Kia Pro_Cee'd Hatchback (2013 - ) review
Read the Kia pro_Cee'd (2013 - ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives
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The pro_cee’d continues Kia’s knack for designing handsome cars, the sleek, low-slung, coupé-like car cutting a dash on the road. Although it’s a part of the Ceed family (along with the hatchback and Sportswagon), it shares very little of its bodyshell with its hatchback sibling. The design of the front differs from other Ceed variants with a slightly narrower, gloss black ‘tiger nose’ Kia family grille, a sportier-looking lower bumper with fog lights and chrome details, plus LED running lights, which are standard on all regular versions. At the top of the range, the GT model has a lower and wider front bumper, black gloss highlights and ‘ice cube’ LED running lights.
Inside the pro_cee’d, the cabin has also been adapted to make it feel sportier, with a more driver-oriented dashboard and touches including a piano black fascia, chrome details and a black headlining. The driving position is comfortable, with plenty of adjustability in the seat and steering wheel, and the controls are straightforward to use.
There’s a surprising amount of space in the pro_cee’d, especially in the rear. The sloping roof does impinge on headroom slightly, but as long as passengers aren’t much taller than six foot, they should be fine. Kneeroom is also decent behind average-sized drivers. The boot is a good size at 380 litres, and that increases to 1,225 litres when the rear seats are dropped.
Ride and handling
The pro_cee’d can’t match the best European cars in its class for dynamic prowess, but it does an entirely decent job. There’s enough grip to keep things secure, and body control is reasonable. The FlexSteer system offers three alternative weightings for the wheel, but the middle setting is the only one you’ll want to use; otherwise, it’s far too light or far too heavy. Even then, the steering feels rather vague and artificial. The pro_cee’d also delivers a reasonably comfortable, unruffled most of the time, but it doesn’t have the same cosseting slickness as the comfiest cars in the class. The range-topping GT model has a firmer setup, which means a harder ride, but it’s still acceptable. However, the GT’s handling disappoints compared with other hot hatch rivals, because it doesn’t feel sharp or focused enough.
Power for the mainstream models comes from a pair of 1.6-litre engines, one petrol, one diesel, both mated to six-speed gearboxes that shift pretty slickly and are preferable to the DCT automatic ‘box. The GDi petrol unit produces 133bhp, and while it’s not exactly quick and can occasionally feel short of low-down pull, but it should be fine for most. The diesel is much more muscular at the bottom of the rev range, making it the more flexible performer. It’s also far more efficient than the petrol. Anyone after ‘warm hatch’ performance should try the GT, which has a turbocharged version of the 1.6-litre petrol engine. It has over 200bhp, giving a 0-60mph time of 7.4 seconds, but what’s most impressive is the flexibility: peak torque comes from below 2000rpm, so it responds quickly from low revs and doesn’t demand too much effort on the part of the driver.
The GDi unit officially returns 47.1 to 52.3mpg on the combined cycle and emits 124-137g/km of CO2, figures that are pretty respectable compared with those of rivals. Go for the GT and the vital statistics are 38.2mpg and 171g/km. By contrast, the CRDi diesel returns 74.3mpg and emits a VED-exempt 100g/km in the base S trim, or 65.7mpg and 112g/km in the SE, making these the choice of those buyers looking for lower running costs.
That seven-year Kia warranty was a very bold move by the company, and one that seems to have struck a chord with consumers, if subsequent sales volumes are any yardstick. Buyers like the idea of having something to fall back on, should anything go wrong and – even though Kias seem to have decent, if not outstanding, reliability – that warranty provides customers with peace of mind.
The pro_cee’d is fitted with plenty of active and passive safety equipment to ensure that owners will stay safe. That includes electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist. In addition, Emergency Stop Signalling (ESS) causes the LED brake lights to pulse when the car brakes heavily, while there are also LED running lights that help make the car more visible to other drivers in low light. If the worst happens, there are six airbags (front, side and curtain), Isofix mountings and pre-tensioning seatbelts.
Kia has eschewed its usual 1, 2 and 3 trim levels for just two in the pro_cee’d; S and SE. Equipment on the base S trim includes 16-inch alloy wheels, puddle-lights in the wing mirrors, leather trim on the steering wheel, gear lever and handbrake, electrically operated and folding wing mirrors, cruise control; steering wheel audio controls, air-con, USB connectivity and Bluetooth with voice recognition. For buyers who splash out the extra couple of grand for SE trim, there are 17-inch alloys, stainless steel sill plates and pedals, powered lumbar support on both front seats, rain-sensing wipers with a built-in de-icer function and satellite navigation that also doubles as a screen for showing pictures from the reversing camera. The GT models come in two flavours – GT and GT Tech – which all sorts of styling goodies, plus lots of luxury kit.
The pro_cee’d represents another significant step in the Kia story. This is a seriously good-looking car and, based on appearance, would be near the top of any buyer’s shortlist. However, while it isn’t as good to drive as the premium rivals such as the Volkswagen Scirocco or BMW 1 Series, it is certainly a match for the likes of the Renault Megane Coupe.