Hot on the heels of last year’s all-new Ceed hatchback and sports-wagon comes a completely new venture for Kia; the All-New ProCeed.
All-New Kia ProCeed
Now, I know what some of you are thinking; you’ve heard the name before. And you’d be right. Kia used to call the three-door version of their Cee’d GT warm-hatch the pro_Cee’d GT, but this is a different beast altogether.
No More Apostrophes!
Firstly, they’ve dropped the somewhat silly punctuation; it now starts with a capital letter, there’s no random underscore thrown in there and that apostrophe towards the end has been done away with too. Ok, there’s still a capital C stuck in the middle, but that’s to emphasise the correct pronunciation; pro-ceed, not proceed, despite the fact that’s what’s spelled out across the tailgate.
Anyway, enough about Kia‘s flagrant approach to the English language, what about the car?
It’s a Niche, But It Also Makes Sense
Just when you though all possible automotive niches had been discovered. Kia have given us another one; the affordable shooting brake. It sits just below the Ceed Sportswagon in terms of boot-space with 594 litres (1,545 with rear seats down), putting the regular Ceed and its 380 litres to shame. Despite this it sits on the same platform as the hatchback and shares an identical wheelbase.
In terms of body panels, the ProCeed only shares its bonnet and front wings with the Ceed, all the rest is bespoke. Kia‘s designers have done a good job of turning an every-day hatchback into something really quite desirable, and it’s hard to dislike the ProCeed’s shallow, sweeping silhouette, and making the car lower than the Ceed adds to its appeal, too.
Adding features such as a shark-fin which pops up behind the base of the C-pillar somehow make the whole car feel a bit more ‘special’, our only reservation would be the rear overhang which makes for a slightly bulbous rear end.
At launch, the ProCeed is available with a choice of three engines. There’s a 1.4l petrol (138bhp), a 1.6l petrol (201bhp) and a 1.6l diesel (134bhp). There’s either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed DCT transmission with both normal and sport modes, although if you go for the more powerful petrol engine, it’s automatic only for now I’m afraid.
Instead of using their technique of numbering their car’s specs, Kia have gone with a ‘GT’ based approach for the ProCeed, in a similar vein to their flagship Stinger model.
……….And Three Trim Levels
This is where it could get confusing, though. The base model is a GT-Line, and that’s available with either the 1.4l petrol or the 1.6l diesel, with either transmission. Now, in terms of cost, the next highest spec ProCeed is the GT, and that’s the only one available with the 201bhp petrol engine, so it’s obviously the quickest & most fun to drive. Just above that comes the GT-Line S, and that’s only available with the lower-power petrol and an automatic gearbox, but it comes with more standard equipment than the GT so it’s slightly more expensive.
We spoke to Kia about this system and they quite rightly pointed out that you can have the most potent ProCeed without being forced to spend the most money. They wouldn’t be drawn on whether there’s room for an all-singing, all-dancing GT S version, but we think it could come at some point should the demand be there.
We drove all three variants of the ProCeed, and what struck us most was the quality and refinement, especially on the inside. Not only are the materials used of a high standard, there’s hardly any wind noise, even at high speeds. The diesel’s usual accompanying rattle is confined to outside, but if you want a bit of the GT’s more pleasant notes to add a touch of drama, it has a sport button which channels engine noise into the cabin.
It remains to be seen how the ProCeed handles British roads, but even the Spanish roads we tested it on aren’t 100% perfect, and the ProCeed didn’t come unstuck over broken surfaces. There’s even a decent weight to the steering and some feeling of connection with what’s going on underneath you, just don’t expect the outright grip of a 4WD car or the capability of RWD.
Shooting brakes aren’t something new, yet they always hold a certain mystique that estate cars just don’t have. They usually come with a premium price tag, but Kia’s ProCeed starts from £23,385 OTR. Kia don’t expect it to be a huge seller in the UK, and I suppose you’d have to really want one when Kia’s own Ceed Sportswagon starts at a shade over £19K, but it’s never going to look as good, is it?
By Ben Harrington