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Car reviews - Kia - Pro_cee'd - GT

Our Opinion

We like
Sporty good looks, great dynamics thanks to well set-up chassis, great value for money, Recaro seats
Room for improvement
Outdated media system, touchscreen and sat-nav not standard on base variant, poor rear visibility, no auto or dual clutch transmission - yet, vague steering feel

Gallery

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Kia logo23 Dec 2014

Price and equipment

KIA’s plucky Pro_cee’d GT hot hatch is available in two specifications – the base variant from $29,990, plus on-road costs, and the more generously specified Tech which completes the line-up at $34,990.

The solid standard equipment list on the base variant tested here includes leather and suede Recaro front sports seats, rear parking sensors and camera, automatic folding wing mirrors with puddle lamps, rear spoiler, static cornering headlights, dual chrome exhaust tips, rains-sensing wipers, alloy pedals, leather door trims, MP3-compatible CD player and radio with Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone climate control and 18-inch alloy wheels with a space saver spare.

For an extra $5000 the Tech adds a seven-inch touchscreen, media system with satellite navigation, panoramic sunroof, push-button start, exterior door handle lights, rear and tailgate privacy glass, and active HID headlights.

Ford’s European-built Fiesta ST undercuts the Kia’s price at $25,990 and also comes with Recaro seats, while its standard features list includes the Blue Oval’s Sync emergency assistance function and programmable MyKey.

Renault’s Clio RS 200 starts from $29,290 for the Sport and features a seven-inch touchscreen, satellite navigation and paddle shifters as standard.

Volkswagen’s Polo GTI is $29,540 for the five-door and it brings a seven-inch touchscreen and a thoroughly premium interior.

But the biggest threat for the Kia could come from within. Sister company Hyundai’s Veloster SR Turbo is powered by the same engine as the Pro_cee’d GT and it features standard kit including a seven-inch touchscreen, satellite navigation, panoramic sunroof, rear-view camera and parking sensors for $32,990.

This same blown powerplant also appears in the gorgeous Kia Cerato Koup Turbo, that is on offer from $28,190, plus on-roads. Like the Pro_cee’d GT, the Koup only has two doors, but as it is based on the four-door Cerato sedan, there is a lot more room in the cabin and for cargo as well.

Interior

The sporty good looks of the exterior promises something equally sexy on the inside and for the most part the Pro_cee’d GT’s cabin impresses.

The Recaro seats are excellent – they’re supportive and comfortable, great for the track and long-distance road driving. The finish and quality of the materials from the soft-touch dash to leather door trim is of a high standard, the layout of the instrument cluster clear and modern and the alloy pedals are a great touch.

Things start to fall down with the lack of touchscreen in the base variant we tested, along with the outdated media system with orange LCD display and unappealing steering wheel that also lives in the Koup Turbo.

Then there’s driving position. While the Recaros are faultless, it seems the way they have been installed means the lowest setting on these still feels too high, while they can be raised to the point where this writer’s face is hard up against the roof.

Sure at 190cm this test pilot is tall, but it’s mainly all legs. On that topic the legroom in the back is good for a three-door hatch with your correspondent’s legs only just touching the seat back from our driving position, which better than some of its rivals.

The rear seats can supposedly fit three across the bench but two adults is more realistic. It’s a tad claustrophobic back there with small rear windows that also compromises visibility when driving.

With the rear seats up the boot has a volume of 380 litres, rising to 1225 with the seats down.

Engine and transmission

Making 150kW and 265Nm, the Pro_cee’d GT’s 1.6-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder direct-injection engine has more power and torque than those small hot-hatch rivals previously mentioned – but it’s also heavier.

Only available in Australia with a six-speed manual, Kia claims a combined average fuel consumption of 7.4 litres per 100km, although our test car was drinking the prescribed regular unleaded at a rate of 12.5L/100km.

The lack of dual-clutch or automatic transmission has almost certainly impacted sales of the GT, but as GoAuto reported in October, a dual-clutch could be on the way soon which will lift the sporty hatch in the auto-obsessed Australian market.

Ride and handling

At 1340kg the Pro_cee’d GT is 150kg heavier than the smaller Fiesta ST and almost a second slower from 0-100km/h with a sprint time of 7.7 seconds.

What it lacks in get-up-and-go, the Pro_cee’d GT makes up for in handling. A rigid chassis with sports-tuned suspension (MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link rear) makes it a dynamically capable hatch that corners flat.

So well-sorted is this set up it’s crying out for a bigger powerplant to push it harder.

The ride is a tad firm and those 18-inch alloys shod with 225/40 ZR18 Michelin Pilot Sport low profile rubber read bumps in the road like braille, but they grip beautifully when flying through the twisties.

Pulling the little beast up are 300mm ventilated discs at the front and 262mm solid rotors on the rear.

The six-speed manual is a breeze to flick through, while the clutch is light and easy to use.

Disappointing is the electric-power steering which lacks feel.

Safety and servicing

The Pro_cee’d GT has a five-star ANCAP crash safety rating. It’s equipped with six airbags, ABS, traction and stability control, brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution, plus hill-start assist. It’s great to see reversing sensors and camera as standard on the base variant– even if the display is shown in the rear-view mirror.

Kia offers a seven-year, unlimited kilometer warranty, seven-year capped-price servicing and, you guessed it, seven years of roadside assistance. Servicing is yearly or every 15,000km.

Verdict

Kia openly admits the Pro_cee’d GT is not the quickest hatch out there, but this is a great looking car with a well sought-out chassis that makes it rewarding and fun to drive. That said, many of its rivals are also dynamically capable and offer more in the way of high-tech media systems and cabin refinement. Where the Pro_cee’d GT wins back points is its bigger size for the price of a smaller car.

Rivals

Ford Fiesta ST $25,990, plus on-road costs
Powered by a 132kW/240Nm 1.6-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder and 150kg lighter than the Kia ensures Ford’s three-door is quicker too with 0-100km/h coming in 6.9 seconds. While not as sporty looking as the Pro_cee’d GT, the Fiesta ST is just as dynamic.

Renault Clio RS200 $29,290, plus on-road costs
Arguably the king of the light hot-hatch segment, the Clio RS200 is not just a capable track and road car with stunning looks, but the level of refinement throughout is higher than the Kia’s while the media system is far more advanced.

Hyundai Veloster SR $32,990, plus on-road costs
Kia’s sister company Hyundai have put up a threatening rival in the form of the Veloster SR which shares the same powerplant. Quirky-sporty looks have made this car popular, and the availability of an automatic transmission boosts its appeal further.

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