The 2016 Kia Pro_cee'd GT has been detailed, and there have been a broad range of changes to the slow-selling warm hatch.
The enhancements include updates to its powertrain, but crucially the 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo engine still hasn't been adjoined to an automatic gearbox - it remains a six-speed manual proposition only.
The power outputs remain at 150kW and 265Nm, but Kia has fitted the car with a new turbocharger system that offers up increased air pressure for better low-end torque and response. The South Korean brand claims its European-made warm hatch can now sprint from 0-100km/h in 7.6 seconds, 0.1sec quicker than before.
Kia has followed many of its competitors by adding an electronic sound generator which is activated by pressing the ‘GT Mode’ button on the steering wheel. The effect is that the engine's note is synthesised into the cabin.
As for exterior changes, the Pro_cee'd GT (note: no images of the new model available) gets a new 18-inch wheel design. Inside, the Pro_cee'd GT gets a new flat-bottomed steering wheel, and the start button is now aluminium rather than black plastic.
The Kia Pro_cee'd GT has always ranked highly among the hot hatch crowd for CarAdvice's testers, but its brakes haven't rated as well. Thankfully, they've been updated as part of this enhancement, with the front discs moving from 300mm to 320mm. As such, Kia claims the 100-0km/h braking distance has been reduced from 36.4 metres to 35.0 metres.
As we've found, the Kia's excellent chassis balance and confident steering comes as a result of Kia Australia's local tuning program, headed by Graeme Gambold, and its success has been so highly noted that all Pro_cee'd GT models worldwide will now adopt the suspension and steering setup.
According to Kia general manager of media and corporate communications, Kevin Hepworth, the tune has been improved once more for the 2016 update, as well as the steering.
"It's great recognition for the work they're doing here," Hepworth said.
However, that might not be enough to ensure the car will continue to be sold here, and that comes down to the fact that it remains unavailable with an automatic gearbox option despite sister brand Hyundai recently updating its Veloster model with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Locally, Pro_cee'd GT sales are lagging at about 35 per month, well behind the Veloster (average 260 per month) and the Toyota 86 manual/auto (average 270 per month). And, given the Pro_cee'd GT is primarily sold in Europe - Australia is the only country outside of Europe that takes it - and because manual is more widely accepted there, an automatic option appears some way off.
Indeed, Hepworth suggested that the 2016 model has "not yet been signed off", and no examples of the new model have been ordered yet.