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New Kia Proceed GT 2021 review

Is the range-topping Kia Proceed GT estate the pick of the range? We find out…

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

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Verdict

Subtle styling and technology updates have helped evolve Kia’s Proceed estate into an even more attractive and advanced car that still delivers plenty of practicality. But in GT trim it’s more warm than hot, which means it’s hard to justify the extra outlay for a sportier range-topper that doesn’t quite deliver on this promise. With the onset of Kia’s electric revolution, cars like this highlight just how big a step it’s taken with new models such as the EV6.

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Kia has never quite ventured as far as a full-on performance car. Its upcoming EV6 GT will pack 577bhp and could change things, but for now, one of the latest additions to the Kia line-up – this updated Proceed GT – is still best classified as ‘warm’ rather than ‘hot’. Besides, in Proceed form the Kia’s estate body means it takes a more practical approach anyway.

There’s still a respectable level of aggression from the engine, though, with the 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged unit serving up 201bhp and 265Nm of torque for a 7.2-second 0-60mph time.

In the sportiest setting the motor is surprisingly raucous, gargling through its exhaust, even droning at times. But that swell of torque is fat enough, and available from just 1,500rpm, so you don’t have to really rev the engine hard to make progress.

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This has its benefits, because it’s not the most refined unit, and the harder you work it the less fruitful it is, delivering its best work lower down and in the mid-range.

The dual-clutch gearbox could be smoother, too. Shifts aren’t the sharpest, which disrupts your connection to the process of driving quickly, but then the steering isn’t the most communicative either. It’s certainly better than Kia’s previous generation of GT-badged products, though, with more precision than its predecessors.

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At a more leisurely pace and in the default drive setting the engine is less intrusive. However, then the Proceed GT’s 18-inch alloys and firm ride mean it’s compromised. Body control is fine, but ride comfort and refinement could be better, plus there’s a bit of tyre roar at higher speeds due to the big load area at the rear.

But this does offer a very versatile 594 litres with the rear seats in place. There’s lots of rear leg and headroom, too, so the Proceed serves up more than enough family-friendly practicality.

GT trim is the top of the tree, so there’s lots of standard equipment, including a sportier bodykit, automatic LED headlights and half-leather sports seats that offer a good level of support. They’re also heated (along with the steering wheel), while buyers benefit from dual-zone climate control, smart- park assist with front and rear parking sensors, plus a reversing camera as part of the 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment. This also comes with sat-nav, connected services, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The system responds quickly and the graphics are crisp enough. Safety tech includes forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking and lane-keep assist.

Yet while Kia has improved in many areas, one weak point is efficiency; at a claimed 41.5mpg and 153g/km CO2, the Proceed GT could be more economical.

At £29,310, it’s also far from a bargain, but don’t forget Kia’s standard seven-year warranty, which could be a big bonus for cash buyers. If you’re looking to buy on finance, then on a three-year PCP deal (10,000 miles per annum) with a £2,913 deposit, you’ll pay £405 a month.

The subtly tweaked styling has kept the sleek-looking Kia competitive, with sharper headlights and tail-lights. It’s just a shame that it doesn’t back this up dynamically, having set its stall out as the hottest Ceed/Proceed variant on offer.

In reality, a sporty GT-Line model with Kia’s 1.5-litre engine offers pretty much just as much equipment, the same stylish looks and superior efficiency, as well as a £2,950 saving. The GT’s performance isn’t worth the extra cash in our eyes.

Model:Kia Proceed GT
Price:£29,310
Engine:1.6-litre 4cyl turbo petrol
Power/torque:201bhp/265Nm
Transmission:Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, front-wheel drive
0-60mph:7.2 seconds
Top speed:139mph
Economy:41.5mpg
CO2:153g/km
On sale:Now
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Sean’s been writing about cars since 2010, having worked for outlets as diverse as PistonHeads, MSN Cars, Which? Cars, Race Tech – a specialist motorsport publication – and most recently Auto Express and sister titles Carbuyer and DrivingElectric

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