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  • Punch engine; tidy handling; effective sports styling; excellent driving position; expect good value
  • Not as quick as some rivals; some steering issues; low-speed ride quality; more practical five-door not coming

8 / 10

Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Review
Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Review
Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Review
by Paul Bond

The Kia Pro_Cee’d GT sees the company enter the hot-hatch fray for the first time.

It was designed and developed for Europe, though Kia Australia is bringing the three-door version here in early 2014.

This will be first model from the Kia Cee’d range to be sold locally. The regular model is Euro-focused and was always considered too expensive to import, with Kia Australia instead relying on the Cerato.

We’ve tested the Pro_Cee’d GT in the UK ahead of its arrival to get an early feel for a car that will have the aim of further boosting Kia’s image in Australia. It’s like to be priced similarly to the Hyundai Veloster Turbo that costs $31,990, with Kia Australia hoping to get the model before the end of 2013.

The styling of the Kia Pro_Cee’d GT features an aggressive front bumper with bold-looking daytime running lights comprising four LEDs and Golf GTI-influenced honeycombe grille and central air intake.

Twin oval exhaust pipes, a low ride height and 18-inch alloy wheels that fill the wheel arches completes the sporty look.

The engine bay is a key point of importance for a hot-hatch, and here the Pro_Cee’d GT employs a direct fuel injection 1.6-litre four-cylinder with turbocharging.

Outputs of 150kW of power and 265Nm of torque leave the GT shy of rivals such as the Golf GTI (162 to 169kW) and Ford Focus ST (184kW), though this is turned into respectable performance without matching the pace of those cars.

Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Review
Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Review
Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Review
Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Review

The Kia Pro_Cee’d GT accelerates from 0-100km/h in 7.7 seconds, according to the company. Fuel consumption on the UK cycle equates to about 7.4L/100km.

From the driver’s seat, the engine has plenty of low-down urgency and the twin-scroll turbo delivers a punchy – if not electrifying – mid-range boost, before pulling more energetically to the 7000rpm redline.

To help the front-wheel-drive GT cope with the extra power, the suspension is stiffened, there’s a thicker rear anti-roll bar, grippier (Michelin) tyres and bigger brakes.

Head into some corners and the handling is very tidy indeed. There’s enough front-end grip to keep the Kia Pro_Cee’d GT feeling stable in in tight hairpins, and the steering is sufficiently accurate and weighty without providing a great deal of feedback.

The Flex-steer variable set-up of the stock Cee’d is dropped, though the steering rack still has an odd tendency to self centre, lighten unexpectedly at times and generally lacks the sharpness of pricier competitors such as the Focus ST or Renault Megane RS.

The low-speed ride thuds and jitters but bigger bumps are smothered and the GT gets smoother as speeds rise.

Inside, the GT feels every bit as plush as rivals. There are plenty of soft-touch materials, the pedals are brushed alloy, and front occupants sit in figure-hugging leather Recaros.

Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Review
Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Review
Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Review
Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Review

That driving position is excellent, too, and a smart-looking TFT central colour display between the dials provides vital performance data. Pressing a GT button on the multi-function steering wheel accesses the screen.

In the UK, a Tech grade costs 2500 extraand brings a seven-inch colour display, satellite navigation, seat heating, steering wheel heating, and xenon headlights.

But the standard Kia Pro_Cee’d GT comes with more than enough gear to meet the needs of most buyers.

Despite the three-door body style (though a five-door version will become available in Europe), there’s a decently sized boot at 380 litres, plus generous rear-seat space. Small rear windows and dark rooflining, though, can make the back seat feel a little cramped.

The Kia Pro_Cee’d GT may not be the quickest or most accomplished around a racetrack, but it does have plenty of useable performance.

It looks great inside and out, and even when it comes to Australia a loaded standard equipment list and a five-year warranty can be expected along with pricing that undercuts the likes of the Focus ST, RS Megane and GTI.

The hot-hatch category is extremely competitive, but first impressions are that Kia has judged its first effort well.

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Kia Pro_Cee'd GT Review
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  • F1orce

    All its rivals have 2L engines. This engine is more sophisticated than the rivals though, and it’s also the same architecture that is used for the Sonata, Optima Turbo etc

    • Richard

      More sophisticated in what way? It’s good enough at the price point.

    • matt

      how is mitsubishi’s mid 90’s GDI technology sophisticated? its thirsty and slow for what its meant to be. If a swift sport gets to a claimed 100 kays in 8.1 seconds, I fail to see how this and the veloster turbo are so slow in comparison. you cant use the “geared for economy” argument either, they shouldn’t have to be with direct injection and a T/S turbo.

      • $29896495

        If the story actual is correct in naming Focus etc, it’s a mistake, should be aiming mid to low twenties – Fiesta with 1.6 ST

        • Rocket

          It is a Focus sized car so will be aiming at mid thirties I would think.

        • Zaccy16

          i would easily take a ST Fiesta over this

          • Nathan

            Fiesta is a light car, this is a small car. Apples with oranges.

      • Zaccy16

        i agree, cheaper and less power polo gti takes 6.9 seconds from its 1.4 turbo supercharged 132 kw engine and the fiesta st with the same amount of power has similar performance figures to the polo

        • Nathan

          Polo is a light car, this is a small car. Apples with oranges.

          • Davos

            Nathan, heres a famous quote I heard once.
            “Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level but beat you with experience.”

        • Rainer Lucks

          The Kia Pro_ceed will do 100km in 6.9 to 7 seconds respectively. This is achieved after the Vehicle has covered some 5 to 10 thousand K. Pretty damned good for a 1.6 and nothing to be sniffed about. By the way! It is not about the speed alone. It is about the whole package!

      • Dave

        The engine is sophisticated because it is the rebuilt version, re-engineered from the ground up and is now being sold back to Mitsubishi. I would probably guess it’s mainly aluminium like it’s big brother the Lambda.

  • racrepus

    I hope they come out with like a… ‘K-GT’ version or something with more power/torque and sharper steering to actually rival the GTI, ST, RS. As it is, to me this isn’t a true hot hatch, it’s just a regular 1.6 turbo hatch (aimed at economy) with a body kit. It’s great at being just that, but it’s no hot hatch.

  • Exar Kun

    Great looking car and well equipped. That alone should net them a few sales. It’s not a full hot hatch but it’s priced accordingly too so good on ’em.

    • Sumpguard

      Yeah I love the styling too. Silly name though.

  • Jackson

    I actually saw a white one on the road last week near Ryde/Rhodes… Looked pretty good, but suprising you had to drive one in Europe and not the local version?

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au Jez Spinks

      Kia Australia would have at least one in the country for purposes such as ADR homologation, Jackson, but it’s not available for testing yet as the car won’t launch here until the first quarter of 2014 unfortunately. Rgs

    • Jon

      Same, I swear I saw it around that area too.
      At least I’m not hallucinating

  • $29896495

    Price wise this should be targeting the Fiesta, not cars above. We’re talking 1.6 not 2lt. I like this car a lot but really, to get sales, they need to be realistic.

    • F1orce

      It’s more a more substantial car than the Fiesta, won’t you say?

      • sam

        Similar target market 3 door hatch. It’s a little bigger but not really any different in genre. I agree with huwtm, Fiesta ST is considerable faster and 6k cheaper! That’s a big difference. Not to mention the Fiesta has gotten rave reviews I see Kia struggling to sell these to hot hatch.

        • sam

          hot hatch ‘fans’

      • $29896495

        It’s half a size up but motor isn’t. In this area of the market, that’s a deficit. Engine matches Fiesta ST and being larger and heavier is a negative with the smaller motor

        • Darryl

          More a competitor for the Pulsar SSS isn’t it? In fact those performance figures aren’t a great deal quicker than the 2 litre Cerato

    • bd

      The Fiesta is a whole segment down.

      The Pro_cee’d GT is the Euro equivalent for the Cerato Koup which competes against the Ford Focus with the Pro_cee’d having the better overall design and interior in comparison to the Cerato Koup (even the new one).

      The Kia Rio competes against the Fiesta and Kia plans on developing a “warm hatch” variant for the Rio (at least for Europe).

      • $29896495

        True dimensionally, but capacity wise people will cross shop it with the Fiesta. It’s just a fact created by the 1.6. As I said I Like the car, but engine is to small to go up against the 2 lt, but the possible draw back of size and 1.6, could give it an advantage against the fiesta if priced right. Priced up, it’s dead in the water, Priced along side the Fiesta, for non enthusiasts, it could be a winner, where the size will be an advantage and the performance and handling may not matter so much.

        • bd

          Really, engine size is not the a primary factor since most drivers care more about interior room/quality and amenities.

          The Fiesta is already on the smaller side of the subcompacts (as is the Focus when it comes to compacts) and the interior of the Fiesta simply does not hold up to the Pro_cee’d GT.

          The Chrysler 300 has a V8 trim but the Lexus GS does not – which do you think is seen more as a competitor to the 5 Series, E Class, etc.?

          • $29896495

            Last first – neither.

            At this level we are talking Hot Hatches. Engine capacity and performance is King. Mid sizers with 2 lt are going to be prefered. (Common Sense) For people like me who prefer two or three doors, We have two Kia, offerings, both with engines down n capacity at 1.6. We have the Fiesta a great looking car, which handles and performs.At this stage could 6 to 8K lighter in price. There’s no denying that the Kias have nicer dash boards. But I read every where that their steering and handling doesn’t match the Fords. This is where as individual buyer we’d have to make the choice. I’d probably lean towards the Kia, because I want room in the foot well for a dead peddle. But the opening lines in this paragraph will be paramount for most looking for a Hot hatch. Which would see a lot of sales go to Fiesta, over and above the benefits of the Kia.

    • Nathan

      “Fiesta is a light car, this is a small car. Apples with oranges.”

  • Swe Expat

    I have seen one parked on the side of the road two weeks ago. Looks bloody awesome the best design from Kia thus far. Funny combination of Koran car with Swedish plates driven somewhere in the Euro alps!

  • Pauly

    Its a shame they are not offering the option of an automatic transmission like the Veloster Turbo.

    Yes, yes, yes we all know manual is what hot hatches are about. But AT LEAST give people the OPTION of an automatic if they want one…. It will also increase the number of sales you get in Australia too.

    How this 3 door hatch will compare the the Kia Koup that is arriving with the same engine next month will be interesting…. As both of them are 3 door cars…

    Does the new Kia Koup offer an automatic option?

    • $29896495

      No, the Koup is a two door with boot. For practicality and maybe slightly better looks you’d go the hatch maybe. As this is barely warm, in hot hatch term, I don’t see why it couldn’t have an auto option for 5K make it worth the manufacturers while to import a couple. I believe the Koup does but it’s not a hatch.

  • bd

    This is more of a “warm” hatch than a hot hatch.

    Down the line, Kia may eventually offer a more performance-oriented version.

  • Tangible

    I really hate small green house (windows) even I am not a claustrophobia.
    And the tiny boot space isn’t good thing.
    I can smell same dubiousness as Hyundai Veroster..

    I think jack-up version of this car is better looking, but not cool as Juke.
    Juke isn’t handsome car, but it has a taste and individuality.

  • Johnny

    Those DRL’s look like they’re from a Haul truck or any other piece of earth moving equipment.

  • Edward

    The front looks great, the side looks a bit like a Fiesta, and the back is busy like a kid’s sports watch. I wish it had a more consistent design throughout, but I can see this working in Australia. Not everyone can justify the $20k jump into hot hatch territory without being a bit of an enthusiast.

  • Norm

    Hmmm….”The low-speed ride thuds and jitters”. Not exactly a four star virtue? Still – it’s a Rembrandt compared to the Veloster…:)

    I wonder if Shreyer wants to re do that logo?

  • Don Quay

    P R O underscore C double E apostophe D? Don’t you agree that’s a bit of a mouthful? I also think it needs more lights at the front.

  • MisterZed

    This car is totally pointless. Kia are already bringing in the new Cerato coupe very soon.

    • $29896495

      It’s got a hatch back – different interior, in some ways better looking.

    • Pauly

      Cerato Koup is a Coupe.
      Pro Cee’d GT is a Hatch Back.

      It does have a point.

      Its just like VW:

      Scirocco R is a Coupe.
      Gold R is a Hatch Back.

      And no one winged about VW having the Scirocco R and Golf R in their line up….

      • MisterZed

        Actually, the Scirocco is a hatchback.

    • Jacob

      But it is designed and built in Europe!

  • Zaccy16

    Nice looking car, i like the interior more than the ceratos, i would easily buy this over the horrible veloster but its a warm hatch not a hot hatch and i would prefer the smaller fiesta ST for better handling and fun

    • Nathan

      We get it you love the Fiesta ST. Moving on…

  • Jon Boy

    Only a 5 year warranty? Why only half the warranty offered in the US? Not to mention Kia & Hyundai both have 100,000 mile coverage, that’s 160,000km!
    Nice looking but needs to be a little quicker on the 0-100 time and definitely should have the 5 door here too.

  • Guest2

    it’s brother, KIA GT Stinger is way better, with a RWD+2.0TGDI+low weight 1303kg = WOW!!!

  • Minwoo

    If it was me and i had 30 k to spend on a car i would def consider the new clio rs 200 edc.. that lil pocket rocket is on its on league. You get 6 spd dual clutch gear box along with launch control. Also has a turbo charged 1.6 litre 4 banger but its a lot quicker. does 0-100km in 6.7 seconds. thats a second quicker!!!! also has 5 doors. all this car has is the looks

    • http://www.novakill.com/ MotorMouth

      But again, the Clio is a size smaller so there is little point in comparing the two. This thing has a massive boot and real back seats that adults can be comfortable in all day.

  • Ricochet

    If it’s priced at one cent over thirty grand it won’t sell

    • chris

      I agree with the price factor …. I own a sporty looking RIO , so for me the pro ceed gt is a better version of the rio , don’t get me wrong i think it’s un awesome car … I would love to buy a focus st but the price low 40k too much money for a car … So if the pro ceed gt is 30k or under i’ll definitely buy one ….

  • Tom C

    Just looked it up. AMMI are willing to insure this for me $1000 a year cheaper then a Focus ST (22 year old male). Also cheaper then I currently pay for my 2011 standard Focus. Considering Fuel usage, this is close to $1500 a year cheaper. I prefer the ST in every way, but that is a lot of cash. 6K over my planned ownership.