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Kia ProCeed review

Introduction

The five-door ProCeed replaces the outgoing three-door ProCee’d – and no, we’re not sure what happened to the apostrophe either.

But, either way, the new one comes with a funkier design in the form of a shooting brake car, which looks extremely attractive.

The ProCeed is the shooting brake version of the better-known Ceed – longer at the back with a bulbous rear end. The ProCeed shouldn’t be confused with the Ceed Estate, which is known as the Sportwagon.

Select's rating score* - 3.5 / 5

At a Glance

The new one comes with a funkier design in the form of a shooting brake car, which looks extremely attractive. It’s smart, sporty and looks like it’s taken a hefty amount of inspiration from a Mercedes CLA. Certainly, from the sides, with the pillarless doors and the glass, which tapers to a point at the rear, it looks like Kia has borrowed a CLA and taken some tracing paper to it.

The rear features thin lights, with an even narrower strip of LEDs running along the entire width of the boot. It has been superbly styled, with the back appearing to take an impressive amount of inspiration from the Porsche Taycan. It features two sizeable diagonally-angled exhaust pipes, with chiselled bodywork giving it an athletic appearance, while a rear spoiler overhangs the back window.


Down the sides, it is smoothly shaped, apart from a notable crease towards the bottom, which is slightly raked towards the back. This gives the impression the ProCeed is lower to the ground at the front, adding to the aggressive appearance, with attractive, sizeable alloy wheels finishing the job nicely.
The front looks very athletic, too. It houses a large lower grille, a thinner and shapelier main grille, plus two air intakes at either side, along with swooping headlights that stretch out and around to the side of the car.

Key Features

Given the athletic looks, it’s no surprise that all the trims are sporty in nature. There are three, they all have ‘GT’ in them – and they are all well-equipped.

Entry-level is the GT Line, which is the only one available with a manual. The model includes 17-inch alloys and a 10.25-inch touchscreen with SatNav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. It also has a reversing camera, privacy glass, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, dual-zone air conditioning, smart entry, and an engine start/stop button.

Next up is GT Line S, which increases the size of the alloys to 18-inches, while a 12.3-inch digital display replaces the physical dials. It also adds smart cruise control with stop and go functionality, an eight-speaker JBL Premium Sound System, a sunroof, powered tailgate and heated rear seats.


Top of the line GT adds a red centre cap to the alloys, black leather and faux suede seats with red stitching, LED bi-function headlights and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.

Two petrol engines are offered, both of which are turbocharged four-cylinders. The 1.5-litre produces 158PS, getting from 0-62mph in 8.8-seconds. Alternatively, there’s a 1.6-litre producing 201PS, getting from 0-62mph in 7.5-seconds, but that’s only available in the top-of-the-range GT trim.

There are no diesels or hybrids offered.

There’s a six-speed manual available with the entry-level version, along with a seven-speed automatic, while you’re obliged to have the automatic in the middle and top-of-the-range trims.


Performance & Drive

Our test car is the mid-range GT Line S trim, which means we have the automatic and the lower-powered 1.5-litre engine.

In all honesty, our first impressions are a tad disappointing in terms of the acceleration. It doesn't feel particularly quick to get going off the line and at low revs. So, flooring the accelerator is mandatory if you want to get up to speed quickly. It's a similar story if you wish to overtake on a motorway, as going from 50 to 70mph isn't especially brisk either.

The automatic gearbox feels smooth when on the move but does little to help the acceleration. It isn't swift to change down when you put your foot down, which hinders your progress. While it’s largely fine on the go, at lower speeds – such as while manoeuvring into a parking spot – it can feel a little jerky.

It all sounds like bad news, but it’s not. Once the Kia does get a move on, it’s fine after that and contains, by and large, a very capable engine.


If you want a driving experience that includes having your head hit the headrest when bursting off from the traffic lights, you’re better off with the 1.6-litre engine. This variant feels more potent from a standing start and when needing to accelerate to overtake. Other than that, though, it doesn’t really offer much else over and above the 1.5-litre.

We have tested the entry-level trim with the six-speed manual, too. It’s not bad, but it’s not especially smooth, either. So the automatic is undoubtedly the one to go for.

Regardless of any choices you make, there is quite a lot of road noise due to the tyres.

However, in terms of handling, Kia has done an excellent job. The suspension setup is stiffer as standard than in the standard Ceed, which adds to the sportiness. You do sacrifice some comfort, but not excessively so. It's firm but nowhere near back-breaking, so the ProCeed should appeal more to those who want a sportier ride.


There is plenty of grip, too, especially at the front, which really tugs onto the road on turn-in. This gives you the confidence to take a corner at speed – and the car's light steering helps it. At the same time, the ProCeed’s stability systems will intervene if it detects you’re about to run out of grip – and talent.

As a result of the stable ride, the body roll is limited, and the car feels very well planted around the bends.

Enabling sports mode makes the steering a bit heavier and the accelerator more sensitive, too. And if you go for the top-of-the-range GT, this will give you even firmer suspension, which dials the handling upwards a notch. This sacrifices ride comfort, but, again, not excessively so, although we'd only recommend this if you really are prioritising performance. The rest of the family may not be so agreeable if you're making long car journeys.

Nevertheless, Kia has done a very reasonable job with the handling.


Running Costs & Emissions

The 1.5-litre engine we’re testing manages 46.3mpg, emitting 139g/km of CO2, while the 1.6-litre engine is only slightly inferior to those figures.

In addition, Kia is famous for its reliability, so there should be few concerns in that regard. Nevertheless, for peace of mind, the automaker leads the way in offering a seven-year warranty as standard, albeit limited to 100,000 miles. That may not be that relevant to you when leasing, but it demonstrates the South Korean automaker’s confidence in its products.


Interior & Technology

The interior is nice to look at, but we'd hoped for something a bit jazzier, given how striking the exterior looks are.

Maybe we’re being harsh as this is still an impressive cabin. There is plenty of shiny chrome scattered about, which helps to break up the darkened colour scheme, while our test car also has piano black trim surrounding parts of the dashboard.

It is a nice place to be. It is attractive; the steering wheel is a decent size, and, overall, you won’t be disappointed. It is one of the better offerings Kia has made over the years, and the manufacturer is producing better and better interiors all the time.


Happily, Kia has also resisted the urge to bury all the switches and dials into the infotainment system. Therefore, there’s no shortage of physical buttons to press, including on the steering wheel.

The infotainment system sits in the middle of the dashboard like a tablet, and it's easy to use. It doesn't lag; it’s user-friendly and has menus that are laid out simply and logically. It isn't a class-leading system by any means, but we’ve seen much worse.

The digital instrument display, available on the top two trims, is nice to look at and informative, too.


However, one annoying thing is the synthetic engine note that plays through a speaker on the dashboard. This is a regular feature of electric cars, whose manufacturers assume you’re going to miss the lack of an engine note. But including it on a vehicle that already has an engine suggests Kia is afraid that the engine note won't impress in a very sporty-looking car.

Sadly, the sound created is hardly convincing and risks making you look a bit stupid if you’re trying to impress your friends. It’s a bit like a wearing a fake designer watch, if you know what we mean?

Practicality & Boot Space

There is a lot of room in the front, so even taller drivers can take a commanding driving position. But, mind you, the body shape does mean rear visibility is compromised because of the sloping roofline limiting the height of the rear window.

In the back, that slope might just make it a struggle for the tallest of passengers. But most occupants will be okay, and there’s actually a lot more space than you’d think.

There is a decent amount of legroom, too, although the front seat is so low to the floor that it's challenging to get your feet underneath properly. Therefore, this may mean taller passengers are sitting with their knees up in the air a bit.

Three adults in the back will be a challenge, but if you’re likely to be using the seats for your children, then all should be fine.


There are a couple of cupholders in the back that fold out from the centre seat. You get electric windows, too, but no USB ports in the back, although two are in the front.

You will find lots of space in the front, too, with decent-sized door bins and a generous cubby beneath the centre armrest. You also get two cupholders along the centre console and a reasonably sized glove box. What’s more, you can fit some sunglasses in a retractable flap above the driver’s head near the rear-view mirror.

The boot has a capacity of 594-litres, although this figure includes various storage spaces beneath the floor. These are very handy, but it does mean the usable space above the floor is slightly less. Nevertheless, what is on offer is plentiful and still more than ample for a couple of sets of golf clubs.

Boot capacity expands to 1,545-litres with the rear seats folded down. However, to do that, you must lean all the way into the boot to reach the seats, which will be an annoyance to shorter drivers. The top-of-the-range GT model includes handles to help with this.


Safety

Euro NCAP is yet to crash-test a Kia ProCeed. However, as it’s based on the standard Ceed, its 2019 five-star rating should offer some peace of mind.

This grade was only achieved with an optional safety pack, however. Without it, it was only worthy of four stars.

Nevertheless, it scored 88 per cent for adult occupants, 85 per cent for children and 73 per cent for safety assists with the safety pack (68 per cent without it).


Since it was tested, Euro NCAP has uprated its criteria, too; therefore, the tests are even more stringent now. So, it’ll be interesting to see how well the ProCeed fairs when it is eventually assessed.

The latest Kia to be tested was the Sorento in 2020, which achieved a five-star rating, so Kia is just about hitting the mark.

In the ProCeed, you’ll get auto emergency braking, lane departure warning, driver attention warning, and high beam assist as standard.

Our GT Line S model adds in blind spot collision warning and a smart park assist system, along with front and rear parking sensors.


Options

There are quite a few optional extras available to personalise your ProCeed.

If you want, you can downgrade from 18 to 17-inch alloys, or you can choose a different design of 18-inch wheels.

You can also add some chrome to the mirrors and door handles. A trim line across the rear above the number plate is an option, too.

Furthermore, you can choose from white, red or black down the centre of the bonnet and roof for those wanting racing stripes.


Illumination of the footwell is available in white – or even more impressively, red. And you can opt for puddle lights that project a choice of the Kia or GT Line logos onto the floor outside the car when the door is opened.

A cradle that fixes onto the rear seats that can house a tablet is available, while Kia also provides dashcams on the options list.

There is also a range of accessories, including a roof box, safety kits and a fire extinguisher.


Rival Cars

While Kia isn’t generally in the same bracket as Mercedes-Benz, the similar shape to the Mercedes CLA can’t be overlooked. And, if you’re specifically after a shooting brake, then here’s your chance to get something that looks like a CLA at a knock-down price. But, mind you, don’t expect it to be in the same class in terms of luxuries.

More traditionally obvious challengers include the estate versions of the Ford Focus, the Skoda Superb and the Volkswagen Golf, although these aren’t shooting brakes.

Really, Kia’s biggest rival is arguably its own sister cars – notably the Ceed Sportswagon estate car, which offers more practicality and a lower price.


Verdict & Next Steps

Overall, the Kia ProCeed is a decent car.

It is not class-leading, but it’s got stunning looks that have all the hallmarks of a Mercedes CLA.

The rear of the car gives it a lovely shape. But, in reality, it’s still the same basic motor as a Ceed – not to mention the Sportswagon – and the ProCeed is quite a bit more expensive than both.

With that in mind, it’s difficult to justify the ProCeed unless you specifically want the shooting brake shape, especially as its sister cars offer more practicality.

It has a lovely interior, albeit we still feel it doesn't do justice to the impressive exterior aesthetics.

Those seeking performance might feel let down by the engines. But then this is not designed to be a harum-scarum vehicle, and, for the money, it handles very well.

If you want the manual, then you'll have to make do with GT Line trim, but, in truth, the automatic is better, and our test car's grade, the GT Line S, is the trim to go for. It is certainly worth the upgrade over the basic GT Line trim, not least because of the digital instrument display.

The only reason to go for a top-of-the-range GT is for those who really want the better handling. But then, if you do, you’ll likely be seeking out a car with a more powerful engine, too, and the more commanding 1.6-litre may not be enough to cut the mustard.

On the other hand, you might be pleasantly surprised to learn that the upgrade cost from GT Line S to full-fat GT isn’t massive, so that might just tempt you.

Whether it’s worth it over the Ceed or Sportswagon is questionable. But, overall, the Kia ProCeed is good looking, decent to drive, well-equipped – and it’s reliable.

Where to next?

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**Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the UK’s top five leading independent car website reviews of the Kia ProCeed

**Correct as of 03/02/2022. Based on 9 months initial payment, 5,000 miles over a 36 month lease. Initial payment equivalent to 9 monthly payments or £1,860.93 Ts and Cs apply. Credit is subject to status.

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