Gareth Butterfield tests the overtly sporty Kia Pro_Cee’d – but is it all mouth and no trousers?
THIS is the Kia Pro_Cee’d. Yes, that’s right, this stylish, sporty hot-hatch is a Kia. It’s as lovely to look at on the inside as it is out and it’s as well-built as any of its German rivals. This car is proof, should it actually still be needed, that the Korean car industry has come a very, very long way.
The “Pro” part of its name, and the daft underscore, denote that this is the three-door version of the hugely popular five-door Kia Cee’d and it’s a very similar car in many ways. Practicality, to some extent, is preserved in the three-door model thanks to its large doors and boot space is, obviously, not compromised.
This being the sportier model, it’s certainly more handsome in its shorter guise, and there’s a GT and GT-Line version should you want to up the pace even further.
Engines are offered in similar flavours to the normal Cee’d, including the 201bhp turbocharged 1.6 and the peppy 1.0 turbo which can be had with 118bhp. There aren’t as many as the Cee’d, but this isn’t a mass-market car, more of a warm hatch, so the range will is geared to suit fans of sporty cars.
The trouble is, as sporty as it looks, it does feel rather heavy. And this makes it feel rather dull to drive. Don’t get me wrong, its handling is competent and safe, but it does lack the excitement it might overtly sing about, especially in the GT trim with its quad LED daytime running lights and honeycomb grille.
But, all is not lost. Pro_Cee’d prices begin at £15,000 and scale the dizzying heights of £23,000. And although that’s a lot of money, the standard specification is marvellous.
True to form with Kia, there’s an array of free toys thrown in throughout the range, with even the lowliest models boasting alloy wheels, air-conditioning, DAB radio, rear parking sensors and Bluetooth phone connectivity.
Hop up the range a little and you’ll be blessed with cruise control, Kia’s adjustable FlexSteer system, LED running lights and some exterior and interior styling tweaks.
The top-spec GT-Line model is almost £2,500 more expensive than the Pro_cee’d 2, but it includes a sat nav, a reversing camera, larger alloy wheels and keyless entry and go, as well as an upgraded dashboard display.
So it looks like a teenage hooligan, goes like an unfit 30-something, but is as refined and practical as a country gent.
While it might not be able to deliver on the entertaining promises its handsome bodyshell makes, that won’t bother everyone. Economical engines, a practical and comfortable setup, value for money and that seven-year warranty all Kias come with more than makes up for shortcomings in the bends.
Kia’s Cee’d has been a hit with people who want a practical family car which ticks all the boxes, but it lacked style. With the Pro_Cee’d you get the best of both worlds.