It has been exactly three years – give or take a day or two – since Drive NI last set foot inside the Kia Proceed. Alas, this is not a Station Wagon – nor is it an estate – but instead a ‘Shooting Brake’, so owners should be prepared to sacrifice some real-life practicality for a clean, purposeful look.
We are revisiting this South Korean load lugger because for 2024 it receives a smattering of visual changes and equipment updates. It is also worth noting that as part of this mid-cycle exercise, the car’s trim levels have been pared back to the bone to leave only ‘GT-Line’ and ‘GT-Line S’ standing.
As is now customary, the most discernible differences for this new model are to be found at the front where the now spelt-out Kia logo is used in place of the former oval badge. The entire face is reprofiled, as shown by the satin chrome Tiger Nose grille and more aggressive headlights that have arrow-inspired turn signal DRLs that fill the space either side of the main and dipped beams.
A sculpted front bumper incorporating a pair of large air intakes heightens the purposeful stance, whilst the curvaceous rear end has gone largely untouched save for a glossy black faux diffuser. In ‘GT-Line S’ grade, subtle red accents feature, and the alloy wheels measure 18-inches, so as a package, this mini-Porsche Panamera is very handsome – even if some photos from certain angles suggest otherwise.
The simplified approach by Kia extends to the choice of engine and transmission. Powering both models is a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol that sends its modest 158bhp and 187lb ft of torque through the front wheels via a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
We sampled the latter – the only transmission offered with ‘GT-Line S’ – and it gets you to 60mph in under 9 seconds. For the most part, gear changes are seamless and smooth although it can turn clunky in stop-start traffic and when you ‘kick down’ on the accelerator when you spot an overtake manoeuvre.
For the most part the auto manages to extract the best from the motor, with the fun factor increased by paddle shifters and a ‘Sport’ button that sharpens throttle responses and turns the exhaust note burbly. Extra weight is also added to the steering.
This is experienced from inside a cabin that is familiar to the point of being pretty much as-you-were. At 10.25-inches in size, the ‘floating’ central multimedia system is the focal point and processes commands using touch sensitive shortcut keys arranged in a single ledge directly underneath it. These are supported by inputs made through the screen.
Those wanting a digital instrument cluster will only find it in the pricier ‘GT-Line S’ car as the ‘GT-Line’ has to make do with a part-digital, part-analogue arrangement. If you can justify the extra cash then a 12.3-inch TFT cluster is thrown in, along with an 8-speaker JBL sound system with both joining an equipment list that is the length of your arm.
Power-operated black leather and suede upholstered sports seats, as well as a panoramic sunroof with slide and tilt function, are also reserved for ‘GT-Line S’. That said, ‘GT-Line’ cars are not what you would call basic given that dual zone climate control, heated seats, a heated leather steering wheel, smartphone integration, keyless entry, automatic headlights and wipers, are all included.
Space is decent, even for six footers travelling in the back despite that shapely rear, and the same goes for the boot. Access is straightforward and the absence of a load lip ensures you can add or remove items from the 594-litre cargo area with ease.
For the record, that is 11-litres down on ‘regular’ estates, including its Ceed Sportswagon sibling (625-litres). Dividing guards, lashing points and a whole world of underfloor storage means there is little to fault and lots to like.
Price wise, the Proceed ‘GT-Line’ kicks off at £26,695 for the manual and £27,290 for the automatic and £32,300 for ‘GT-Line S’ examples.