Kia Pro_cee'd GT

25 Jun, 2013 9:45am Paul Bond

Is South Korea's first hot hatch any good? We drive the all-new Kia Pro_cee'd GT to find out


Competition in the hot-hatch segment is tougher than ever. But Kia has judged its first effort well. The Pro_cee'd GT may not be the fastest or most accomplished around a track but it does have plenty of useable real-world performance. It also looks great inside and out, comes with tonnes of standard kit and undercuts its rivals by at least £2,000 – making it decent value. Throw in a practical cabin and seven-year warranty and the Kia is well worth a look.

Kia has made its first ever hot hatch. Designed, developed and sold exclusively in Europe, the rakish three-door Pro_cee'd GT is first to arrive, with a more practical five-door model due out by the start of next year.

The styling does an excellent job of setting it apart as the flagship of the range. Bold quad LED lights sit at either corner of the aggressive new front bumper and Golf GTI-inspired details like the honeycomb grille and red pin-stripe along the front splitter all look fantastic.

Side skirts and a set of dual exhausts complete the styling overhaul, while a smart set of two-tone multi-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels neatly fill out the wide arches.

Under the bonnet sits an uprated version of Kia's 'Gamma' turbocharged petrol engine. The 1.6-litre direct injection unit uses a twin-scroll turbo to boost power to 201bhp and the torque curve offers a flat 265Nm from as low as 1,750rpm.

That leaves it some way off its key rivals like the new Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST in the current hot hatch power war, but still translates to a brisk 0-60mph time of 7.4 seconds and a 143mph top speed. It also falls short in terms of running costs, managing less than 40mpg on the official test, while emitting more than 170g/km of C02.

On the road, there is plenty of low down urgency from the engine, and the turbo gives the engine a punchy - if not electricfying - boost in the mid-range, before pulling more urgently to the 7,000rpm redline.

To cope with the extra power, the GT gets stiffer springs and dampers, bigger brakes, a thicker rear anti-roll bar and a stickier set of Michelin tyres over the standard car.

The result is some very tidy handling indeed. At low speed the ride thuds and jitters slightly but it gains composure the faster you go, and does a good job of smothering bigger bumps in the road. There is enough front-end grip to keep the GT feeling stable even in tight hairpin corners and the steering is weighty and accurate enough, although doesn't provide a great deal of feedback.

The 'Flex-steer' variable setup from the standard car has been dropped, but the rack still has an odd tendency to self centre and can suddenly go light around the straight-ahead, and it lacks the sharpness of pricier rivals like the Megane RS and Ford Focus ST.

Inside, the Kia feels every bit as plush as its rivals with figure-hugging Recaro seats, brushed alloy pedals and plenty of soft-touch plastics. The driving position is excellent and every model gets a smart TFT central colour display between the dials that gives vital performance data.You can access the screen at any time by simply pushing the 'GT' button located on the multi-function steering wheel.

Upgrade to a 'Tech' model for an extra £2,495 and your Pro_cee'd gets a seven-inch colour display, sat-nav, heating for the seats and steering wheel and xenon headlights - but the entry-level car comes with more than enough kit to meet the needs of most buyers.

Despite its three-door bodystyle, the boot is a decent 380 litres in size, and there is a really generous amount of space for rear passengers - although it feels a little cramped thanks to the dark headlining and small rear windows.

Disqus - noscript

How many buttons/switches/wheels on the steering wheel?

Cover the badge and many may see it as a good looking car with neat lines.

When it comes to emissions, Kia seems to lag far behind the European rivals. A Golf GTI is nearly a second faster and yet a few VED bands cleaner. Even the ballistic A45 AMG is a whole 10g/km cleaner.

A large touchscreen could lift the dashboard to more upmarket pretensions.

The standard Cee'd already looks great this looks brilliant and dispite some complaing of it's performance it fullfils it's roll as a GT (Grand Tourer) with a more than adequate 0-60 time well done Kia
a very nice 1st effort.

Lovely! Under £20K, 201BHP, and a good badge. Like this very much.

Looks quite good, but I'm not convinced by the array of controls on the steering wheel.

What's it for? Oh yes: steering.

I like it, looks good but would I pick it over a focus st or golf Good work kia!

Remember though, the VAG cars are the worst for publishing inaccurate efficiency figures.

I do agree however, for what it is, it's very slow for that fuel efficiency, my BMW could easily outrun the KIA whilst achieving 50+ mpg, and thats REAL WORLD economy!

Kia is owned by GM who own Vauxhall this is a Vauxhall Astra Gtc 3dr Hatchback in KIA clothes with Vauxhalls new 1.6Turbo Engine, It's got good power for a 1.6T 201 bhp.

Wrong - Kia is not owned by GM and never was. Kia is part of Hyundai Group.

Have just ordered one of these for my wife and can't wait for it to arrive. I had shortlisted the Seat Leon FR, Golf GTi and Astra GTC, and in my own mind had chosen the Leon, which I took my wife to see at our local dealership, with a view to buying. To be fair I would never have dreamed of even looking at a Kia, but my local Seat dealer happens to share a showroom site with the local Kia dealer. We only saw the ProCeed GT quite literally by accident, but were literally blown away. It not only looks fantastic on the outside (everything a Golf GTi really ought to look like but doesn't), but the interior style, quality and kit was just miles ahead of other cars we had seen. OK, it's not a GTi beater on paper, but frankly in terms of desirability and the 'x-factor' it makes the Golf look plain boring. My opinion of Kia, having actually seen the product now, is that they are definitely now ahead of mainstream firms like Ford/Vauxhall/Renault. Take a look- you won't be disappointed.

Key specs

  • Price: £19,995
  • Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl turbo petrol
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-60mph: 7.4 seconds
  • Top speed: 143mph
  • Power: 201bhp
  • Torque: 265Nm
  • Economy: 38.2mpg
  • CO2: 171g/km
  • Equipment: 18-inch alloys, Recaro sports seats, Bluetooth, climate control, multi-function steering wheel, leather upholstery
  • On sale: July 1st