What is it?
At last, the marque which is supposed to be the more 'youthful and sporty' of the Hyundai-Kia twins is facing up to an essential question: what should a quicker, driver-orientated Kia be like? In Germany yesterday, Autocar was shown an impressive answer, which took the form of a test drive of a prototype second-generation Proceed in GT form – still disguised, but with an interior and driving characteristics close to the production spec. In essence, the car is a new-shape, 50 per cent more powerful petrol-engined version of the new-shape three-door Cee’d. It will be revealed in Geneva next March, is set to go into production in Kia's facory in Zilina, Slovakia, next May, and be on sale in the UK in June or July at around £23,000.
At that money, the car won’t be a Dacia-style bargain, but its deep equipment spec — which includes standard Recaro front bucket seats — should make it look good value against similarly sized rivals. Although its 1.6 turbo engine packs a healthy 201bhp, which gives the Proceed a healthy turn of performance (a 140mph top speed and a 0-62mph time of 7.9 seconds), Kia is not making any claims about rivalling cars like the Ford Focus ST or Renaultsport Mégane, which it considers a step further up the performance ladder.
The company doesn’t rule out building hotter cars itself, but insists no decision will be made until the market has assessed the GT, which is to be made both as a three and a five-door.
The GT uses a comprehensively developed turbocharged version of Kia-Hyundai’s familiar 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, producing 201bhp at 6000rpm, along with peak torque of 200lb ft, impressively developed between 1750rpm and 4500rpm. These big hikes (power up 50 per cent; torque up 60 per cent) come from the use of a twin-scroll turbocharger (integrated closely into the exhaust manifold for quick light-up and consequent low emissions), direct fuel injection, dual continuous variable valve timing and lots of careful development at Kia’s technical centre in Russensheim, near Frankfurt.