JD Pro_cee’d GT
1 Mar 2014
KIA’S first-ever warm-hatch arrived in early 2014 with small-car sizing, light-car pricing, turbo performance and class-leading warranty.
Badged Pro_cee’d GT and based on the second-generation C-segment Cee’d five-door built in Slovakia, the three-door hatch is also the South Korean brand’s first European designed and engineered small car to be sold in Australia.
Driving the front wheels via a specifically calibrated six-speed manual-only gearbox is a variation of the Gamma 1591cc 1.6-litre T-GDI twin-scroll turbocharged direct-injection four-cylinder petrol engine found in the related performance variants of the Koup and Hyundai Veloster.
Armed with dual continuous variable-valve timing, it delivers 150kW of power at 6000rpm and 265Nm of torque from 1750-4500rpm.
Kia acknowledges that the GT’s performance numbers are shy of most Euro hot hatch rivals, but chooses to emphasise the newcomer’s “everyday usability and civility” instead, pointing out that over 80 per cent of that 265Nm is available below 1500rpm.
The Pro_cee’d can accelerate from 80km/h to 120km/h in fifth gear in 7.3s – a result that’s better than some competitors. Top speed is 230km/h.
Unlike the loosely related YD Cerato, which uses a cheaper space-saving torsion beam rear suspension system, the Pro_cee’d employs a sophisticated multi-link set-up similar to the Focus and Golf’s.
Already in a sportier state of tune compared to the regular Pro_cee’d hatch not sold in Australia thanks to some quality time (some 480 laps and 8000km) on the Nurburgring Nordschleife track in Germany, the GT lands with a faster electric rack-and-pinion steering rack ratio, increased damper rebound and compression rates, stiffer springs and bushes and a larger rear anti-roll bar.
Yet Kia Motors Australia saw fit undertake some further chassis revisions to make the GT more in synch with local drivers’ tastes.
Kia says the three-door’s bodyshell has been reinforced in key areas to improve the steering, handling and ride attributes, while also cutting noise, vibration and harshness pathways.
Bigger four-wheel disc brakes – measuring 300mm x 28mm up front and 262mm x 10mm items out back – improve stopping power, with the GT capable of resting from 105km/h in less than 37 metres.
Tyres are 225/40ZR18 92Y Michelin Pilot Sport 3 items (that have been optimised with the ABS, ESC and suspension/steering revisions for maximum performance efficiency) on specially designed graphite grey 18-inch alloy wheels partly hiding red brake callipers.
Two variants are available – GT and GT Tech – with both offering six airbags for a five-star ENCAP safety rating, a reversing camera, cruise control, dual-zone climate control air-con, radio/CD/MP3/USB six-speaker audio, Bluetooth music streaming and hands-free telephony, power windows and remote central locking.
The GT Tech adds a sunroof, ‘active’ HID headlights with washers, push-button start, a luggage net, a darker window tint and something called “door handle pocket lamps”.
When it was new