Kia has been on a remarkable journey over the last few years or so. It entered the decade as a small player and has risen steadily to play a massive role in the motoring industry. If you didn’t realise how big Kia has become, this fact might help you – Kia recently delivered its one millionth car in the UK.
The majority of those sales have happened within the last few years and the point at which the Korean firm’s fortunes turned can be traced back to the introduction of the third-generation Sportage SUV in 2010. This beautiful, reliable and affordable machine helped make Kia one of the most desirable car brands in the UK – as well as its hugely attractive seven-year warranty. And the good news doesn't stop there.
Kia has continually evolved and enhanced its products, offering increased quality, driving enjoyment and a seriously premium feel across its range. It has introduced its first sports car, a ‘Grand Tourer' by the name of the Stinger, as well as further generations of the ever popular Sportage and Sorento family cars. Now, it’s ready to launch another incarnation of a previously popular model – the ProCeed.
If you remember the previous ProCeed, you'll be somewhat surprised by the shape of the fresh one. It has gone from being a five-door hatchback with hot-hatch levels of punch to a more elegant small estate with an almost shooting-brake design. Perhaps the biggest compliment to pay this new shape ProCeed is that it looks a little bit like a Porsche Panamera.
As we all know, Porsche and Kia compete at very different points in the automotive market, but there is something else besides the exterior design that links these two machines – emotional response. You see, Kia hasn't made the new ProCeed look this way for nothing, it has deliberately styled this car to be something that appeals to those of us who enjoy driving and love our motors. We can't all have a Porsche or an Aston Martin, but Kia knows that we like to have something that looks special and makes us feel good, and that's the aim of the new ProCeed – at least in terms of styling.
Of course, that curvaceous estate body is not just for image. Underneath the electronic tailgate lies 594 litres of boot space that increases further when you fold down the 40/20/40 rear seating arrangement. So, this is a Kia that looks to blend both driver appeal and everyday practicality into one ‘do-anything' recipe – far from a simple task.
I tested the top-spec model of the new ProCeed range – the GT. It uses a 1.6-litre, T-GDi turbocharged petrol engine, putting out 204PS. That's good enough to produce a 0–62mph sprinting time of a touch over seven seconds, which positions it in the territory of hot-hatches. It certainly sounds like one when driven with some passion; the exhaust note is particularly distinctive – another sign of Kia's dedication towards those who appreciate the sounds and emotions of driving. Gearing comes via a seven-speed double-clutch automatic unit, which, while never feeling as slick as some other efforts on the market, still does the job of swapping cogs smoothly enough to be pleasurable, if not all that sharply.
A powerful engine is nothing without a good quality ride, and as Kia is pitching this ProCeed squarely between fun and practical, it has ensured that there are no real surprises in terms of the driving experience. Compliant, accurate steering gives you the enjoyment of driving without ever feeling too resistant, and Kia has done an outstanding job with the ride, giving the ProCeed a firm but never uncomfortable setting that once again, balances nicely with the overall themes of this car. It won't set your world ablaze, but it won’t leave you feeling disappointed either.
Being the highest specification of the new ProCeed, the already generous Kia has pushed the boat out when it comes to equipment. The quality kit begins with the supportive seating. Black leather upholstery is present across the cabin, with the heated seating and even a heated steering wheel guaranteeing a cosy driving environment during those cold winter months. What's more, dual-zone climate control ensures no argument between the driver and front passenger if they have a temperature-based disagreement. Between you, those leather seats and the heating and climate options, you are not going to be uncomfortable, anyway.
We all know how indispensable infotainment systems are in any modern car, and Kia's is an impressive effort. Its software is contained within an eight-inch touchscreen, and it houses a few instrumental pieces of technology. Firstly, the reversing camera; it features guidelines to help you park your ProCeed into the right place, and it's particularly useful as rear visibility is not the best in this vehicle. It also has smartphone integration – meaning you can use both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Bluetooth and a DAB digital radio are also present, as well as an excellent navigation system. The sat-nav includes European mapping and real-time traffic updates, ensuring you can avoid incidents where possible.
Never thrilling, but very attractive in shape and highly practical with excellent levels of comfort, the Kia ProCeed could easily be another hit for the marque. Kia is building quite the stable of interesting, high quality and attractively priced machines, and the firm is showing increasing maturity and confidence with each new product that it releases. Both consumers and those of us in the motoring industry have a lot of reasons to be excited about the Korean car industry's golden age. Equally, anyone who wants a comfortable, well-equipped vehicle with pace and space has a new car to put right at the top of their shortlist.
*Price correct at time of publication and is subject to change