We’ll be brief about all but the history of Kia’s small family cars, because vehicles like the Shuma and Mentor — and the Cerato that replaced them — can’t hold a candle to the Cee’d.

It was when it launched the Cerato that Kia, a subsidiary of Hyundai, first started making noises about wanting the pair to be a top-five global car maker by 2010. A hopeful claim given the model range it had back then, less so now that it’s introducing cars as good as the Cee’d, of which this is its third body derivative (following the 5dr hatch and SW), and Hyundai’s i30, with which it shares a platform.

Associate editor
This is the first model in Kia's history to put functionality to one side and lead with allure

But the arrival of this Procee’d signifies another marked departure for Kia; it’s the first model in the firm’s history to put functionality to one side and lead with allure. For unlike the majority of C-segment hatch manufacturers, Kia has styled the three-door Cee’d to look significantly different from its five-door relative in an attempt to add a little excitement to the brand. 

But Kia hasn’t thrown all thoughts of practicality in the bin in the pursuit of desirability, for below its sleeker clothes the Procee’d is built on the same capable platform as the five-door model. In addition it’s just as competitively priced as its sister, and comes with Kia’s market-leading seven-year warranty. But does the Procee’d have enough sparkle to cut it as an emotive purchase and style statement and establish itself as a bargain Audi A3?

Or will it just turn out to be nothing more than a car that erodes the Cee’d’s capabilities through the addition of a less practical body style?