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For my Kia ProCeed GT review, I headed to Barcelona to see what the 201bhp medium hot shooting brake is all about – and came away pleasantly surprised.

If, like me, you’re a little tired of SUV this and crossover that, things are looking up. This year I have already driven the Hyundai i30 Fastback N, which is a more swoopy version of the i30 N hatchback, and now we have another curvy offering from South Korea.

Priced at the top end of the Ceed range, the 2019 Kia ProCeed GT is basically the answer to those who like pretty things, but would find a three-door hatchback annoying. Design-wise, it’s a pleasing mix of coupé and estate, but with practicality erring more on the latter, which is no bad thing for families.

Borrowing from a number of cars such as the Porsche Panamera, the end result is a little sporty and a little classy. And nothing like a boxy SUV.

As well as killing off the old C’eed apostrophe, Kia has also done away with the underscore. Now you get a rogue capital letter halfway, which is certainly easier to write and less confusing from a search engine perspective. But none of that is particularly important. Is it actually any good?

2019 Kia ProCeed GT review: What’s it all about?

2019 Kia ProCeed GT review: Front three-quarter

Reflecting a reduced uptake in three-door hatchbacks such as the 2019 Kia ProCeed GT’s predecessor, you now only have the option of a five-door. In the UK it will be available as the low-end GT-Line, the posh GT-Line S and the performance-oriented GT when it goes on sale on the 21st of January, 2019.

Underpinning the car is the K2 platform used by all Ceed models, but the dimensions have been adjusted. It’s 5mm longer than the Ceed Sportswagon and has a longer overhang, but ground clearance is reduced by 5mm to 135mm and the roof line is 43mm lower, at 1,422mm. The wheelbase and width are unchanged.

The interior has been tweaked specifically for the ProCeed, too. The grey roof lining of the Ceed and Sportswagon, for instance, is now black to make the cabin more enveloping. You also get metal paddle shifters on the standard D-shaped leather steering wheel, which control the seven-speed automatic if you want them to.

An 8-inch touchscreen display, meanwhile, shows you navigation directions and other useful info. The layout is logical and clear to see, which makes up for a somewhat subdued appearance. Sadly, there are still rather too many buttons in the interior.

Up front are new seats, which in GT-Line are black and light grey faux leather. At the two other trim levels, the side bolsters are more bolstery (that’s now a word) and you get faux suede instead of faux leather, with some red stitching.

Engine options depend on the model. GT-Line can be had with a new Kappa 1.4-litre T-GDi turbo, which produces 138bhp and 242Nm of torque from 1,500 to 3,200rpm. There’s also a ‘Smartstream’ 1.6-litre CRDi diesel, which produces 134bhp and 280Nm of torque with the six-speed manual or 320Nm with the seven-speed DCT auto.

At GT-Line S, you can only have the auto and the 1.4-litre T-GDi. At GT Line, things get more serious with the introduction of a 1.6-litre T-GDi, same as in the Ceed GT, which puts out a healthy 201bhp and 265Nm of torque. Sadly, there is no manual gearbox option.

2019 Kia ProCeed GT review: Is it practical?

2019 Kia ProCeed GT at Parcmotor Castelloli at the European launch event in Barcelona

If you were concerned about practicality, fret not. By lowering the hip line of the rear seats, Kia claims headroom is unimpeded by the lower roofline. In reality, my six-foot frame certainly had no issue, but then those really above average might. Leg room is decent, too.

Compared with the Ceed hatchback, you get 50 per cent more boot space. 594 litres is a healthy figure, indeed, when you consider what you get in some tourers. In fact, it’s only 31 litres less than the Sportswagon.

Usefully, the space is easy to get into because of the lower height and lack of a lip, which is good for long items. You can also have an automatic tailgate if you are willing to pay for it.

At GT-Line level, the rear seats can be folded 40:20:40, where the other two models are limited to 60:40. But all get an under-floor storage area and hooks to lock things down. Although as tempting as it might be sometimes, I wouldn’t suggest using them for your children.

2019 Kia ProCeed GT review: How does it drive?

2019 Kia ProCeed GT review rear three-quarters

We found the ProCeed GT to be the most suited to the track part of the day. Kicking out a healthy 0-62mph of 7.2 seconds and a top speed higher than you would ever need, it’s fast enough to be keep you busy, particularly in the livelier Sport mode.

Power is delivered in fairly unexciting linear fashion, admittedly, but it does mean you can make progress without maximising the revs. This is actually a good thing as while it sounds Hyundai i30 N-ish at low revs, it’s quite tinny and thrashy if you go all-out.

A similar point can be made about the 7-speed DCT, which is competent enough for your average driving scenario, but too reluctant to react when coming out of a corner at Parcmotor Castelloli.

Steering is a more positive experience. In the GT model, which was engineered by ex-BMW M division’s Albert Biermann, you can tell certainly read the road well enough to judge speed and if you do go wrong the understeer is easily correctable. The trick is to carry speed, which the surprisingly grippy wheels do rather well.

I would go as far as saying I was pleasantly surprised by the ProCeed GT’s sportiness. It could have been out of its depth, but instead it barely rolled about, never did anything unexpected and was a bit of a giggle.

That revelation is hardly surprising when you learn Biermann spent six extra months honing the GT, resulting in various changes including stiffer front and rear springs and softer anti-roll bars to help keep the tyre in contact with the road.

Sadly though, the brakes are prone to fade but then that is the case for most standard brake systems after a track session. It just seemed to happen a little earlier in the ProCeed GT.

Rev-hang is another bugbear. Basically, the car holds the revs when the clutch is done, which is great for emissions apparently. But for making it sound like you aren’t a bad driver, it’s really not so good.

Out on the road, the smaller output engines are capable of getting you from A to B in smooth fashion with little in the way of road or wind noise coming into the cabin. The suspension setup was also happy to smooth out road imperfections without any major hiccups.

Where Kia’s ProCeed falls down is the 6-speed manual, which is rather notchy and quite long in the throw department. But in the slower engines it’s more palatable as the car feels happiest cruising at a more relaxed pace, plus it is nicer to use than the auto.

There is also the problem of the rear window, which is wide enough to be useful but it’s thin profile means you can never see the upper half of whatever is behind you, which can prove annoying.

2019 Kia ProCeed GT review: Standard equipment?

2019 Kia ProCeed GT at Parcmotor Castelloli at the European launch event in Barcelona

Standard equipment is decent at this price point. Expect Bluetooth for smartphone connectivity, automatic headlights, rain sensing wipers, smart entry system and heated front seats.

Then there’s a front wiper de-icer, electrically folding, adjustable and heated door mirrors, reversing camera with rear parking sensors and heated steering wheel for the colder months.

Not only that, you get an 8-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, AUX and USB connections. Plus a 6-speaker audio system, reversing camera and 17-inch alloy wheels.

GT-Line S adds a wireless smartphone charger, electric wide sunroof, heated outer rear seats, a smart power tailgate and 18-inch alloys. GT, meanwhile, is made extra sporty by red interior and exterior detailing, GT alloy wheels and LED bi-function headlights among other things.

As usual with a Kia, your car is backed up by a 7-year/100,000 mile warranty (whichever comes sooner) and that’s good for peace of mind. Overall reliability of its cars seems to rank well compared with the more premium alternatives and we would expect the ProCeed to continue that trend.

2019 Kia ProCeed GT review: UK prices & running costs?

2019 Kia ProCeed GT review: Rear end with dual-exit exhaust and rear lights

The most frugal engine is the 1.6-litre CRDi, which is said to manage up to 56mpg on a combined cycle. Least fuel efficient is the 201bhp 1.6-litre T-GDi, which sneaks in at just under 40mpg. CO2 emissions range from 110 to 142g/km.

Those who want the cheapest Kia ProCeed will pay from £23,835 for the 1.4 T-GDi, while the most expensive is the £28,685 1.6 G-TDi GT-Line S. For the GT, expect to pay a bit less at £28,135 before any optional extras.

2019 Kia ProCeed GT review: Is it, you know, safe?

All Kia Proceed models come with Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), High-Beam Assist (HBA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW) and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist City (FCA). Pedestrian detection is available as standard on manual ProCeeds or optional as part of the Advanced Driving Assistance Pack with the DCT.

You also get Anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist System (BAS), with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) and Hill-start Assist Control (HAC).

Six airbags, with the ability to switch the front passenger airbag off when there is a baby in a car seat, is also included plus ISOFIX child seat top tethers and anchor fixings for the two rear outer seats.

2019 Kia ProCeed GT review: Should I buy one, then?

2019 Kia ProCeed GT review: Side profile

When you take into account the warranty, improved styling, superior handling and refinement, it’s easy enough to make a case for the Kia ProCeed. It’s pretty enough to stand out, while there is no major loss in terms of practicality over the Sportswagon. It really is rather capable in most areas.

As for the ProCeed GT, it’s hotter than you would expect and yet it’s a shame only the Ceed GT hatchback can be had with the 6-speed manual as that would help with involvement.

Even so, there is enough pace, handling prowess and sportiness to make it worth looking at if you are struggling to justify something more powerful.

Kia ProCeed GT review (2019)
Offering pleasant motoring in an attractive package, the 2019 Kia ProCeed is a more interesting choice for those not quite ready for estate life but want more space than a hatchback.
Performance
Handling
Enjoyment
Cool-factor
Usability
The Good
  • Nice to look at
  • Drives well
  • Decent warranty
The Bad
  • Rear window is tiny
  • Brake fade prone
  • Auto lets the GT down
3.7The Score
Reader Rating: (4 Votes)

About The Author

Editor-in-Chief

Ben Griffin is a motoring journalist and founder of the website and YouTube channel, A Tribe Called Cars. He is also a contributor at DriveTribe.

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