Kia Pro_Cee'd GT review

By: Adam Davis

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Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Kia Pro_Cee'd GT
Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Kia Pro_Cee'd GT
Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Kia Pro_Cee'd GT
Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Kia Pro_Cee'd GT
Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Kia Pro_Cee'd GT
Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Kia Pro_Cee'd GT
Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Kia Pro_Cee'd GT

Kia Pro_Cee'd GT: Catchy face, shame about the name...

Kia Pro_Cee'd GT review
Driven: Kia Pro_Cee'd GT

 

Kia Pro_Cee'd GT

Not too long ago, Kia was seen as the poor cousin of Hyundai. Its cars were boxy and plain, the perception being that Kia performance, build quality and reliability matched its list pricing: somewhat below that of its competition.

That was before a Peter Schreyer-led design revolution, which has seen Kia slowly build its brand presence as a viable alternative to the predominantly Japanese rival list.

Billed as the ‘most eagerly awaited new model in Kia’s history’, the awkwardlynamed pro_cee’d GT (let’s stick with Proceed from here) now builds on Kia’s design kudos with class-leading dynamics and performance.

It all starts with a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-pot that first saw duty in Hyundai’s equally-distinctive Veloster Turbo. It generates the same 150kW at 6000rpm, and is backed by 265Nm served across a plateau from 1750-4500rpm. Powering the front wheels via a six-speed manual, the Proceed GT can reach 100km/h in a claimed 7.7sec; with a top speed of 230km/h. Claimed combined fuel consumption is 7.4L/100km and it can run on regular unleaded.

There are two variants available, the $29,990 GT and kitted-out GT Tech, available from $33,490. Both score five stars on the ANCAP safety test, and even the GT is well equipped with Recaro seats, 18-inch alloys with Michelin Pilot Sport 3s in 225/40 size, dual-zone climate control, six speaker audio with iPod and USB connectivity and Bluetooth streaming capability. GT Tech adds a panoramic sunroof, active HID headlights, keyless entry and go and privacy glass.

You can see for yourself how good the jigger looks, down to its distinctive daytime LEDs and hunkered stance.

More importantly, the Proceed GT’s dynamics have been locally honed by Kia’s Australian engineers. The local arm took the European chassis tune and enhanced it over thousands of kilometres on Aussie roads. The resultant spring and damper tuning (said to bring greater ride comfort), along with calibration of the electronicallyassisted power steering, is specific to Australia. The impressive braking system, comprising 300mm ventilated front discs and 262mm solid rears, were left well enough alone.

Sliding into the bolstered Recaros the driving position is reasonably high and upright, as you’d expect from a three-door hatchback, even if it has a sporting lean. The leather-wrapped, multi-function wheel has additional, perforated grip sections around nine-to-three, combining with the alloy pedals and short-shift gear lever to create a racy feel. Though rated as a ‘warm’ hatch, there’s something hot about the Proceed GT.

That feeling is amplified once you’ve sought a twisty road. With its responsive yet fine-riding chassis, the Proceed is a delight to hustle, nicely balanced on turn-in and capable of getting its power down nicely on corner exit, with just a hint of power-on understeer. Throw in a slicker surface, and the Proceed can light up an inside-front, though thanks to its
communicative chassis, the movement is well telegraphed.

Once traction arrives the shove from the small-capacity turbo impresses, belying the Proceed’s 1359kg kerb weight. It is rich in torque throughout the rev-range with no real holes in response or delivery.

With hot-hatch power and dynamics to go with its aggressive good looks, the Proceed GT has a lot going for it. Ford, Renault et al should be worried – the Koreans are coming.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Kia Pro_Cee'd GT

Body: 3-door hatchback
Engine: 1591cc inline-4-cyl, DOHC, 16v, turbocharged
Power: 150kW @ 6000rpm
Torque: 265Nm @ 1750-4500rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Suspension: MacPherson struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar (f); Multi-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar (r)
Brakes: Ventilated discs (f); solid discs (r), ABS, EBD
Weight: 1359kg (kerb)
Price: $29,990 (base)

 

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