Kia Pro_cee'd GT 2015 review
Kia's Pro_cee'd GT hot hatch benefits from the Cee'd range refresh but can it justify the accompanying price hike?
The revised Kia Cee’d GT has taken a step upmarket, but with it comes a sizeable increase in price. It’s good to drive, and comes loaded with kit, we just question its place in such a busy and competitive sector. If you want a hot hatch, the Ford Focus ST makes more financial sense, while the Pro_cee’d’s lesser 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo ticks all the right boxes if you value rock-bottom running costs.
The Kia Pro_cee’d GT has never quite cut it alongside cars like the SEAT Leon Cupra or Volkswagen Golf GTI. But with prices starting from just over £20,000, it made up what it lacked in pace, with outstanding value for money.
However, the entire Kia Cee’d range has just undergone a mid-life facelift and along with tweaked styling and an updated colour palette, Kia has also added £2,900 to the cost of its flagship GT hot hatch. It means that, at £23,105, this three-door pro_cee’d GT is now £610 more than a basic Ford Focus ST. And that gets an extra 46bhp – along with a pair of rear doors.
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So how can a company priding itself on value, justify such a hefty premium for what is essentially some new headlights and a set of revised bumpers? Take a look at the kit list and things start to become clear.
There’s now only one specification available on the top-spec GT, with Kia removing the GT ‘Tech’ with this mid-life update. That means all cars now benefit from new 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlamps, heated Recaro seats, sat-nav and a colour reversing camera. DAB, dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers and a heated steering wheel are also included.
Elsewhere, Kia has installed an electronic sound generator to all GT models. There’s a GT button on the new flat-bottomed steering wheel, which when pressed, pumps an artificially synthesised engine sound into the cabin under acceleration. We’ve become quite accustomed to these systems in cars like the Peugeot 308 and BMW M4 – and the Kia’s is among the best executed of any we’ve tried. While it never feels truly natural, it certainly adds to the overall driving experience.
Updates to the existing 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine ensure peak torque is now available from just 1,500rpm, rather than 1,750rpm in the old model. While that undoubtedly makes the car more urgent at low revs, you’d have to drive the two back-to-back to notice any difference. It’ll cost the same to tax as before, too, and you won’t save any money at the pumps.
It may not have the spine shearing acceleration of the hottest, hot hatches, but there’s enough in reserve to put a smile on your face, and the well-weighted, direct steering and precise gearbox ensures the GT can be nicely rewarding on the right road.