Driven: Kia pro_cee’d GT Review
After a week long test of the Kia pro_cee’d GT, here is what I think about this impressive hot hatch.
What is the Kia pro_cee’d GT all about?
Kia are still relatively new to the hot hatch market, but in my opinion, the latest edition of the pro_cee’d GT is the best car to come out of Kia to date. This car has proper hot hatch credentials in a great sporty and colourful package.
The car shouts speed and aggression right at you, and has lots of sporty accents including a low front splitter with red highlight, red brake calipers, 18″ alloy wheels, a large rear spoiler and dual exhaust pipes. These are all solid signs that you are in hot hatch territory.
The Kia pro_cee’d GT has lost a couple of doors in comparison to its donor car the cee’d but, for most people in the hot hatch market, 3 doors is the preference anyway.
The Kia pro_cee’d GT uses a 1.6-litre T-GDI petrol engine that creates 201bhp and 265Nm of torque, matched with a 6-speed manual gearbox. This means the car can get from 0-60mph in 7.3 seconds and will give a top speed of 143mph. The car can also achieve a combined fuel efficiency figure of 38mpg. These performance figures don’t land at the top end of the hot hatch market, but certainly bring the Kia to the arena to compete.
How does it drive?
Getting behind the wheel of the pro_cee’d GT is quite a thrill. Firstly, you sit in a set of beautifully designed Recaro seats, which before even moving, you’re aware that they hug you very tightly and provide a great sporty feel to the car. Using the smart keyless system, you hit the start button on the dash and the car comes alive; it sounds pretty nifty even at idle revs.
Even when driving the car at low speeds it feels very active, and with the sports configured suspension you can feel everything on the road underneath you. The more I started to explore the handling of the pro_cee’d the more impressed I was with the car. The Kia has lots of grip in the corners with its sports suspension, thicker anti-roll bars and Michelin Sport 3 tyres. You could confidently put the car into a corner at speed and feel your way around the corner via the steering wheel without the risk of running out of grip.
The 1.6-litre engine in the pro_cee’d is one of the most impressive parts of the driving characteristics. This small engine creates 201bhp and 265Nm of torque, which hammers the hatchback along down the road even faster than you would expect. It wasn’t too many years ago when we were only extracting 120bhp from a sporty 1.6-litre engine and now Kia can comfortably do over 200bhp – very impressive. The power delivery works very well for the car, but for me at the top of the rev range is where the pro_cee’d creates most of its thrills.
The car comes with two drive modes; normal and GT. The flat-bottomed steering wheel has a GT button that, once pressed, changes the driver’s instruments to give you sportier dials, including boost and torque gauges and changes the throttle response to make the car feel more responsive. The dials look very good on the dashboard and respond instantly to the touch of the pedals. When in GT mode, the car also creates what sounds like a very tasty induction noise, but this actually turns out to be electrically generated in the cabin – I only learnt the noise was false once the car had gone back. I quite liked the sound, and for me not to notice that it was not actually the engine making the noise would indicate it has been very well implemented. In fact, I had the car in GT mode for 90% of my week because I liked the look of the dials and the deeper sound.
When you get the opportunity to open this car up, the fun factor is off the scale. The car isn’t the fastest or most hard-core hatch going, but the balance of all the elements is fantastic. You don’t have to be going very fast to appreciate the sporty aspects of this car, meaning that you can still have a good driving thrill without breaking the speed limit, which is always a bonus.
What is it like inside?
The inside of the pro_cee’d didn’t disappoint. The car feels like a premium hatchback, it has been well put together and the cabin is surrounded by lots of soft-touch plastics. The interior is shared with the cee’d, which is very well designed, however the pro_cee’d takes it to a new level that car enthusiasts will go nuts for. The Recaro seats themselves transform the interior to a racers dream and there are plenty of subtle touches, like the chrome used in the window’s switch tips and air vent surrounds, helping the interior look that little bit more premium.
There are also some technology updates in the 2015 car including DAB radio and a 7-inch TomTom-based sat nav system. The CD player option has now been removed from the car and replaced with Bluetooth streaming capabilities which is a decision similar to a lot of other brands. The infotainment system is also very well designed; from my time testing it I found that it was easy-to-use and appeared to be very feature rich.
Another great bit of technology in the car was the driver’s instruments that displayed a graphical interface showing you driving information such as MPG, trip statistics, fuel levels, and music choice.
The drivers seating position inside this car felt great, even at 6’4 I was very comfortable. Getting into the back of the car, the doors open wide and you can get three people across the rear bench seat no problem.
The Kia pro_cee’d GT provides an incredible experience. Starting with the basics, the car is hugely appealing to look at. It has its own unique look without looking too crazy and once you’re on the road the car has enough power to excite and please your driving needs without punishing you with high insurance, tax and fuel prices. It is a great middle ground.
I really enjoyed the basic pleasures from the pro_cee’d GT, you can sensibly use more of this car more of the time compared to its more powerful competitors which you can’t often use to their full potential unless you take them on the track.
Kia have created something to appreciate in the pro_cee’d GT. In fact, I doubt many people ever thought this car would be as good as it is. The pro_cee’d GT is a great hot hatch alternative for those that don’t want to follow the masses. In the UK at the moment there are only limited numbers of pro_cee’d GTs on the road, so you won’t get bored of seeing them. They provide lots of practicality, great economy and most importantly they let you really connect with the joy of driving.
Kia pro_cee’d GT 1.6 T-GDi
- Price: £23,105
- Engine: 1.6-Litre T-GDI
- Power: 201bhp
- Torque: 265Nm
- Transmission: 6 Speed Manual
- 0-62mph: 7.3 Seconds
- Top speed: 143mph
- Weight: 1,359kg
- Economy combined: 38 mpg
- CO2: 170 g/km
Author: Paul Hadley