When you think of hot hatchbacks you mind will naturally wander towards Ford, Volkswagen and Renault. I’d bet your bottom dollar that ‘Kia’ would not normally enter the same thought process. This is something that the Korean brand wants to put right. Step forward the Pro_Cee’d GT. It may have a name that resembles a strong password for a computer, but this is an important car for Kia, it’s also unchartered territory, as this is the first performance model it’s produced. Well, in truth, this is the facelifted version, but you get what I mean.
Design and Styling
Whether it’s a hot hatch or a warm hatch is up for discussion, but on the face of it, the GT is off to a good start. The car features a sporty body kit with a rear roof spoiler, 18 inch alloy wheels and two exhausts at the rear. I will admit I’m not a massive fan of the ‘Yellow Flame’ paint finish, especially as it clashes with the red front splitter and brake calipers. The ‘Ice Cube’ LED lights look fantastic though and help to set it apart from regular Pro_Cee’d models.
Step inside and it’s clear to see that this a sportier model, thanks to its chunky Recaro seats and a generous sprinkling of red stitching. The Pro_Cee’d GT – and the Cee’d GT for that matter – marks the first time that Recaro seats have been used in a Kia model, so that’s something to brag about at the pub. The steering wheel features perforated leather and has a flat bottom, making it very satisfying to use. The inside is genuinely nice place to be and apart from the cheap plastics on the steering wheel stalks, it feels a rather premium place to sit. So far, so good.
(4 / 5)
The Pro_Cee’d GT starts at £24,010, so it’s not the cheapest model going, especially when you factor in this the brand’s first attempt at a performance model. It does however, offer a healthy level of kit. Actually, it’s got so much kit, that you feel like you need to take a rather deep breath before going through. So here goes… As standard, it comes with an 8″ touchscreen with Bluetooth, DAB radio and navigation, automatic headlights and wipers, cruise control with speed limiter, Recaro sports seats, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.
On top of all of that you have dual zone climate control, voice recognition, sporty bodykit, ‘Ice Cube’ LED daytime running lights (love those), 18″ alloy wheels, red brake calipers, dual exhaust, six airbags and an electric sound generator – I’ll get on to that later. All the equipment works well and I liked the smoothness of the infotainment system, although the sat nav was a bit iffy. Don’t get me wrong, it works fine most of the time, then it will go through a phase where it wants to re-direct every five seconds.
Overall though, the Pro_Cee’d GT offers plenty of kit and I must admit at first I thought the car was a bit pricey, but on reflection, it’s not too bad at all. Especially when you consider a Focus ST with a similar spec will cost you over £26,500 and the equivalent Golf GTI will set you back almost £29,000. So in that regard, it’s decent value, plus you get Kia’s famous 7 year warranty.
(4.5 / 5)
Space and Comfort
Hot hatches aren’t exactly known for their comfort, but I have to say, the Kia Pro_Cee’d GT could easily be used as a daily driver. The highlight of the cabin are those wonderful Recaro seats they offer the full package – they’re well bolstered, grippy but also comfortable. I’ve said to many that the seats are to die for and I still stand by that comment. The front seats also heated and they have an electric lumbar support. It’s a little touch, but one I rather like.
Getting a good driving position is a doddle has the seat has a good adjustment – especially with that lumbar support – plus the steering wheel adjusts for both rake and reach. The driving position itself is low, helping to make you feel more involved in the drive. The space in the rear is not bad either – the headroom is decent and the legroom is not overly awful either. However, thanks to the black headlining and the tinted windows, it feels rather dark and claustrophobic.
The boot is a fair size – 380 litres to be exact, which is bigger than the Focus ST and the same as the the Golf GTI, so it’s a dead heat in that respect. You can of course make the luggage capacity bigger by folding down the 60/40 rear seats, which gives you 1,225 litres, which is 10 more than the ST, but 45 less than the GTI The inside of the car has got some decent cubbyholes and the glovebox is also a decent size too.
Don’t forget though, if you want further practically you can opt for the five door Cee’d GT model, which starts from £24,010 – exactly the same as this three door model with the optional ‘Yellow Flame’ paintwork. The five door won’t look as sporty of course though, although it means you don’t have to worry about trying to open the large, rather heavy doors of the three door model in tight car parks.
(4 / 5)
What’s It Like To Drive?
The Pro_Cee’d GT is powered by a 1.6 litre turbocharged, four cylinder engine which produces 201bhp and 265Nm of torque. Yes I know what you’re thinking and yes, it’s down on powered compared to the Blue Oval and the German icon. However, it does have a few more torque then the Golf GTI, so I suppose that’s something. That still doesn’t save the Kia from getting a bit of a pasting in regards to acceleration. Still, at least you’ll find some entertainment in watching the torque and turbo gauges dance up and down as you drive along.
The Kia will Pro_Cee’d (see what I did there) to 60mph in 7.3 seconds which is not exactly rapid, but still fairly respectable all the same. The Focus ST will hit 62mph in 6.5 seconds whereas the Golf GTI wins this top trumps round with a 0-62 time of 6.4 seconds. The Kia will run out of puff at 143mph whereas both the Golf and Focus will carry on sprinting to 155mph. The engine is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox and it’s a rather nice one to use at that. The throws are short and have a nice weight to them, offering a genuinely nice gearchange.
The Kia is not too bad in the bends either, although it’s not perfect. The steering has a nice weight to it once you hit speed but it lacks feel and sharpness many would crave from a car such as this. The grip is not bad and the GT will handle well, although when you really push it hard you can feel the front wheels scramble for grip as the car starts to understeer, so a limited slip differential would be rather welcome here. The brakes are rather good though, so that helps make up for it. Just be weary how hard you press them though as the rear visibility isn’t at its best due to that rather small rear window.
It may not be as fast as its rivals, but it still picks up speed well and it has the sort of performance that makes overtaking a doddle. The engine note is rather nice, although there is a bit of an elephant in the room surrounding that one. It’s largely artificial because it has that electric sound generator I mentioned earlier, meaning it pumps engine noise in to the cabin. It’s kind of feature that is likely to divide petrolheads, but I personally don’t mind. Yes, it’s artificial, but if a supermodel with plastic surgery invited you out for a night out on the town, what would you say? I thought so.(4 / 5)
This is really an area where the Pro_Cee’d GT struggles in all honesty. The official figure for a combined journey is 38.2 mpg, which is by no means tragic, but it’s not stellar either. Especially if you bear in both the Focus ST and the Golf GTI offer better economy with their bigger, 2.0 litre engines. The GTI will offer 44 mpg whilst the Focus ST can offer up 41.5mpg. They also offer better emission figures as well, so it’s a double git for the Korean new boy.
170g/km is what the Kia emits from its dual exhaust pipes – more than the Focus’ 159g/km and the GTI’s 148g/km. Based on that, I don’t think Kia will win any plaudits from Greenpeace any time soon. In practice I found that if you drive the car how it’s meant to be driven then you’ll do well to get 25mpg, but one day I did try super hard and I was able to eek out 35.6 mpg but that drive was so sedate that even a librarian would have been bored to tears.
(3 / 5)
It’s never easy heading in to unchartered waters and that is what Kia has done with the Pro_Cee’d GT. This may actually be the facelift version, but the Korean brand is still the new boy in the hot hatchback world. Is it perfect? No – the steering could be better and I imagine some will want more performance. Some will also want better fuel economy as well for that matter.
However, as a first effort, you I feel Kia should be applauded for what it has achieved with the Pro_Cee’d GT. It may have a somewhat silly name that makes it sound like a strong computer password and it’s not as sharp as its rivals, but it’s still a decent motor nonetheless. Plus let’s not forget, its rivals have so much more experience in this field. Kia’s tagline is “The Power To Surprise” and that’s exactly what happened here. Bravo, Kia, bravo.
Car Obsession Rating (4 / 5)
- Decent value
- Plenty of kit
- Striking looks
- Good pick up from engine
- Lovely Recaro seats
- Slower than rivals
- Poor economy
- Steering lacks feel
Ford Focus ST
The Focus ST has been a favourite for many years and it’s a well established more. It does cost more money and comes as standard with less kit, but it outguns the Pro_Cee’d GT in every area of performance and it’s a more engaging car to drive.
Volkswagen Golf GTI
Again, like the ST, this is a well established model and without doubt that this will be considered when buyers look at hot hatches. The forthcoming model is getting on for £28,000 so it’s not cheap. However, you are buying in to the heritage of the GTI badge, plus you’re getting a hot hatch that will get to 62mph around a second faster than the Pro_Cee’d GT. Plus you will get a higher level of refinement and there is better badge appeal.