Kia ProCeed T-GDI GT
By Bill McCarthy
You can sometimes get a bit blasé when writing about certain car features, with safety sometimes seeming the least sexy attraction.
When it comes to your rescue, you can see why it is so important and how the technology has leapt ahead over the years, with firms like Kia right at the forefront.
A narrow escape on the motorway would almost certainly have had more serious consequences a few years ago, but when some idiot swerved across from the outside lane at 70mph, I had to instantly wrench the steering left to avoid a catastrophic collision.
The sharp manoeuvre could have had dire consequences as I tried to get the car straight at high speed, but with traction and stability control as assisted braking kicking in and grippy tyres gaining the road hold instantly the car almost righted itself.
It’s no wonder Kia makes a play on safety when their CEO was asked what make him proud to be leading Kia in the UK. He said this latest ProCeed, (now without apostrophe and underscore, as in pro_cee’d), has been transformed compared to its predecessor with safety and driver assistance technology setting new standards in the class. And yes, it still retains the seven-year, 100k mile warranty.
The Proceed is a big car, not an estate in the true sense, but in the shooting brake mould between three door hatch and full estate.
It most certainly is a looker, and with an extended coupe-like profile, it sits lower and is longer than the Ceed.
Even more sexy-looking is this GT model with all the flashes and badges and eye-catching red brake callipers. The front end features a sporty grille and air scoop and slim, cat-like light clusters housing LED bi-function headlights.
The 18-inch alloy wheels feature red centre caps, while the air intake has a red accent on the lower lip and high gloss red side sill mouldings.
The ProCeed name is spelled out across the tailgate beneath LED where dual exhausts are also prominent.
The interior is a smart, rather than eye catching affair, being neatly and logically laid out and dominated by an large touchscreen which sits in a convenient position at eyeline level. This controls major functions like navigation, music and connectivity for smart phone via Android Auto and Apple Carplay. There is also privacy glass to the rear, dual air con. Also fitted on this model are heated front seats and steering wheel and parking camera.
The cabin it well put together and although not exactly in the executive class has leather effect powered and heated front seats which are comfortable and functional while the GT theme is dominant throughout with red contrasting stitching. A GT Performance mode has also been added to the new 4.2-inch colour cluster display.
Performance from the 1.6-litre T-GDi 201bhp petrol engine is pretty good, although it did prove thirsty.
The turbocharged unit propels the car to 60mph in around seven seconds, via the seven-speed DSG auto box. It has enough pace in standard mode, but press the sport button and everything sharpens up, you can shift the gears via steering wheel paddles, the steering gets weightier and the dual exhaust delivers a sporty thrum. Economy does take a hit and the best I managed was around 32mpg, against an official 39.3mpg.
The ride heigh is 5mm lower than the Ceed and Sportswagon, with spring and damper set up tailored to accommodate the European market. It’s a comfortable ride, but switch to sport mode and it stiffens up considerably to provide bags of grip and agility.
In practical terms, boot space is an impressive 594 litres, but fold the 60/40 split rear seats and 1,545 litres opens up. In addition and there’s a dual height luggage area floor with parcel shelf to hide luggage and valuables , with hooks and nets to keep cargo secure.
As already mentioned, it is packed with safety kit including a full complement of air bags, cross traffic alert, lane and high-beam assist, driver ward sister and forward collision warning with with Pedestrian detection also available.
As stylish as anything in its class, the ProCeed is a fine car and packed with safety kit and then there the not-so-small matter of the the seven-year, 100k miles warranty.
Mechanical: 201bhp 1,591cc, 4 cylinder petrol engine driving front wheels via 7-speed auto gearbox
Max speed: 140mph
0-62mph: 7.2 seconds
Combined mpg: 39.3
Insurance group: 21
CO2 emissions: 142g/km
Warranty: 7yrs/100,000 miles