Car ReviewsFirst Drive

2014 Kia pro_cee’d GT review

Isaac Bober’s 2014 Kia pro_cee’d GT review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety and verdict.

In a nutshell The Kia Pro_cee’d GT marks the brand’s first step into hot hatch territory.

Practical Motoring says All up, the Kia pro_cee’d GT offers enough performance to be fun to drive, plenty of gear for the money and enough room inside for four people. Kia’s first real toe in the water of performance hatches is a good one, and while the brand doesn’t suggest it’s a competitor to, say, Ford’s Focus ST it’s a great indication of the brand’s ability – the next generation pro_cee’d GT will be the one to watch.

NO LONGER A NICHE BRAND, KIA has well and truly established itself as a mainstream player in the Australian new car market with a solid range of cars and SUVs. But, the car you’re looking at right now, the Pro_cee’d (pronounced proceed) GT marks the brand’s ambitions to stretch its wings.

Originally intended to be sold only in Europe, the Kia pro_cee’d GT has finally made it into Australian dealerships after a small amount of tweaking, locally, to the suspension and steering. And, while the garden-variety pro_cee’d will eventually make its way Down Under, Kia’s been clever in launching the hot-shoe variety first to garner the trickle down effect of having all and sundry gush over the halo model.

the Kia pro_cee'd GT

For the pro_cee’d GT, Kia has made use of its 1.6-litre four-cylinder ‘Gamma’ engine and added a twin-scroll turbocharger to it. It’s, more or less, the same engine that runs in the Hyundai Veloster Turbo, although Kia’s engineers have carried out extensive work to differentiate the two engines.

So, the 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine produces 150kW of power (at 6000rpm) and 265Nm of torque (from 1750-4500rpm) – more than 80% of torque is available from just off idle at 1500rpm. That’s a performance lift, over the base engine, of around 50% and 60%, respectively.

For number crunchers, the pro_cee’d GT will hit the legal limit (100km/h) in 7.4 seconds (that’s one second slower than a Volkswagen Golf GTI), and accelerate from 80-110km/h in fifth gear in around seven seconds. It averages 7.4L/100km and emits 171g/km of CO2. The turbocharged engine drives the front wheels only via a six-speed manual transmission.

As is Kia’s want here in Australia, it’s engineering team has tweaked the already tweaked steering and suspension to better suit Australian tastes and driving conditions. These combine with the go-faster trim on the outside and inside (including Recaro front seats) to create an attractive proposition.

Clamber into the pro_cee’d GT Tech that we drove (although it’s the same in the base GT) and you’ll find your backside cupped by Recaro sports seats and that would have been unthinkable a few years ago… elsewhere inside you’ll see the typical hot hatch adornments: stainless steel pedals, chrome highlights, and contrasted red stitching on the seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The new Kia pro_cee'd GT

Press the starter button and the pro_cee’d whispers into life and that’s a little disappointing, because something that looks as aggressive as this should sound a little angrier. And it doesn’t get any better for the exhaust note once you’re up and running, indeed, from the inside of the car you can barely hear the engine, although it does sound a little more dramatic from the outside.

Up and running, the pro_cee’d GT’s turbocharged engine offers plenty of oomph from low revs but it won’t ever pin back your ears – it feels muscular rather than urgent. Kia Australia has re-mapped the steering which offers direct albeit light-feeling steering, and tuned (to suit Australians) the already tuned suspension, which makes for a package that changes direction with purpose and never feels crashy across broken surfaces. Indeed, Kia has managed to balance performance with comfort perfectly.

the Kia pro_cee'd GT

Much has been made by other motoring publications of the Kia pro_cee’d GT’s practicality. Sure, there’s room in the back for three and big wide door openings make it pretty easy to get across the folded down front seats and into the back, but headroom is limited due to the rake of the roof, although there’s decent legroom. However, try and do as we did and fit a childseat to the back and you’ll struggle not only to get it in through the door opening but then to get the seat fitted tightly, so, if you’re after a warm hot hatch to handle a young family you’d probably best look elsewhere.

The Kia pro_cee’d GT is available in two trim levels: GT and GT Tech (as tested here). Both get aggressive-looking front and rear bumpers, side sill mouldings dual exhausts, LED daytime running lights and 18-inch alloy wheels. Both are well equipped for the money, and the GT Tech adds a panoramic sunroof, smart key with push button start and door handle lighting. The GT lists from $29,990 (+ORC) while the GT Tech is priced from $33,490 (+ORC) – metallic paint is a $595 extra cost option.

the Kia pro_cee'd GT

In terms of safety, the Kia pro_cee’d GT has received a five-star EuroNCAP crash safety rating and Kia Australia is confident it will receive a similar five-star rating from ANCAP. As standard the pro_cee’d GT gets Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BAS), six airbags, seat-belt reminder, impact-sensing door unlocking and three child seat anchors plus two ISOFIX child-seat mounts. The pro_cee’d GT comes standard with six airbags.

Kia pro_cee’d GT Tech

Pricing from $33,490 (+ORC) Warranty five-star, unlimited kilometres Safety five-star EuroNCAP Engine 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol Power/Torque 150kW/265Nm Transmission six-speed manual only Body 4310mm (L); 1780mm (W); 1430mm (H) Weight 1359kg Thirst 7.4L/100km

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober