The new Kia ProCeed: a name which, since it last appeared on the second generation of the Korean brand’s Ford Focus rival, has gone through something of a personality change; morphing into a sleek shooting brake estate!
The ProCeed is only available in Kia’s top three trims – a move that helps to separate it from the standard Ceed Sportswagon. Prices start from £23,835 for a GT-Line car powered by a 138bhp 1.4-litre turbo petrol, 1.6-litre turbo petrol in GT trim and a 1.6-litre turbo diesel. The 1.4 petrol and 1.6 diesel are both are available with a six-speed manual gearbox or, for an extra £1,100, a seven-speed dual-clutch auto. The flagship GT is auto only.
The car comes on firmed-up suspension springs, recalibrated passive dampers and softened-off anti-roll bars compared with a like-for-like Ceed hatchback, the chassis cradled 5mm closer to the road overall. Meanwhile, the electromechanical steering promises adequate response, at just 2.5 turns lock to lock, and in terms of kerb weight the Proceed is also right on the money, weighing in some 40kg less than the equivalent Ford Focus Estate.
You might expect this Proceed’s cabin to exude similar levels of premium appeal to those of the compact Audis, Mercedes and BMWs you could otherwise spend your near-£30,000 on. But the car doesn’t quite deliver against that expectation; there’s just not enough here to differentiate the Kia Proceed’s cabin from that of the regular Ceed, or to allow it to mix at a fairly rarefied price point comfortably. The related Ceed’s cabin is, of course, generally well-built, ergonomically sound and well-equipped. It’s a touch disappointing to find that the car retains a number of hard-feeling, scratchy plastic mouldings while the only noticeable example of any design flair is some contrast stitching for the leather seats. While most new cars rely almost exclusively on touchscreen interfaces that sacrifice ease-of-use in the name of style, the ProCeed’s button-heavy design sits at the opposite end of the scale. Trying to get familiar with the layout goes to show that having too many switches can be just as distracting as having too few. The overall vibe is however salvaged somewhat by a lovely steering wheel that’s as attractive to look at as it is pleasant to hold.
The Kia ProCeed’s roofline is 43mm lower than the Sportswagon estate giving a sportier look but in order to compensate for the loss of headroom, the rear seats are also lower. Boot volume is stated at 594 litres – not quite a match for the estate’s 625 litres, but still far more than you’ll get from a typical hatch. There is one other downside to that sleek shape, though. The rear window is very small and positioned quite low, which means the rear visibility is compromised.
While performance doesn’t quite match the car’s sporty brief with 0-62mph taking a leisurely 10 seconds and an estimated mpg of 56.5; the only true let down to the driving experience are the gearboxes. The manual box is hampered by both a wooly throw and a sloppy clutch bite, which conspire to make smooth progress frustratingly tricky. The more expensive auto is no better: it slurs lazily through changes, and is slow to respond when controlled through the steering wheel-mounted paddles.
The Proceed is a clear sign of Kia’s growing confidence; having brought us the impressive Stinger and Ceed hatchback. Still, on this evidence, Kia hasn’t arrived as a ‘new premium’ style brand and maker of world-class small cars quite yet. It looks desirable and combines eye-catching design with decent practicality in some respects but meanly packaged in other ways and having a cabin that lacks the material richness and sophistication hoped for in a premium-priced offering. A driving experience of notable successes but also one or two telling mediocrities, failing to truly distinguish the Proceed as a really classy dynamic act – though it’s by no means an ordinary car to drive!
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Styling √
- Interior X
- Transmission X
- Price X
(1.6 CRDi GT-Line Specification)
- Max speed: 124 mph
- 0-62 mph: 10 seconds
- Range: 56.5mpg
- Engine layout: 4 Cylinder Turbo Diesel
- Max. power: 134bhp
- CO2: 111 g/km
- Price: £24,685
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