Kia: 2014 Pro_c’eed GT review

Kia: 2014 Pro_c’eed GT review

kia-proceed-gt-2014-frontThe Germans have a fantastic array of compound words. In German you can keep adding descriptive words together to form a word that’s a bit like a train with multiple carriages. One such word is hochkommakrankheit which, according to my research, means a banal obsession with the deployment of apostrophes – literally ‘apostrophitis’.

kia-proceed-gt-2014-front-interiorThe person who named the Pro_cee’d suffered immeasurably with this affliction. And if the apostrophe isn’t enough, there’s an underscore, too. I am expecting other manufacturers to bring out vehicles with internet-friendly punctuation such as @ and /.

And talking of that, with 150kW and 265Nm your journey can be liberally punctuated with moderately rapid dashes between the corners – 100kph comes up in 7.7 seconds. The 1.6-litre turbocharged engine needs to be kept in the right rev range, but provides sensible fuel economy in a car that’s a simmering hatch – not quite hot, but definitely a notch above lukewarm, especially with its fairly taught handling.

This is a new thing for Kia. It’s had some underlying sporty elements for a while now, but didn’t have a car to show it off.

kia-proceed-gt-2014-front-seatsThere’s a multitude of well-placed design features that make it a little bit special, like the GT badge in the front grille and sewn onto the steering wheel in red, the Recaro seats, LED lights front and back (the front ones in an interesting quad cluster like the Optima we tried recently), a nicely designed supervision cluster interface with turbo and torque meters, and a heated steering wheel. Yes, toasty hands in a car that’s only $43,990.

It’s a modern-looking car which gives a sense of ebenmäßigkeitsentzückung (well-proportioned delight). It’s a profound sense of satisfaction engendered by that nose-forward stance and subtle body kit. It’s doing everything right to convince you of its sportiness without being inconveniently sporty –schlagerschmeichelei, which is kind of like enjoying kia-proceed-gt-2014-dashboardemotionally manipulative mass culture, despite knowing you are being manipulated yourself.

From the leather gear stick boot to the 18-inch alloys that reveal red-painted brake callipers, this is a car that’s looking for a fight with a Golf GTI – a car that comes from Germany and therefore understands those long words. Drivers of Golfs have a sense of history in their cars – pagodeneitelkeit (the smug self-satisfaction of those behind of the wheel of a classic car) – whereas the Kia doesn’t yet have the cachet. It’s also a fight it won’t win in speed and dynamics, but the Golf will lighten your wallet considerably more at $58,500, even without some of the comforts of the Kia.

kia-proceed-gt-2014-switchesIt is the refined dynamism of the Golf, though, that makes you realise that, while Kia has done a superb job for its first sporty hatch, the sports suspension doesn’t quite have the incisive and telepathic feel of the VW. Still, you’d need to be a moron to try to push this car beyond its limits. It’s capable of handling tight bends at speed, with ease and to have to slow down much (if at all) you’re looking at corners marked 55kph in the dry.

If you did get it wrong, there’s vehicle stability management and ABS as standard. Also, something that the Golf doesn’t do (which nearly caused me to have an accident in the Golf), is hill start assist in both directions. The Golf will stop you rolling backwards when facing uphill, but doesn’t stop you rolling kia-proceed-gt-2014-rear-quarterforwards when in reverse facing downhill. The Kia’s hill start assist works equally well in both directions.

There are only minor issues with the Kia. The first is that the rear pillars are so thick they make rearward vision quite restricted, and there’s a bit of a blind spot on the left. The second is that the media centre’s screen is a naff-looking red LCD which, if you look at the international brochure, could have been replaced by something altogether more awesome with sat nav. I guess we don’t sell the volume to justify that extra cost.

This Kia’s a new kid on the block, but you need not worry whether the Kia will last. There’s a 5-year, 100,000km new car warranty.

So I jump in the Kia every time with a little bit of excitement about having to change gears myself and being able to use the heated steering wheel in this winter weather, but also to inhale the kraftfahrzeugsinnenausstattungsneugeruchsgenusss: that 48-character word is German for ‘new car smell’ or, literally, automobile interior furnishing new aroma pleasure.

Price: $43,990
Pros

  • Kia’s first hot hatch, and it’s just hot enough
  • Exclusivity
  • Lots of equipment for the money – heated steering wheel!

Cons

  • Rear visibility and blind spot on the left
  • Media centre display is old school LCD


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