My full review of the Kia ProCeed – in which I proceed to attempt to explain what it is… see what I did there?
Is this car confusing or cool? Confusing because the first question you’re asking is what is it, and why is it? The ‘what’ I’ll attempt to answer the ‘why’ I’ll leave you to conclude. And cool because… it’s a maverick that hates to conform?
Okay let’s tackle the ‘what is it’ – Well it’s part of the Ceed family of models from Kia – the basis of which is the Ceed hatchback – a Ford Focus rival. Now there is a slightly raised crossover version called the XCeed, and there’s an estate dubbed the Sportswagon. There’s no coupe, but instead you get this – the ProCeed. I would say it’s kinda like a fastback version of the estate, except the front and side styling are slightly different.
Let’s instead imagine a scenario where Kia had signed off all the body styles for production and then found that that quiet bloke in the corner of the design studio had been doodling away on something he hadn’t shared. But they found his drawings and thought the design too good to waste so they put into production anyway and called it the ProCeed – a leftover badge they weren’t quite sure what to do with up until then. I made all this up of course, but it in my head it sounds pretty plausible.
How else do you explain a model range addition that looks practical but isn’t, and appears sportier but not really? It’s somewhere between an estate and a hatch, so a shooting brake body style then. It comes with a choice of a 134bhp diesel engine, or a choice of a 201bhp 1.6 T-GDi and this 138bhp 1.4 T-GDi.
With 242Nm of torque, 0-60mph acceleration of 8.8 seconds and a top speed of 130mph mated to a six-speed manual (or you can opt for a 7-speed dual-clutch auto) driving the front wheels. Prices start from £24k rising to around £30k for the top of the range GT spec. Combined fuel consumption is quoted at 44.8 and I certainly saw 40mpg during my time with it, and CO2 emissions are 130g/km. Unusually the press car was an entry model GT-Line.
Although it was hardly poverty spec boasting 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, LED rear lights, front and rear fog lights, automatic lights, heated door mirrors, automatic wipers, cloth and leather seat upholstery, heated front seats, dual zone a/c, cruise control, smart entry with engine stop-start button, DAB 6-speaker sound system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 8-inch touch screen, sat nav, reversing camera, collision avoidance assist, lane keeping, driver attention monitor, hill start assist, plus front and side airbags and ISOFIX child seat anchor points.
The low sloping roof gives it a streamlined look at the rear, and hence probably not as much room as the proper estate, but it does offer more space in the back than a regular hatchback. There’s 60:40 split folding rear seats and if the floor seems a little high, that’s only because it’s packed with underfloor storage compartments of all shapes and configurations.
You’d expect that the rear passenger cabin might be a little tight in terms of headroom, but that’s actually not the issue. A six-footer sitting behind another six-footer however will find leg and knee room a little tight. Rear a/c vents and a cup holders in the rear armrest are useful, and the quilting on the seats gives it a more luxurious feel.
In the front is where the that rear roofline that has me so worried, finally becomes a problem, as rear visibility is severely curtailed particularly if you’re tall and hence sit quite high. The top edge of the rear window is too low and traffic in the distance is obscured. Then there’s the seat position itself. Although I had no issues in the XCeed that I tested recently, in this car it took a while to get comfortable. So do take it for an extended test drive before you buy, particularly if you’re tall.
Having said that, it’s not only very well appointed complete with fast-charging USB and space for your phones, but also impressively finished as Kia continues to step up its build quality game. Soft-touch premium-looking surfaces combine with a tight-feeling squeak and rattle-free environment to keep most owners very happy.
Before you go for a drive you must put your seatbelt on – okay that’s a given, but in this car you absolutely must, because if you don’t it resolutely refuses to move. Which is probably a clever feature, unless you’re out photographing it and it becomes a chore each time you want to move it slightly for a better frame!
The 6-speed manual immediately endows the car with an element of satisfaction for drivers that like to do the shifting themselves, but the notchy change can be a little clunky and imprecise if you’re not deliberate and patient with your gear-changes, and the clutch also caught me out a couple of times.
Performance is good enough around town and it’ll cruise happily at motorway speeds, with decent aerodynamics making it a refined and quiet companion to cover distances with. Likewise the ride is very well tuned with decent body control, but it certainly seems to be biased more towards comfort than sportiness especially given it’s refinement.
It’s a satisfying if not quite racy drive. You can of course throw this car into corners and it responds obediently, but you don’t get the sense that’s what it’s about. You have to be aware also that it’s longer than the hatchback and hence not quite as agile. Not that the length proves to be an issue when parking as it slips into spots quite easily, especially thanks to the reversing camera and visibility at the front is good making it easy to place.
So to summarise – if you want a compact more sportier version go for the regular Ceed, or even the XCeed, for practicality go for the Sportswagon, but you’re a quietly cool renegade like that bloke in the corner of the design studio (and not tall) then this is the one for you.