Steve Cropley
6 December 2012

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.

What is it like?

The new engine makes the GT a brisk performer and an all-round impressive car, with a surprisingly wide envelope of performance for a 1.6-litre engine; there's no intrusive turbo lag and off-the-mark acceleration is very good. As well as the power and torque hikes, the smooth-shifting six-speed gearbox’s first three ratios have been lowered to assist acceleration, although its fifth and sixth are still long enough for autobahn cruising. The engine responds briskly and spins smoothly up to a 6500rpm redline, but its (admittedly pleasant) noise may prove a little intrusive on long drives and it tends to 'hang' rather a long time in the upper rev-range on the overrun, which inhibits smooth gear-changing.

The steering, which gives drivers a choice of three different effort ranges in the regular Cee’d, has only one sporty (read heavier) setting in the GT, but it still seemed rather light to me. And perhaps still slightly lacking in centre feel. The brakes, standard Cee’d spec, are good enough, though sporty drivers may reckon they lack a little initial bite.

Should I buy one?

Don’t decide yet. The car we drove was a late prototype, with final tuning still to be done. And we drove it on German roads, where UK-style bumps and coarse surfaces are rather hard to find. Still, the ride, on the sporty side of normal, did seem well damped and impressively flat. We’d back Kia’s largely European band of engineers – many plucked from VW and BMW a few years ago – to refine away the GT’s relatively few problems. If the pricing is right, it looks like an interesting and competent newcomer.    

Kia Procee'd GT

Price: £23,000 (est); 0-62 mph: 7.9sec; Top speed: 140mph; Economy: na; CO2: 160g/km (est); Kerb weight: 1350kg (est); Engine: 4 cyls, 1591cc, turbo, petrol; Power: 201bhp at 6000rpm; Torque: 200lb ft at 1750-4500rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate


I dont think of value as

1 year 50 weeks ago

I dont think of value as being £1,000 more than a Focus ST which has an extra 50 BHP and gets to 60 a second and a half quicker. 

I have no idea where Kia get their current prices from, but they  certainly are not good value anymore. 

I am still pleased to see them offering a quicker (if not fast) car. Its more important it drives well than how fast it is, but a more realistic price would be a good thing too.

That's one ugly car!

1 year 50 weeks ago

I know it's good to stand out, but that looks like an albino leopard covered in bin bags!

Why so slow?!

1 year 50 weeks ago

I have lifted bits from Autocar's summary of next year's Leon 1.4TSI (

Seat Leon 1.4 TSI

Price: £17,840; 0-62mph: 8.2sec; Top speed: 131mph;  Engine: 1400cc, 4 cyls, petrol; Power: 138bhp;  CO2: 119g/km

The Leon is only 0.3s slower to 60.  I like Kia, but I expected c.7s to 60 with 200bhp - what's happening to that extra poke?  The Leon is also substantially cheaper, and fits below 120g/km...

@ bendubs

1 year 50 weeks ago

I completely agree bendubs. I was just thinking the same thing, as SEAT looks more bang for buck then KIA. The Pro Cee'd GT is Focus ST money, so....?

My current Leon 1.8TSI

1 year 50 weeks ago

My current Leon 1.8TSI (160HP) which is a regular Style trim (not to mention more powerful Sport, FR, Cupra and Cupra R trims) does 0-62 in 8.0 seconds. Where are Kia wasting the extra 40 bhp is beyond me...

On a fairly light FWD car

1 year 50 weeks ago

On a fairly light FWD car 0-60 is a bit dubious as its largely a matter of getting grip off the line, some better tyres can make a huge difference. The in gear times will be more telling.

I don't think the Focus is its intended competition, more likely its against the Scirroco as the Kia is equally well made, better looking and better equipped - and better value as the VW starts at £25.5K before you start adding the options to match.


On what basis

1 year 50 weeks ago

The Apprentice wrote:

more likely its against the Scirroco as the Kia is equally well made, better looking and better equipped - and better value as the VW starts at £25.5K before you start adding the options to match.


How do you know? The car is disguised and no-one outside of Kia would have seen it otherwise. Surely styling is subjective anyway. In terms of being equally well made, as good as Kia are and how much they have moved on their build quality is not comparable with Volkswagen.  I have no doubt that some will compare this with the Scirocco but I imagine more comparing with an Astra GTC or a Renault Megane Coupe.  Consider that at the £25.5k you quote for Scirocco that gets you the 2.0 TSI 210ps that beats this car to 60 by a full second and is not the bargain basement spec you suggest as it has Nappa Leather, heated seats, Sat Nav, DAB, 18" Alloys, Adaptive Chassis Control, auto lights/wipers, there's not really much to add to a Scirocco GT.  In fact if the Ce'ed is indeed around the £23k mark (and Autocar have managed to get their estimated prices well out in the past) that puts it £1500 MORE than the 160ps Scirocco which gets to 60mph in exactly the same 7.9 seconds and still comes with Sat Nav, bluetooth, auto lights/wipers etc. and inevitably even though it's getting on a bit will still have stronger residuals.  Sorry to argue with your comment but I don't think it's very well researched.

They must have got their

1 year 50 weeks ago

They must have got their pricing strategy from JLR if they think they can charge £23k for a slow, poor quality hatchback.

The Scirocco is quicker

1 year 49 weeks ago

The Scirocco is quicker perhaps because its a bit 'lightweight' in build quality? or because the Koreans are more realistic with their figures and the Germans a bit more Rose tinted, wouldn't be the first time.

If the VW is so superior, the regular cheapo Ceed should not have out-scored it in every factor when NCAP crash tested, but it does.

Just as its a recurring myth that Korean cars are cheap and crappy, the myth that VW's are especially well built also persists. In truth, personally I think they are very ordinary now and there is little evidence to justify a 'premium' - like all those yesterday actors still dining out on 'I used to be Dr Who you know'

As to value, we will have to see Kia's final spec sheet to properly judge it. It just irks me as to why shouldn't Kia charge exactly as much as a VW or whatever?

I think the specs are way out

1 year 49 weeks ago

I think the specs are way out

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Our Verdict

The Kia Procee'd looks the part, but does the drive deliver?

  • First Drive

    Kia Procee'd GT first drive review

    The Kia Procee'd GT middle-weight performance hatch blends everyday versatility with B-road thrills, all for a very reasonable price tag
  • First Drive

    Kia Procee'd first drive review

    Kia's three-door version of the Cee'd is sharply styled and well equipped, but lacks the final level of dynamic polish that marks out the best cars in its class

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