Having proven to be a credible rival to the established European players with its accomplished Cee’d hatchback, Korean manufacturer Kia is now throwing its hat into the hot-hatch arena with the Pro Cee’d GT.
A powerful, top of the range version of the three-door Pro Cee’d, designed to appeal to those who like their family-friendly hatchbacks with a touch of chilli. Powered by a 201bhp turbocharged version of the same 1.6-litre petrol engine found in the rest of the range, it has not set out to rival the more overtly sporting Ford Focus ST and Vauxhall Astra VXR, instead offering a milder performance boost, which won’t alienate a legion of customers drawn to the Cee’d for its everyday civility. To differentiate it from less powerful versions, the Pro Cee’d GT wears aggressive side skirts and bumpers housing eye-catching quad daytime running lights. It’s available in just three colours: black, white and red.
The first thing that strikes you about the GT is the compliance of its low speed ride. Around town, bumps and craters in the road are quelled in a manner that harder rivals – particularly the Astra VXR – cannot hope to compete with. This comfort hasn’t come at the expense of handling either, with the GT feeling reasonably taught in the corners, with no excessive body roll to contend with. It’s certainly quick enough, too, given its warm-hatchback billing – something that can expose the brakes, which can start to heat-up after a short stint of spirited driving. In more day-to-day use, the Pro Cee’d GT impresses with its quiet cabin and slick, well-weighted controls.
The cabin has been given a splash of sporty style with the addition of some heavily bolstered front seats, metal-finished pedals and a smattering of red stitching. Also fitted is a digital instrument cluster, which can be switched from a standard speedometer to readouts for engine power and turbo boost pressure via a button on the steering wheel. It’s a nice touch, but one that is likely to be of limited practical use. Elsewhere, the GT has been given a generous standard specification, with base models equipped with everything from reverse parking sensors, Bluetooth, cruise control and a plethora of slots for USBs and other MP3 devices. Opt for the more expensive GT Tech trim and you’ll also get keyless ignition, heated seats, xenon headlights and touchscreen satellite navigation system.
With 380 litres of boot space on offer (rising to 1,225 litres with the rear seats folded), the Pro Cee’d GT has identical load space to the regular Pro Ceed and compares favourably to the Ford Focus (316 litres) and Vauxhall Astra (351 litres). Passenger room, too, is ample, with enough room for four to get comfortable. Taller passengers may want to avoid the rear pews, though, as headroom is a tad pinched. Also, the long doors do make getting into the back easy, but can prove a pain in tight parking spaces.
If you’re looking for an all out road-racer of a hatchback, the Pro Cee’d GT won’t be for you. However, if you just want a dash of extra power and excitement from your daily driver, the car’s combination of value, comfort and standard kit is hard to beat. That it is backed up with a seven-year manufacturer warrantee is just the icing on the cake. The only real obstacle for many will be the Kia badge, which for some – quite wrongly we might add – still has an air of the cheap and nasty about it. Try it for yourself; we’d wager you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
You can browse for a used Kia Cee’d in our classifieds here.
Kia Pro Cee’d GT
List price: £19,995
Engine: 1.6-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged, petrol
Power: 201bhp, 265Nm
Top speed: 143mph
0-60mph: 7.4 seconds
Fuel economy: 29.1mpg (urban), 46.3mpg (extra-urban) 38.2mpg (combined)
Emissions: 171g/km CO2
Euro NCAP rating: 5 stars
October 27, 2013