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.

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?

Top 5 Sport coupes

  • Porsche Cayman
    The Porsche Cayman is now in its second generation

    Porsche Cayman

    1
  • The stated criteria for the GT86 read like a purist's manifesto: rear-drive, no turbo, ordinary tyres

    Toyota GT86

    2
  • BMW M235i
    The BMW M235i is a rear-wheel-drive turbocharged coupé which rivals the likes of the Porsche Cayman

    BMW M235i

    3
  • Costliest car gets the deftest chassis to ever underpin a TT - the best reason yet to buy into Audi’s coupe.

    Audi TTS

    4
  • Peugeot RCZ R
    The front-drive RCZ R packs a 266bhp turbocharged engine

    Peugeot RCZ R

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Kia range

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    31 August 2015
    Thought the 3 Series was losing its edge? Well it's back, with a facelifted version that offers improved performance and dynamics. Does it reclaim its top spot after our drive on UK roads?
  • First Drive
    27 August 2015
    BMW gives its flagship 7 Series an extensive overhaul in a bid to tempt buyers of luxury cars away from the Mercedes S-Class, Audi's A8 and the Jaguar XJ
  • First Drive
    26 August 2015
    New Qashqai rival majors on practicality and usability and benefits from a long warranty, but lower-specification versions are the better bet
  • First Drive
    26 August 2015
    Go-faster Bentley Continental feels effortlessly quick despite its considerable weight
  • Car review
    26 August 2015
    Can the new S-Max retain its title as the driver's seven-seater?