Kia Pro_cee’d review
The three-door Kia Pro_cee’d blends sporty looks with almost as much practicality as the Cee’d hatch
The Kia Pro_cee’d is a rival to the SEAT Leon SC, three-door Hyundai i30 and Vauxhall Astra GTC. It's essentially a three-door version of the Cee’d hatchback, but while both cars share the same 4,310mm length, 1,780mm width and 2,650mm wheelbase, the Pro_cee’d is 40mm lower. And the dimensions only tell part of the story, as the Pro_cee’d seems noticeably sportier than the Cee’d, thanks to more aggressive bumpers, curvaceous tail-lights and a narrower front grille. Two engines are available – a 1.6 petrol and a 1.6 diesel – and there are two generous equipment levels – S and SE. A higher-performance Pro_cee’d GT model will join the line-up in the summer.
Our choice: Pro_cee’d 1.6 CRDi S
The past decade or so has seen Kias evolve from some of the blandest-looking cars on the market to some of the most distinctive, and the Pro_cee'd is no exception. Although it’s the same size as the Cee’d - except for being 40mm lower - the Pro_cee’d has a better stance on the road. Clever tricks like wide-set front fog lights and a narrower grille make it seem wider and more aggressive, while the curves of the prominent tail-lights are similar to those of the VW Scirocco. The Pro_cee’d’s interior is more soberly designed than the exterior, but it features some attractive black and silver trim to break up the grey plastic that would otherwise dominate.
Given its looks, you’d expect the Pro_cee’d to drive in a sporty, hard-riding way. In reality, though, it drives more like the regular Cee’d, with a supple, relatively soft ride that makes the car really comfortable on long journeys. This does mean plenty of roll in the bends, but it's reasonably well controlled. Add in nicely weighty but quite vague steering, and keen drivers may wish to look elsewhere. The 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines are smooth and quiet. The manual gearbox isn’t the slickest, although the ratios are well spaced to make the best out of the available power. A dual-clutch gearbox is an option on the top-spec petrol model only.
The Pro_cee’d and Cee’d are closely related, and both use the same engines and technology. As ever, the Pro_cee’d is covered by Kia’s fully transferable seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty, which has been extended to include seven years of map updates for the sat-nav on SE models. Fixed-price servicing plans are available, too, covering three or five years of trips to the dealer, with all costs included. Every Pro_cee'd gets stability control, hill-start assist, ISOFIX child seat mountings and six airbags as standard.
Despite losing a set of doors, the Pro_cee’d isn’t a great deal less practical than the regular Cee’d. The tailgate is light and swings up easily. The boot lip is quite high and narrow, which makes loading a little tricky, but the boot is the same 380 litres as the five-door Cee’d. The seat backs fold flat to create a 1,225-litre space, although the lower roofline will limit the size of what can be carried. The front doors are 270mm longer than the Cee’d, making getting into the rear seats easy, although the size of the doors can be tricky in tight parking spaces. Head and legroom is very impressive, even for adults. In the front, there’s plenty of space for driver and passenger, plus lots of cupholders and cubby holes, but things are a little cramped in the back. The slightly claustrophobic feeling isn't helped by small triangular rear windows that don't give rear-seat passengers much of a view out.
All models feature a fuel-saving stop-start system as standard. The 133bhp 1.6-litre petrol model returns a claimed average of 52.3mpg and emits 124g/km of CO2. However, that’s only in S spec. The SE has larger wheels, so the figures change to 47.1mpg and 137g/km respectively. The dual-clutch gearbox further affects performance, returning 46.3mpg and 140g/km. The 126bhp diesel S model manages 74.3mpg and 100g/km of CO2, while the SE diesel returns figures of 65.7mpg and 112g/km.