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Facelifted Kia Pro_cee’d GT on hold for Oz

Planted Cee’d: Kia’s existing Pro_cee’d GT warm hatch will press on for a while yet without the upgrades coming online imminently in Europe.

Slow sales, lack of auto delays Series II Kia Pro_cee’d GT’s Australian launch


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30 Jun 2015

KIA is delaying the introduction of the facelifted Pro_cee’d GT in Australia as it awaits a stronger uptake for the existing stock of the Slovakian-built warm hatch.

Unveiled late last month as part of a range-wide Series II makeover for the second-generation European-spec Cee’d hatch and Sportwagon, Kia’s refreshed Volkswagen Polo GTI rival may be up to a year away from a local launch.

Kia Motors Australia (KMAu) general manager of media and corporate communications Kevin Hepworth told GoAuto that the refreshed pocket rocket is not in the company’s immediate future.

“We haven’t signed off on it yet… so it could be a while,” he said.

GoAuto understands that the lack of dual-clutch transmission is hurting sales for the Pro_cee’d GT in Australia, and with the Series II model remaining a six-speed manual-only proposition for the time being, it means KMAu is holding off for now.

Since launching in March last year, only 519 examples have been sold in Australia to the end of May, well below the company’s modest initial forecasts of 100 units per month.

However, despite being “disappointed” by the poor customer response in the current car and lack of auto availability in its successor, Mr Hepworth insists that KMAu is not giving up on the Pro_cee’d GT, as it is the brand’s first performance model and a strong brand builder.

“It’s still an extremely important image car for us,” he said.

One of the biggest changes to European-market Pro_cee’d GTs is its adoption of the Australian-specific suspension tune, as honed by KMAu for several months leading up to the car’s local release.

Like the Cee’d – the Cerato’s European built sister model unavailable in Australia – the coupe gains revised headlights, tail-lights, bumpers and wheels, as well as a number of interior upgrades including a new central display as part of an overhauled multimedia system, higher-quality materials and trim and extra sound deadening for reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels.

The Pro_cee’d GT’s steering wheel now has a flat bottom and the hatch features an electronic sound generator mimicking the engine note.

Its 1.6-litre T-GDI turbo direct-injection four-cylinder petrol engine now produces a broader torque band, despite delivering an identical 150kW and 265Nm, thanks to a revised turbocharger set-up that increases air pressure for better low-end responses. This shaves 0.1 seconds off the 0-100km/h-sprint time which is now down to 7.6s in Euro-market guise.

The front discs are also now 20mm larger at 320mm, cutting stopping distances from 100km/h-to-zero by 1.6 metres to 35m.

On lower-grade Cee’d variants, it’s Euro-6 emissions certification all round, starting with an all-new 1.0-litre T-GDI turbo direct-injection three-cylinder petrol engine offered in two states of power tune (74kW and 88kW), and includes the volume-selling 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre four-cylinder CRDi turbo-diesels, which gain a raft of new internals for smoother and punchier, yet more parsimonious, performance, and a normally aspirated 1.6-litre GDI direct-injection petrol unit.

A torque-vectoring system has been introduced on all models to quell understeer by applying to the inner wheel during cornering the electric power steering system has been retuned for improved response and feel and the MacPherson strut front/multi-link rear suspension system receives a number of NVH-quelling measures.

Finally, the level of driver-aid tech increases with new road-sign reading tech, blind-spot and Rear Cross Traffic Alert availability, and improved parking assistance.

Expect to see the closely related Cerato receive some of these upgrades in the not-too-distant future.

Kia says it has no plans to import the Cee’d hatch or Sportwagon to Australia.

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