Planting the 'Ceed for an Exciting Generation; This Muscular Hatch Marks the Beginning of a New Persona for the Fledgling Marque, Grant Edwards Reports from Hobart

Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia), April 5, 2014 | Go to article overview

Planting the 'Ceed for an Exciting Generation; This Muscular Hatch Marks the Beginning of a New Persona for the Fledgling Marque, Grant Edwards Reports from Hobart


THINK back a decade, and any thoughts of Kias were associated with cheap and cheerful.

But the South Korean brand is invoking smiles for a host of new reasons nowadays.

Former Audi designer Peter Schreyer has been integral to the turnaround, with inspiring new lines across the Kia range. He's been so good that parent company Hyundai is also now using his expertise.

Those wanting an example of how Kia has turned full circle should look no further than this stout little hatchback.

The glamorous Proceed GT (officially spelt "pro_cee'd") has arrived.

Hailed as the new hero car for brand, Kia Australia has been lobbying head office for this vehicle since it first came on the agenda. European built, which explains the left-sided indicator stalk, the Proceed GT is available in two trims and starts from $29,990 plus on-roads with the up-spec Tech available from $33,490.

Comfort

You feel like a racer when behind the sports steering wheel.

The front leather Recaro seats with suede at the rump are among the most comfortable sporting pews we have experienced with near perfect bolstering at the sides and bases.

Dual red stitching on the seats, leather steering wheel and gear knob, combined with glossy black finishes and a black headliner make for an athletic interior.

The central operations are typically Kia with red digital displays, and those wanting some extra internal zing should wait for the sat nav which is expected to become available later in the year - although expect the price to rise slightly.

We loved the central changeable speedometer, which can be altered between an analogue set-up or a digital read-out flanked by turbo boost and torque bars just by pressing the GT button on the steering wheel.

On the road

How often in the past could you say "let's take the Kia to the track?". We'd guesstimate never.

Yet during a testing session at Baskerville Raceway just outside Hobart this little hatch excelled in every department.

Take a bow Graeme Gambold and the Kia Australia suspension engineers. The Proceed GT has brilliant poise and drivability.

And that prowess translates to the road.

Powered by a 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine, the same donk we've seen in the Koup, its statistics on paper don't scream raw pace. It takes about 7.7 seconds to reach 100kmh but in the metal the Proceed GT feels much quicker.

Only available with a six-speed manual you get linear power up to redline, and then throw it into a bend with confidence.

Picking your cog well before the corner offers the best performance and when balanced you can jump back on the throttle to power out with panache. The Proceed GT is a remarkably easy car to drive quickly.

It hangs on nicely too, and while we have been critical of Kia tyre choices in the past, the GT is armed with Michelin Pilot Sport 3 rubber which deliver rail-like characteristics.

The dual exhaust has a nice tune, but you have to work up into the rev range to hear it bellow.

What do you get?

Base GTs come with the leather/suede Recaro seats, cruise control, sports pedals and scuff plates, CD stereo with Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming, dual zone air-con along with rear parking sensors and reversing camera, as well as electrically operated and heated folding mirrors with puddle lights.

GT-Tech adds a panoramic sunroof, smart key with push button start and door handle lighting, active HID headlamps with washer, privacy glass and luggage net. …

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