Driven: Kia ProCeed

Is the Kia ProCeed a practical and sporting Shooting Brake that everybody can afford? Perhaps…

If you’re looking at the pictures of this five-door Kia and thinking that the old model only had three, then you’re correct. Buyers just don’t put their money into three-door cars anymore, so Kia has responded by taking the old pro_cee’d, learning to spell properly, and then adding some rear doors to turn it into the ProCeed. The result is a stylish five-door hatchback. Or possibly estate. Or coupe? It’s tough to work out exactly what it is, but it’s definitely not the Shooting Brake the press releases speak of.

There’s more to the new ProCeed than just bolting a bit on the back of the existing hatchback. Look closely and you’ll see the only common parts are the bonnet and front wings. Everything else is new, from the windscreen that is angled back by an extra degree or two for a sportier look, to that sweeping roofline that brings to mind both the Mercedes CLA and Porsche Panamera.

The basic shape is augmented with an aggressive bumper with cool ‘ice-cube’ headlights, while the rear gets twin exhaust pipes and taillights that run the entire width of the car. A chrome shark fin adorns the side behind the c-pillar, while a roof spoiler shades the rear window and encompasses a race-car-like high-level brake light. Love it or loathe it, it’s distinctive and unlike anything else available.

It’s not quite so unique inside, as the interior has been lifted directly from the normal Ceed. It’s perfectly arranged and well built, but any sense of excitement has been left outside. There’s no shortage of quality though, with some decent material choices and a perception that it’s built pretty tough. Some chrome highlights and a usable 8.0-inch infotainment screen mounted high and centre add some pizzazz, but everything just lacks a bit of flair. Perhaps the flash outside ups expectations inside.

At least there’s plenty of toys to play with. That’s helped by their being no ‘basic’ models, with the range starting at GT-Line level – that’s a high-grade trim in Kia speak. You’ll get climate control, cruise control, heated seats and steering wheel, a reversing camera, automatic lights and wipers, and both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard, amongst many, many other items.

Space is strong upfront but gets tight for headroom in the rear, as you might expect. There’s a large boot able to take in 594 litres of luggage with the rear seats up and parcel shelf in place. That’s only slightly less than the ‘proper’ estate version of the Ceed, but that swooping roofline does limit capacity when stacked to the gunwales. It also makes rear visibility tricky, with the low rear window allowing little more than a view of the bumper of the car behind in the mirror.

Kia’s fine 1.6-litre diesel engine is fitted under the bonnet, offering a frugal drive and acceptable amounts of power. It gets a tad raucous when pushed hard, but the decent amount of torque means you can rely on lowdown revs to get going. The six-speed manual gearbox is good enough that it almost fades from your awareness. There are no clunks, no mismatched revs, no grinding.

The combination doesn’t encourage sporty driving though, despite the sporting overtones given by the bodywork. The 0-62 mph dash takes a rather relaxed 10 seconds, although in-gear acceleration feels brisker than that. Country roads present no problem, as all-round independent suspension deals with most issues with aplomb but, again, it’s not really very exciting. Capable, certainly, and a match for the best-in-class when pressing on, but it never really engages. It rides well though, helped by 17-inch wheels that admittedly do look a little lost in the 4.6 metres of metalwork.

Your money gets you a lot of car, but there’s a problem for the ProCeed. It’s not as practical as the Ceed Sportswagon and doesn’t add anything extra in terms of driving enjoyment. And if practicality isn’t important, you can get the regular Ceed hatchback for a little less money. It leaves the ProCeed trading entirely on its style, and that is something that, anecdotally, has split opinion.

From the right angle, it looks magnificent, and there’s no doubt that it will stand out from the family hatchback crowd. When parked in a line of indistinct Focuses, Astras and Golfs, that alone might be enough to justify the premium.

Model Tested: Kia ProCeed GT-Line 1.6 CRDi
Price: £24,690
Range: £23,840 – £29,620
Top speed: 124 mph
0-62 mph: 10.0 seconds
Power: 136 PS (304 bhp)
Torque: 280 Nm (207 ft lb)
Monthly PCP*: £337
Official fuel economy: 56.5 mpg
Road test economy: 49.2 mpg
CO2 Emissions: 114 g/km
Car Tax: £145
Insurance group: 12E
* Monthly PCP estimate based on 20% deposit, 36 month term, 5% APR, final payment of 40%.