What is it?
This is the punctuation-bothering, three-door Kia Pro_cee’d (plain Cee’d to you, me and the boot badge).
From the outside, the three-door Cee’d has the look of a premium hatch (the Audi A3, mostly). But derivative though it might be, it’s handsome enough.
What's it like?
The interior is more claustrophobic than the five-door Cee’d in the rear, but in the front, longer doors with a rising windowline aside, it’s pure five-door. Which means good rather than great; some cheaper plastics disappoint in an otherwise well assembled, well finished cabin.
Engine options will mirror the five-door range; we tried the new 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel that three-door Cee’ds get first (they’ll filter into other models later). It’s loud around town and though it settles at a cruise, it never feels as refined as the 1.6-litre diesel. The six-speed manual’s shift is precise, and other control weights are very good and consistent.
All three-door Cee’ds are lighter than their five-door counterparts (by up to 85kg), and the suspension has been tuned accordingly. But our test car came on optional 17in alloys, which bring with them even stiffer springs. We had no complaints about body control, but I’m less convinced about the ride. And handling is tidy rather than engaging.
Should I buy one?
Our Pro_cee’d was also loaded with sunroof, sat-nav and leather, the stuff Kia’s British buyers don’t usually go for. And here lies Kia UK’s quandary. Follow other Golf-segment cars and pitch the three-door at a few hundred notes less than the five-door? Same price, more kit? Or stick leather and nav on it and give it a price increase?
I’m not sure how many buyers will pay extra for two less doors and slippery seats, but the mere fact that Kia is thinking about it tells you a lot about its ambition. And the car.