The Kia Ceed isn’t a car, apparently.
No, it’s a family. With lots of different members who all look a bit different and do different things.
There’s the Ceed hatchback, the Sportwagon, the Ceed GT and this, the ProCeed.
The previous pro_cee’d was a faintly performance-oriented three-door hatch, but with the three-door market rapidly dwindling Kia have decided on a completely new angle to keep the name and its more sporting pretensions alive.
So the ProCeed is now a shooting brake – neither a hatchback nor an estate but somewhere in the middle.
Kia says it offers more space and versatility than the Ceed five-door hatch but in a more sporting, stylish package than the Sportwagon.
Kia Proceed GT
Engine: 1.6-litre, four-cylinder, turbo, petrol
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Top speed: 140mph
0-62mph: 7.2 seconds
CO2 emissions: 142g/km
Only the bonnet and front wings are common with the others, everything else is bespoke to give the ProCeed its own identity. The body is longer and lower, it sits closer to the ground and although it’s the same width as the others, panels have been shaped to emphasise its girth.
From the more angled front windscreen to the outrageously sloped rear end, the ProCeed is all about aping the pseudo-coupe looks common among premium brands but at Kia prices. It’s certainly unlike anything else from Kia and the closest comparison on the road is the more expensive Mercedes CLA.
Most people seem smitten with the looks, so I’m in a minority, but even after a long time staring at it I can’t decide if I like it.
From the wrong angle and in the wrong colour it looks like an unhappy marriage of BMW 1 Series and last-gen Renault Megane. But from other angles the swooping shape works and it does what Kia wants – offers a unique stylish alternative to the standard two-box hatchback.
Kia insists that although it’s not an estate, the ProCeed ticks the practicality box as well as the style one. The boot is 50 per cent bigger than the hatch’s and, at 594 litres, only 31l smaller than the sportwagon.
Headroom in the rear isn’t as badly compromised as the shape would suggest and average-sized adults will cope fine but legroom is still merely average and the front seats are set too high, affecting driving position and comfort for taller drivers.
The interior is essentially the standard Ceed one with the added “sporty” cues. Chunky flat-bottomed steering wheel? Check. Metal trimmed pedals? Check. Sports seats with big bolsters? Check. Dashboard “sport” button? Check.
The touches work as part of the “GT” image but otherwise the cabin remains a well-built but fairly ordinary place to sit.
In keeping with the ProCeed’s sporting positioning it is only offered in three high-spec variants – GT Line, GT-Line S and GT.
While the GT-Line and S focus on equipment, the GT is the performance-focused option.
It is the only one to come with the turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol also found in the Ceed GT hatchback.
Power output is 201bhp meaning the ProCeed won’t be worrying the likes of the Golf GTI or Seat Leon Cupra but it’s still enough to give the car some get up and go.
The 60mph run takes 7.2 seconds and the shooting brake will shoot on to 140mph.
It feels slightly hampered, however, by the standard seven-speed auto gearbox, which isn’t quick enough in either full auto or paddle-controlled mode. The Ceed GT’s manual transmission feels much more responsive.
All ProCeeds feature lowered, fully-independent suspension, tuned to offer a sportier profile and the GT and GT-Line S’s sport mode bring weightier steering and engine and gearbox remapping.
In combination they make a car that’s fun to chuck around when you’re faced with a twisting road but not one in which you will actively seek out such roads. It’s responsive and grippy but definitely more of a grand tourer than hot hatch.
Beside the GT, GT-Line S comes with a 1.4-litre turbo petrol producing 138bhp and GT-Line with either the 1.4 petrol or a 1.6 diesel.
The smaller petrol isn’t over-endowed with power but it’s muscular enough for day-to-day motoring and surprisingly quiet – tyre roar is more of an issue than engine noise. It’s two seconds slower to 60mph than the GT but offers 5mpg more and emissions one tax band lower.
The 134bhp diesel has a rougher undertone when pushed but is also fairly refined otherwise. Official figures are 56.5mpg and we saw around 50mpg on the road. CO2 emission of 110g put it another tax band below the 1.4 petrol.
In common with other high-spec Kias, the ProCeeds are all heaving with equipment. An eight-inch screen with navigation, Kia Connected Services and CarPlay/Android Auto is standard as are heated seats and steering wheel, a brace of ADAS safety systems, a reversing camera and 17-inch alloys.
The GT-Line S actually costs more than the higher-powered GT thanks to the addition of feature such as a sunroof, JBL stereo, leather and synthetic suede seats, powered tailgate and smart parking assist. Both get 18-inch alloys and LED headlights, and the GT features styling details such as painted brake calipers, dual exhausts and red accents to separate it further.
In short, the ProCeed has all the features and qualities of the current Ceed but packaged differently.
Whether that package is different enough is a difficult question. Kia expect the ProCeed to be a small volume seller, bought by younger buyers who want something different from the go-to hatchback or SUV option.
With a price premium of around £1,000 over the equivalent hatch the GT-Line and GT-Line S have a certain appeal but the GT can’t compete with the livelier and £2,500 cheaper Ceed GT when it comes to a Kia’s sporty ambitions.