Kia is offering customers more choice, adding a third variant to its Ceed range in the shape of the sleek new ProCeed. Massimo Pini reports.
Although lacking the bizarre punctuation (underscore and apostrophe) of its similarly named predecessor (the pro_cee’d) this new car gains a capital ‘C’, but more significantly, a pair of rear doors and lots of extra bootspace, thanks to its longer shooting brake bodystyle.
So, previous buyers of the pro_cee’d are unlikely to be in the market for the new ProCeed, unless they are looking to switch up for more space due to a change in lifestyle, eg: expanding family, taking up golf, getting a dog, etc. Yes, when you think about it, there could be any number of reasons why you might want a bit more room than the regular 5-door Ceed hatch has to offer, but then again, there’s already a Sportwagon estate available – so where does the ProCeed fit in?
Well, it’s back to the styling on this one. The sweeping window line gives the ProCeed a rather more svelte profile, akin to the Mercedes CLA-Class estate and the distinctive rear light treatment is a little reminiscent of the Porsche Panamera – so while you’re unlikely to mistake the Kia for either of these German models, it certainly does feature some very well executed premium design detailing, adding to an overall air of understated elegance – and that may just be enough to turn a few buyers’ heads.
When I say “a few”, I mean in the region of 1,500-2,000 which is the number of ProCeeds Kia is looking to sell in the UK in its first full year of production, according to Product Manager, Ian Mathews.
The line-up consists of three trim levels and three engine choices: two petrol and one diesel. It’s not the Kia way to bother buyers with extensive options lists so the range has been designed to cover core buyers’ requirements but the ProCeed is positioned distinctly upmarket from the Sportwagon estate, kicking off with GT-Line - complete with sat nav, reversing camera, etc - as the entry level trim.
We kicked off our drive in a GT-Line fitted with the 1.6-litre diesel and a manual gearbox which retails at £24,685 on-the-road. Finished in a metallic grey (the most popular colour choice among buyers in 2018 according to the SMMT), it cut quite a dash even at a standstill thanks in part to its 17-inch alloys and distinctive chrome ‘shark fin’ detail which should help to set it apart in the Sainsbury’s car park.
The ProCeed has a slightly firmer set-up and sits a little lower than the rest of the Ceed family, and this manifests itself on the road in improved body control through the corners. Noise is generally well suppressed in the cabin unless you work the engine really hard and threaten the rev limiter to test the claimed 0-60mph time of 10 seconds flat – otherwise, all is calm and composed.
Next up, we tried the GT (£28,185 OTR), which adds sports seats, larger 18-inch alloys with red calipers, a special black and chrome front grille and an uprated rear bumper with integrated diffuser and twin exhausts. Power comes from the 201bhp 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine mated to an automatic transmission with paddle shifters mounted on the sporty, flat-bottomed steering wheel.
Performance from the GT is brisk, if not quite up to modern-day, hot hatch standards. The 0-62mph dash is covered in 7.2 seconds and in-gear acceleration is not really going to trouble the Golf GTI and its ilk, but the Kia’s well-sorted chassis and supple suspension, coupled with nicely weighted steering, allows you to hustle it along at a decent pace through the twists and turns, without getting particularly flustered.
I’m not a huge fan of paddle shifters – even though the auto ‘box seemed to respond quite snappily to finger-flicking inputs – so it’s somewhat disappointing that the ProCeed GT isn’t available with the six-speed manual you can specify on the Ceed GT hatchback.
But this is an issue that’s unlikely to worry many potential ProCeed buyers who will be happy to trade off a more involving drive for some additional space and versatility. It’s got a lot more boot room than hot hatch rivals (594 litres with the rear seats up, if you’re counting) and my 6-foot tall passenger had sufficient legroom and headroom (just), when seated in the rear behind a 6-foot driver.
So, all in all, the Kia ProCeed is best viewed as a practical family car with a little extra panache – and in GT guise – one that also packs quite a punch!