Kia Pro cee’d hatchback (2008 – ) first drive
Thursday 31 January 2008
The Kia Pro_cee’d three-door coupe-style hatchback is a new model based on 2007’s acclaimed five-door model, the Kia Cee’d.
After building a reputation based on value for money and reliability with economical well-specced cars and the introduction of its seven year warranty, Kia is now aiming at buyers who consider style as important as a bargain.
We flew out to the European launch in Turkey to find out whether the Kia Pro_cee’d fits the bill.
The Kia Pro_cee’d is the sexy face of the Korean manufacturer’s acclaimed five door family hatchback, the Kia Cee’d.
Both cars share the same wheelbase, but differences above have created two distinct cars.
The Pro_cee’d is 15mm longer and 30mm lower than the parent car which helps create a coupe-like appearance with genuine sporty appeal and a hint of the Audi A3.
The driver and passenger doors are 245mm longer than on the five-door version, while a roof spoiler, new fog lights, oval exhaust pipe and side belt line rising to the rear wheel arches all contribute to deliver a convincing sporty look. It looks especially good in white.
In fact only the front wings and bonnet come from the five-door model and the rear looks completely different, supporting Kia’s view that this is a significant model in its own right rather than a five door with a couple of doors removed.
Step inside the car and you are greeted by the same interior as the Cee’d.
The lowered roof, larger doors and a more shallow windscreen (starting slightly lower down the car) are the main indications this is a different car to the Cee’d.
Overall, there are fewer interior differences. The Pro_cee’d shares the same bulbous central console housing audio controls and air-con found in the five-door while the warm, orange illuminated information display is dominated by the central speedo, flanked by rev counter on one side and fuel/temperature gauges on the other.
Kia keeps it practical
The Pro_cee’d is aimed at buyers more concerned with style than transporting a family but Kia still wanted to ensure it was a practical purchase and has tried to limit the compromises.
Access to the rear seats is easy, although the reduction in roof height will mean taller passengers could find their heads scraping the roof lining, though at 5ft 8½ ins, I found there was plenty of room.
The boot retains the 340-litre five door capacity of the Cee’d but the space available with the rear seats down has been reduced from 1,300 to a still impressive 1,130 litres.
1.6-litre diesel: pick of the bunch
Kia offers four engine choices for the Pro_cee’d: a 1.6-litre turbodiesel (tuned to either 89bhp or 113bhp) and a 2-litre turbo diesel as well as 1.6-litre and 1.4-litre petrol alternatives. The first three engines will be available at launch in February 2008 while the 1.4-litre petrol engine will be available later in the year.
The 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre engines come with a five speed manual gearbox as standard while the 2-litre turbodiesel comes with a six speed manual gearbox.
If you’re looking for an automatic, that is an option on the 1.6-litre petrol model, and has four forward gears.
We tested each of the first three at the launch event in Turkey this week and found the 1.6-litre diesel the pick of the bunch.
Ours was the 113bhp model which covers 0-62mph in 11.4 seconds and has a top speed of 117mph. We found it delivered plenty of power at low revs and low speeds while having the oomph to ensure confident acceleration and overtaking at higher speeds.
The 2-litre diesel packs a bigger punch, covering 0-62mph in 10.1 seconds, boasting a top speed of 127mph (and that six-speed gearbox) and would be the better choice for motorway commuters. It’s smoother than the smaller-engined model but for everyday use we’d go for the perky 1.6-litre.
We also drove the 124bhp 1.6-litre petrol model. It covers 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds and has a top speed of 119mph, faster on both counts than its diesel stablemate, but we preferred the extra pulling power which came from the diesel.
Of the remaining two models, the 1.4-litre petrol model covers 0-62mph in 11.4 seconds with a top speed of 116mph, while the 89bhp diesel will cover 0-62mph in 13.5 seconds with a top speed of 107mph.
Sharper drive than the Cee’d
Like the Cee’d, the Kia Pro_cee’d features fully independent suspension for improved ride and handling. However, Kia has sharpened the handling on the lighter Pro_cee’d by retuning the electronic power steering as well as the suspension.
We found the ride very comfortable. Our road route took us over poorly maintained roads and only the worst lumps and bumps were communicated to the driver with the car handling most uneven surfaces well.
The handling was also noticeably sharper than the Cee’d and especially when coupled with the five-speed 124bhp 1.6-litre diesel model made for engaging driving.
Despite Kia focussing more on style than in any car previously, motoring will still come pretty cheap with the Pro_cee’d.
The broad range of engines will help buyers choose their tax bill.
Our favoured engine, the 1.6-litre diesel also produces the lowest emissions – 126g/km CO2, and an annual tax bill of £115. The highest comes from the automatic 1.6-litre petrol which produces 166g/km with an annual tax bill of £165.
The 89bhp 1.6-litre diesel ensures greatest distance between fill-ups, returning 60.1mpg, this drops to 50.4mpg for the 2-litre turbodiesel, 46.3mpg for the forthcoming 1.4-litre diesel and 44.1mpg for the 1.6-litre petrol.
Insurance is group 5 for the lower-powered 1.6-litre diesel and 1.4-litre petrol, group 6 for the higher-powered 1.6-litre diesel, group 6 or 7 for the 1.6-litre petrol, dependent on trim and group 9 for the 2-litre turbodiesel sport model.
Being a new model means reliability is unproven by customers actually buying this car and driving it but that headline-grabbing seven year warranty is a big reassurance.
And when it comes to safety, the Pro_c’eed has yet to undergo EuroNCAP crash testing. However, Kia is confident of a good rating following the five stars awarded to the C’eed.
The car benefits from six airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, Brake Assist and, on Sport trim models, electronic stability programme.
A well-specced range
Buyers can choose between three trim levels (though the range of choice can be restricted depending on your chosen engine configuration). And where there is no price difference between the five door C’eed and the three door Pro_c’eed, Kia has boosted the equipment available at each trim level on the new model.
There is no entry-level S specification with customers choosing between GS, LS and Sport trim, the latter is an addition to the C’eed range which will also be introduced to the five door car.
The GS trim includes 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning with cooled glovebox, radio/CD, trip computer, front electric windows and leather trim. The LS trim’s additions include 17-inch alloy wheels, rear electric windows, cruise control and a sports pack while the 2-litre turbodiesel-specific Sport trim’s additions include full leather, privacy glass and the electronic stability programme.
Kia has undoubtedly come up with a great-looking three-door hatchback and coupled it with value for money in terms of specification and that fantastic warranty.
Sadly there are no plans for a hot version of the car at present and Kia is anxious to point to the big strides it has made in recent years. It’s worth noting the Pro_cee’d is its first step into new territory – producing a sexy car – where others have decades of experience.
The Kia Pro-cee’d is a superb first attempt at a stylish three-door hatchback, and, particularly when coupled with the 1.6-litre diesel engine, provides a drive as good as it looks.
Models tested: Kia Pro_cee’d 1.6-litre CRDi, 2-litre CRDi,1.6-litre petrol,
On the road price: £12,295, £15,495, £13.045
Price range: £11,795-£15,495
Date tested: 23 January 2008
Road tester: Adrian Higgins