Ever wondered how a car would turn out if you took the key ingredients of an estate and a coupe and mixed them all together? Well wonder no more because Kia has come up with its own interpretation. Known as a Shooting Brake – car lingo for a sleek estate – this is the ProCeed.
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IT RESEMBLES A PORSCHE PANAMERA GT
If that’s what springs to mind then it’s no bad thing. Brimming with style, this load-lugger is sold in ‘GT-Line’ trim, ‘GT-Line S’ and range-topping ‘GT’ as featured here. As an indication of how serious Kia is about the ProCeed, in its quest to build an alternative to the vast numbers of mini-SUVs, only the bonnet and two front wings are common to it and the 5-door hatch on which it is based. The rest is entirely new. Lower and sleeker, its looks are genuinely arresting and that’s before you pick out a host of other smart design flourishes from the chrome ‘shark blade’ on the rear quarter glass, the ‘ice-cube’-shaped DRLs, and full-width lightbar that reaches across the curvaceous boot and flows seamlessly into the tail-lights.
GT VERSIONS TURN ON THE STYLE
Sitting on a chassis engineers have cradled 5mm closer to the road, the 18-inch dual tone wheels on ‘GT’ models nicely fill out the softly blistered wheel arches, while the front bumper’s razor thin chin spoiler and side skirts are garnished with red piping. Constructed using gloss black plastic, this material is repeated on the wing mirror caps, the extended roof spoiler and the rear bumper diffuser. On top of that, the corporate ‘tiger nose’ grille embodies a honeycomb pattern and the vertical blades below the headlights actually serve a purpose, directing air to the brakes and along the sides to reduce buffeting. That explains why it has a 0.30 drag coefficient, the same as – yes, you guessed it – a Porsche Panamera Gran Turismo.
WHAT’S IT LIKE INSIDE?
Open the driver’s door and climb in behind the steering wheel and you’ll immediately notice the look is certainly more subdued. For the money, it’s reasonable to assume the ProCeed’s cabin should be a notch above its siblings – but that’s not the case. It’s pretty much the same mix of finishes as on a regular Ceed hatchback or estate – and that means some hard plastics. The upshot of this simple but still likeable layout is ease-of-use; the centre console still has knobs and switches that are nicely grouped together in two rows and a smaller third pane for the heated front seats and leather steering wheel. Aside from the nicely sculpted and supportive sports seats that are lifted by red stitching and matching stripe, there is nothing to really get excited about. Still, standard equipment is excellent. Every conceivable convenience feature you could ever need is here, from dual zone climate control to keyless start/stop to a reversing camera.
WHAT ABOUT PRACTICALITY?
The ProCeed is the same length (2,650mm) and width (1,800mm) as the Sportswagon but 5mm longer. That extra length is mitigated by a much lower roofline (-43mm), however – the price you pay for such elegant lines. Those travelling in the back – especially six-footers – might not have the most pleasant journey and may have to resort to slouching because head room is severely restricted. The D-pillars design also impedes rearward visibility; cameras and sensors help but are of no use at all when it’s dark, so extra diligence is called for in tight spots to avoid the sound of plastic crunching against a wall or alloys scraping against concrete. As for boot space, capacity in the ProCeed is trimmed to 594-litres compared to the Sportswagon’s 625-litres, yet the floor is still big and accommodating and has a world of deep underfloor storage compartments, so getting younger kids excited when it comes to packing the weekly shopping away should be less of a chore as they help decide what goes where.
BEING A GT, HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
First things first. Not only is the ProCeed good looking, it is good to drive – not that you would think it considering the added heft. But on a typical country road, in the wet or dry, the grippy and well-balanced front end relays pleasing levels of information about surfaces changes and is at one with the smooth steering. Stiff passive springs dial out body lean, yet there is still enough compliance to take the edge off the usual road scars to ensure you aren’t thrown from your seat. The 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol is strong – 0-60mph is quoted at 7.2 seconds – and has a pleasant note that is increased by the twin exhaust’s when ‘Sport’ is engaged. With the most powerful motor under the bonnet, the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic is the only transmission choice and it’s a mixed bag. Driving off, it feels sluggish but once you are up to speed the picture does improve, with changes taking on a harder edge in ‘Sport’ as you accelerate. Drivers can override the system entirely by operating the flappy paddles behind the steering wheel.
Price: £29,130 (as tested)
Engine: 1.6-litre, 4cyl turbo petrol
Power/torque: 201bhp/195lb ft
Transmission: 7-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
0-62mph: 7.2 seconds
Top speed: 139mph
INFOTAINMENT: Kia’s familiar infotainment system appears in the ProCeed. Through it, drivers can adjust the car’s safety, navigation, radio and even live weather settings to satisfy their own individual needs. Smartphone compatible, the 10.25-inch touchscreen is placed high on the dash and is controlled either via on-screen commands or by touching one of eight shortcut keys lined up in a row directly beneath it.
STYLING: The visual makeover on the outside consists of 18-inch alloy wheels with red centre caps, with this colour repeated on the side skirts and front bumper’s discreet lower splitter. The back of the ProCeed features a roof-mounted spoiler finished in gloss black and a diffuser-style rear bumper that incorporates twin exhausts that emit a soft growl when ‘Sport’ mode is engaged. Pearlescent paint is a £580 cost option.
INTERIOR: The sportiest member of the ProCeed line-up gains large leather/suede ‘GT’ embroidered sports seats in the front. Racy red detailing, a D-shaped leather steering wheel and paddle shifters on automatic models combine with part-digital part-analogue instrument binnacle. A reversing camera, auto dimming rear view mirror and dual zone climate control are all included on the car’s extensive equipment list.
PRACTICALITY: Incorporating a useful – and diverse – underfloor storage system, the ProCeed’s 594-litre boot is 50% bigger than the Ceed’s although it does lose out due to the sharply sloping window. Those travelling in the back will find the interior isn’t the most spacious nor the airiest as the shallow windscreen, black headlining and tinted rear windows add up to make for a cave-like environment.
PROS AND CONS
+ Purposeful and stylish looks
+ Fun drive, rorty exhaust note
+ Loaded with standard kit
– Shape hurts practicality
– Meagre engine choice
– Woeful rear visibility