2019 Kia ProCeed
Kia just can’t give up on its strange naming behaviour. At least the ProCeed has lost the apostrophe and the underscore, I suppose.
The latest model, unlike its Pro_Cee’d (I know) predecessor which wore a compact, three-door body style, is a five-door shooting brake tourer. In a way, Kia has found a wide-open gap in the market – since the 1950s the sensible hatch has dominated the C segment. So is 2019 the time for something different?
*Warning* before you go any further into reading this review, please note that we can't bring ourselves to write any ProCeed puns. If this is what you were hoping for, please take yourself and your bad sense of humour elsewhere.
The ProCeed is only available in Kia’s top three trims – a move that helps to separate it from the standard Ceed Sportswagon. Alongside these GT-Line and GT-Line S trims, you get the sexy GT variant, which will allow the most zealous traffic light grand prix contestant to test out his racing shoes on an open road. We were lucky enough to get our hands on the entire range for a drive down some glorious Spanish roads near Girona. So, is the ProCeed up to the task of convincing buyers away from the smaller hatches?
You’ll recognise the ProCeed's idols right away: Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake and the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo. Only instead of costing more than £50,000, you can get a ProCeed for under £24,000 if you opt for the less powerful engine and lower trim. Oh and believe me, as I found on an earlier drive in Barcelona, you’ll turn just as many heads.
At first glance it becomes obvious that, while the ProCeed has the DNA of a coupe, it’s longer and lower than both the Ceed five-door hatch and Sportswagon, giving it a unique silhouette. And like the Ceed, the front of the new shooting brake has those familiar ‘ice cube’ daytime running lights as standard and shares design cues with earlier GT-Line and GT models. Where the Ceed Sportswagon majors on practicality, the ProCeed combines this with the interesting stretchy design - almost like someone was doing yoga while creating the initial sketches.
The rear of the car is where Kia's designers have really gone to town. Inspired by the 2019 ProCeed concept, the new wide rear bumper gives the car a sporty stance, with dual tip exhausts (grade dependent) enhancing this dynamic appearance. The name 'ProCeed' is spelled out in capitals across the centre of the tailgate like we've seen recently with the T-Roc, for example, but the voluptuous rear of the ProCeed really makes this, well, just work.
The roofline is slightly lower than the Sportswagon estate but this doesn’t impact on headroom in the back as Kia has lowered the rear seats. There is one other downside to that sleek shape, though - the rear window is very small and positioned quite low, which means visibility is compromised unless you're a fan of seeing the tarmac you've just driven on and nothing else.
Inside the cabin and the surfaces are baby-butt-soft. It really is a nice place to sit. The 8.0-inch floating touchscreen is in the centre of the dash and is slightly angled towards the driver making everything easy to use, but you'll immediately regret calling shotgun if you want to control Spotify during a road trip. The fabric and look of the seats depend on the spec, but would all pass the grandma comfort test with full marks.
Although prices start low if you're on a budget, I mostly enjoyed being behind the wheel of the higher-powered 1.6-litre turbo petrol unit and enhanced dynamics of the GT variant which lent itself ideally to the empty winding lanes of rural Spain. You'll find yourself forking out closer to the £28,000 figure but once you drive it you'll see why it's worth the extra dosh.
Refinement is another strong point for the ProCeed. There isn't enough road, wind or engine noise to disturb a sleeping panda on the backseats. The ride is superb too - it feels like driving something far more expensive, with just the occasional slip of harshness but all is forgiven when you’re gliding along open roads. The DCT auto gearbox which accompanies the petrol engine is perfectly suited, though perhaps a little sheepish when right foot hits the floor. 0-60 in 7.2 seconds may not be in the realms of the Stinger (Kia's absolute gem of a sports car), but there's no doubt it is a worthy and fun car compared to others in its segment.
There’s also a diesel 1.6-litre engine with 134hp. It emits around 20g/km CO2 less than the petrol, but the engine has some quirks. It is unsurprisingly louder, sounding more gruff than Rhod Gilbert on take off. It also hates revving over 3,000rpm so it’s a lot less fun.
That said, the entire ProCeed range is superbly practical and good looking. Clever Kia has made the days of spending a small fortune on a luxury C segment coupe estate a thing of the past, and sacrificing on style and splendour unnecessary. If you're bored of the SUV craze but need something for the family Ikea run, then look no further.