First Drive: Kia pro_cee'd
Sector: Three-door hatch Price (May 2013): £17,495-£20,795 Fuel: 46.3-74.3mpg CO2: 100-140g/km
Kia’s line-up has improved markedly over the past few years, to the point where it has some genuinely desirable product. But nothing has been what you could call “sexy”.
The pro_cee’d might just rectify this. The three-door version of the cee’d has some athletic lines, and looks suitably sporty enough to compete against coupes such as the Volkswagen Scirocco and Hyundai Veloster.
Two engines are offered: a 1.6-litre GDi petrol and a 1.6-litre CRDi turbodiesel with Intelligent Stop & Go (ISG) while a six-speed manual transmission is standard, and Kia’s six-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) gearbox is available in 1.6 GDi “SE” guise.
Longer and lower than the previous pro_cee’d, it has a number of design features that make it stand out from its more prosaic sibling, including front fog lights inset into a new layered design, a more rakish lower bumper with dark chrome highlights, and a gloss black “tiger nose” grille that is slightly narrower and more aggressive.
Inside, the cabin is extremely high quality, and as good as anything in the sector, and probably better than most. There’s also a decent amount of space in the rear seats, while boot storage is up 40 litres to 380 litres, so practicality is not an issue.
There are two specifications, S and SE and there’s plenty of kit as standard. On the entry-level car you get automatic lights, cruise control, steering wheel-mounted controls and reversing sensors. The SE adds luxuries such as keyless entry and satellite navigation.
It doesn’t drive as sportily as it looks, and the handling is a bit stodgy, although it rides well enough. But for most the low emissions, standard kit, quality and great looks will be enough to attract.