant to open and always needed a helping finger to unfold it into the locked position.
If that makes you roll your eyes skywards and mutter “is that all you can think to complain about?”, then you are actually pretty close to the mark.
It’s been fascinating to see how my own attitudes to Kia have changed over the years. In the early days I saw them as worthy enough cars. But, I probably wouldn’t pass another set of car keys to choose the Kia. Now, as anyone who has read my more recent Kia reviews will appreciate, Kia are producing cars that are both attractive and enjoyable to drive.
The design of the new Pro_cee’d GT presents a polished European style. It is an attractive, well proportioned design, with confident styling. The now-distinctive Kia corporate grille thrusts forward from the sweeping light units. A touch of individuality is provided by the four daytime running lights on either side of the lower grille and to underline the sporty image, there are the usual array of sill extensions, spoilers and larger wheels.
There’s none of the over-fussy detailing that spoils some oriental designs, possibly because the Cee’d and Pro_cee’d are designed specially for the European market.
Indeed, even that funky name was inspired by the European Economic Community or EEC. In some languages it is known as the CEE. Kia thought to add “European Design” to the end of the CEE. Realising three Es were perhaps excessive, they dropped one and signified the missing letter with an apostrophe. Hence, the Cee’d was christened.
The Pro_cee’d at least has the rather nice word play on “proceed”, but the underscore in Pro_cee’d is as odd as the apostrophe!
Enough on the name. The interior of the Pro_cee’d GT also ticks the right boxes. It looks welcoming and it has the aura of European style and quality. Good materials and neat detailing combine to make this an attractive environment.
The dashboard instruments are presented digitally and Kia have taken the opportunity to offer two settings. One has the conventional dial speedometer, the alternative GT performance mode uses a digital speed readout in the centre flanked by a display that shows the turbo boost and torque.
This may be one of the first Kias to target the sporting market, but don’t run away with the impression that this is some hairy, highly-strung hot hatch. The Pro_cee’d GT doesn’t feel as overtly sport as some other sports hatches and I suspect that is entirely deliberate.
That said the 210 bhp from the turbocharged 1.6-litre GDi petrol engine does propel the Pro_cee’d GT to 60 mph in a respectable 7.4 seconds. The top speed is quoted at 143 mph.
But its less frenetic style is not just exhibited in straight line performance, there is a more relaxed, but competent, feel to the handling. It may not set the pulse racing to the same extent as a more sports focussed hatch, but I found it a very good compromise between performance, comfort and ease of driving.
Indeed, the Pro_cee’d GT proves a refined place to cover the miles, whether on motorways or twisty by-ways. That said, there were times on some surfaces when road noise seemed just a little intrusive.
The combined fuel economy of the Pro_cee’d GT is 38.2 mpg, while the carbon dioxide emissions of 171 g/km put it in Band H for UK car tax.
But perhaps I have kept one of the Kia Pro_cee’d GT’s best features to last. That sticker on the rear window announces Kia’s trump card, the seven-year warranty.
The Kia Pro_cee’d GT costs £19,995 (or £22,495 for the Kia Pro_cee’d GT Tech, which comes with extra kit). At that price, Kia is no longer at the budget end of the market. But, equally, it still usefully undercuts some of the better-known hot hatch competitors.
Engine size 1591cc
6 speed manual
Combined MPG 38.2
CO2 emissions 171 g/km
UK VED band H
Max speed 143 mph
0-60 mph 7.4 secs
Boot 380/1225 litres