A serious Kia

Road test: Kia pro_cee’d GT

A combination of lower case ‘p’, underscore and embedded apostrophe, Kia’s awkwardly-named pro_cee’d GT is the company’s first real foray into the world of hot hatches. Shape-wise, it is more in the Megane Coupé or Volkswagen Scirocco territory but it does have some interesting performance figures so let’s take a look.

I have praised Kia’s styling before and the pro_cee’d GT is yet another example of good design.  It is taught, lean and gently muscular. Wheel and arch sizes are good and the lines and curves flow well along the vehicle’s length. The corporate front is neat and the curvaceous rear is complemented by some great lighting.

In terms of the specification sheet, it’s missing three key items as standard: climate control (although the standard air-con works well), rain-sensing wipers and a sat-nav, all of which would have been incredibly useful during the many hours I have spent in the car this week. You’ll need to spend another £2,500 on the Tech spec. for these.

There is some good news with the pro_cee’d GT. First, performance is good. It isn’t blisteringly fast but has sufficient get-up-and-go to make light work of cross-country miles. It is easy to drive, too: light clutch, precise gear change and good forward visibility.

Where it falls a little short against some rivals is its ability to put the power down at low speeds. While I expected the odd loss of traction at due to the wet and greasy winter roads, I wasn’t  expecting the driven front wheels to judder and bounce while clamouring for grip. As speeds increase and higher gears are chosen, the torquey 1.6 petrol engine is pleasingly flexible and packs a confident punch: ideal for mid-range overtaking manoeuvres.

This sporty Kia hangs on quite well on to corners. There isn’t a great deal of feedback through the steering but the gearing feels about right.

Inside, the pro_cee’d GT is a little sombre but there are some points of note. Initially, the Recaro seats feel quite hard but having spent so many hours in them, I can vouch for their supportiveness and comfort. In front of the driver are three dials. At the press of a ‘GT’ button on the steering wheel, the middle dial can be switched between a standard analogue speedometer and something off a Nintendo with a torque bar up the left, power bar on the right and digital speed reading in the middle. It’s quite clever and the standard speedo is virtually indistinguishable from the dials either side with ‘real’ needles on. The red-on-black radio/system display doesn’t have the clearest font but functionally, it’s fairly intuitive.

So, neck-and-neck with the GTI brigade? Not quite. In its favour, it is a good-looker and during the whole week (and over 500 miles) I didn’t see another single example on the road so there will be some exclusivity. I did see a few people turn to look at it, too.

Kia pro_cee’d GT, from £19,995.

Power: 201 bhp (@ 6,000 rpm), torque: 265 Nm (@ 1,750 – 4,500 rpm), emissions: 171 g/km CO2 (band H), 0-60 mph: 7.4 secs.

Motor Writer rating: ●●●○○

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