Flagship rear-drive fastback or hardcore hot hatch? Those are the two distinct directions taken by Kia and Hyundai as the Korean sister brands each beef up their ranges with enthusiast models.

The Paris motor show features Kia’s second fastback model, the Proceed – a dramatically styled five-door shooting-brake version of the Golf-sized front-drive Ceed hatch, which lines up as a more affordable ‘son of’ version of the rear-drive Stinger.

Kia has carefully been preparing the way for the Proceed by adding GT-Line and GT trim levels – just like Audi has S-Line, S and RS models and Ford has ST-Line, ST and RS models.

The production Proceed has been revealed

Currently, around one in five Kias sold in the UK is GT or GT-Line trim and at launch the new Proceed will only be available in GT or GT-Line spec. In future, the mix might even rise to one in three.

Neither is as hardcore as Hyundai’s N performance family of cars – developed in part at the Nürburgring, and supporting the firm’s World Rally Championship campaign.

Kia UK boss Paul Philpott, whose 11-year stint at at the company has been matched by steadily rising sales, says Kia won’t move into the same hardcore, handling-inspired direction that Hyundai has, to give the two nameplates distinctive market positions.

“They have gone their way and we are concentrating on the fastback-type cars like the Stinger and Proceed,” he said. “We have the V6-powered Stinger and that’s as hot as we’ll get.”

UK buyers have certainly warmed to the idea of rapid Kia models, with the V6-powered Stinger having taken a much richer mix of sales than originally forecast.

A question for the future is whether Kia should consider hotter models - modelled on Ford’s RS range - to keep the sales momentum going, or whether more fastbacks and shooting brakes will keep Kia’s model range distinct from Hyundai.

What do you think?

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