From £24,0108
The Kia Procee'd GT middle-weight performance hatch blends everyday versatility with B-road thrills, all for a very reasonable price tag
Matt Burt
25 June 2013

What is it?

The Kia Procee’d GT is the Korean manufacturer’s first entry into the performance hatch sector. Built at the company’s Zilina plant in Slovakia for the European market, the Procee’d GT is as another indication of Kia’s continuing ambitions.

Having established a solid, dependable model range and successful brand image, the company is now trying to spread its wings, adding some spice and pizzazz to the mix.

To create the Procee’d GT, Kia has dropped a turbocharged version of the ‘Gamma’ 1.6-litre direct-injection petrol engine – derived from the same block as the engine found in the Hyundai Veloster Turbo, but a much-changed unit – into a three-door Procee’d bodyshell.

It’s the first turbocharged engine to be offered by Kia in the UK. This engine is available in aspirated form in the regular Procee’d, but the addition of the twin-scroll turbocharger has increased its power output by 51 per cent and torque by 61 per cent. It develops 201bhp at 6000rpm, and 195lb ft of torque between 1750rpm and 4500rpm.

The suspension, steering, brakes and gearbox have all been reworked for more sporty dynamics, and there’s a host of ‘go-faster’ additions – splashes of colour and chrome, red stitching on the leather and the like – to add a sporty flavour to the hatchback.

Two trim levels are offered – GT, as tested here, and GT Tech. Both are comparatively well equipped, as is Kia’s wont. GT Tech gets satnav among its many extra toys, but also pushes the price up to £22,495 compared to the lower-spec’s car sub-£20k tag.

To mark Kia’s entry into the performance hatchback arena, there is also a limited-edition launch model called the GT 1st Edition, which adds an electric sunroof and some extra cosmetic tweaks. From a production run of 500, only 50 have been earmarked for the UK, priced at £23,995.

What's it like?

The key question should really be: can the Koreans can succeed at the black art of hot hatch building in the same effective way that they have mastered other aspects of the European car industry?

Based on looks alone, Kia is on to a winner with the sleek Procee’d GT, which has received an exterior makeover that emphasises muscularity without ruining the clean lines of the base car.

Then, as you open the driver’s door and clamber aboard, comes the first big surprise – supportive Recaro sports seats… in a Kia. That alone would have been unthinkable a decade ago.

Besides the seats, the cabin features the kind of styling cues that have become bywords for a sporting hatch – suede, stainless steel pedals, red stitching on the leather steering wheel – but it feels a little like a facsimile of other hot hatches.

Turn the key – at least, you do in the lower-spec GT variant we drove; GT Tech cars get a starter button – and there’s a touch of flair in the form of a TFT display that allows the driver to flip, via a ‘GT’ button on the steering wheel, between a good old-fashioned analogue speedo or a screen that shows your speed numerically along with engine torque, turbo boost pressure and engine coolant temperature.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Back to top

On the road, the Kia Procee’d GT’s performance places it towards the ‘korma’ end of the performance hatch spectrum, rather than ‘vindaloo’. At 7.4sec, it is one second slower than the Volkswagen Golf GTI from 0-62mph, for example.

The turbocharged engine is quite pleasant and provides a steady surge of power from fairly low revs. Note: that’s steady, rather than rocket-ship rapid; you never feel like you’re being pinned back into that Recaro seat. It’s just a smidgen too polite. Similarly, the cabin is well insulated from the sporty engine note; perhaps too much so for a car that should be instilling drama to all the senses. From the outside the car sounds more thrilling.

The Procee’d GT never feels time-warp quick, always controllable, but the overall package feels well sorted and the amount of power on tap is very well suited to its ride and handling. The suspension has been retuned from the standard Procee’d, with increased damper rebound and compression rates, stiffer springs and bushes and a larger rear anti-roll bar. Such tweaks often come with an attendant reduction in ride quality, especially when large alloys are bolted on for good measure.

Not so with the Procee’d GT, which runs on 18in wheels, but rides smoothly and comfortably and is never crashy. Our test through southern France took place on roads that are perhaps slightly smoother than those found in the UK, but on this evidence Kia has got the balance between sporting prowess and comfort spot on.

It also feels well composed during cornering, displaying very good body control and changing direction with a sense of purpose that’s fun without being fidgety. It’s an easy car to place on the road with confidence. The brakes don't feel as effective as those fitted to cars at the top of this class, although only intense driving shows up their limitations.

The steering is a little on the light side, especially at higher speeds, but the Procee’d GT is sufficiently communicative to make driving it extremely pleasurable.

Should I buy one?

It depends what level of spice you have appetite for. Kia says it has engineered the Procee’d GT “not to be the most powerful in class, but with everyday usability and civility in mind”.

Back to top

That means it might not be hot enough for some tastes, although not pitching your first performance hatch against long-established schoolyard bullies as the Vauxhall Astra VXR or Ford Focus ST is a wise move on Kia’s part.

It doesn't deserve to be referred to in such illustrious company, but this represents a very valiant first effort from Kia. What’s more, you can imagine the Procee’d GT being sufficiently quick and enjoyable for most everyday situations without being too brash for those times when you just want to get from A to B with the minimum of fuss.

Then there’s the price. Ducking under the £20,000 barrier by a slender margin could prove to be a masterstroke on Kia UK’s part. In basic specification, the Procee’d GT represents an excitingly quick, generously equipped and well rounded car for the money.

Kia Procee’d GT

Price £19,995; 0-62mph 7.4sec; Top speed 143mph; Economy 38.2mpg; CO2 171g/km; Kerb weight 1359kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1591cc, turbo, petrol; Power 201bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 195lb ft at 1750-4500rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
19
Add a comment…
businessman 30 June 2013

The car certainly looks the

The car certainly looks the park. Shame the design department haven't extended their talents to also improving the design of "KIA" badge/emblem. To me, it looks too basic and too bargain-basement.

Andrew 61 25 June 2013

Thinking man's gti ?

"sufficiently quick and enjoyable for most everyday situations without being too brash for those times when you just want to get from A to B with the minimum of fuss." Continuing this thought process it would be nice to get the engine/ chassis on the 5 door ?

paul896 26 June 2013

5 Door

The 5 Door version will follow soon.

For a car with 200bhp that is pretty decent. The Golf for example is fast because it is a bit lighter, DSG Gearbox and has more bhp. I do agree tho, a car with 200bhp should be a bit faster, unless KIA are being conservative with their times?

bomb 25 June 2013

-

This looks decent. It's obviously not designed to compete head-on with the established Ford/VW offerings but it's a smart looking package that still moves and entertains.

Given their engineering capability it's a shame they couldn't bring the direct injection 1.6T in under 160 g/km. Nissan manage 200PS/159 g/km from an identical take on the same engine, and that's in a Juke. I forsee swift improvements.

Nice to have the choice.

Find an Autocar car review