Pro_Cee’d GT: Kia Cooks Up a Bit of Korean Spiced With Chilli

gaycarboys in Pro_Cee’d at baskerville 2

Above and below: gaycarboys at BaskerVille

gaycarboys in Pro_Cee’d at baskerville

Yes Yes Yes oh YES: sweet smooth engine, sweet smooth gearbox, sweet smooth ride, sweet smooth exterior

Oh dear me no: Steering not quite there yet, Some plastics look wrong

I like it, I like it a lot. It’s a funny name, Pro_Cee’d, but Kia pronounces it as “proceed” which makes much more sense. The Gen Y marketer who thought of that name needs slapping.

MY15 Kia pro_cee'd

Picture it: A windswept race track called Baskerville and 16 shiny new Kia Pro_Cee’d GT’s waiting to be taken by the scruff of the neck and thrown head first into the abyss. We’ve waited for this car for a long time because Kia Australia took a long time to convince Big Daddy in Korea that it was just the ticket for OZ. We should consider ourselves fortunate because Australia is the only place outside the EEU where the Pro_Cee’d GT is sold.

The Euro-made hatch is all hot and sweaty with its tiger-nose front, sexy-wedge profile, and squat rear end all screaming “come hither, do naughty nasty things to me”. Such an invitation doesn’t come along every day, so we did.

The CEO and President, Sang-Hyun Cho (“please call me SH”, he says) spoke passionately about his new baby and it was hard not to be swept along with his enthusiasm and warmness.

First, a few words about the car:

The classy exterior speaks for itself. It is gorgeous, just as we have come to expect from the Peter MY15 Kia pro_cee'dSchreyer’s pen. Kia is transforming itself from the “cheap and cheerful” to the well-made and desirable quite deliberately. Sure there is a little way to go in some areas, but in a single generation Kia has taken a quantum leap and the Pro_Cee’d GT sits at the top of Kia’s class of ‘14.

I won’t go into the LED’s and other bits of buy-me-now bling because this is where the pictures do a better job. There are two levels of trim, GT and GT Tech. The tech gets all the good stuff from the GT but has a glass roof with sliding panel, keyless smart start, HID headlamps, cargo net and an extra power outlet in the boot for an extra 4 grand. Please note there is no option of Satnav for at least 6 months. A Satnav app and windscreen cradle will sort all that out. Both levels have leather and suede Recaro front seats with power lumbar controls. I can’t tell you how relieved I was that the seats were properly comfortable. Nothing ruins a trip like seats so hard that they feel like bricks covered in thin bits of cow. The plastics are mostly soft touch or piano black, and except for the odd bit here and there, are well designed. The same goes for the switch gear. The Pro_Cee’d GT is a Euro hatch, so the blinkers are on the left. You can have any transmission you want as long as it’s the 6 speed manual. Auto drivers should move along, there is nothing to see here.

The launch day involved a leisurely country jaunt and frantic track thrash. Kia tell me that the Pro_Cee’d GT is not a track car, but I’ll be the judge of that!

MY15 Kia pro_cee'dWe set off after breakfast, full of anticipation, enthusiasm, bacon and eggs. First stop was Baskerville Hall, sorry, Baskerville racetrack. Avoiding the obvious quips about hounds, we then headed for the hills. A short drive back through Hobart proved Kia’s claims that the suspension would not break your kidneys. In fact it had a suppleness usually found in a larger more expensive cars. The odd bump intruded into the cabin but didn’t leave its occupants unduly dishevelled, so that’s the first test passed.

The gear change in city traffic, such as it is in Hobart, was a delight. The clutch has a beautiful feel with the gearbox having a Goldilocks shift which feels just right. Having said that, both my companion and I managed to snuff the engine with the score standing at one a piece. The 150 kw 1.6L turbo has 265Nm between 1750 and 4,500 RPMs which has the effect of feeling more like a small 6pot rather than a turbo 4. Kia also claimed the twin-scroll turbo eliminated the usual “whack in the back of the head” turbo lag-then-boost, and it did. In fact there was almost no lag at all, just one smooth push forward.

Southern Tassie was much dryer than I expected so the green hills took on more of a cookie-dough brown MY15 Kia pro_cee'dhue. The roads are a different kettle of fish with quick bends and twists winding through quiet country hamlets. That’s why you buy a sports car, especially one that you can live with through the week. The sights are spectacular with little sandy bays and cliffs along the river, and forests and gorges further inland. I could easily imagine my honey, a gingham table cloth, a basket, and a bottle of champers in the back because there were plenty of places to stop for a picnic.

Several hours later we arrived back at the track. We re-joined the group who had the morning track session to compare notes, and it was all good. After a trackside lunch we headed for the helmets because the track itself beckoned.

Baskerville has a bit of history and is arguably the oldest continually operating track in the country. It sits in a natural amphitheatre offering tricky turns with one in particular seeing the roadway disappear over an apex with an concealed turn straight after. Track days also highlight the weaknesses in a car such as inadequate brakes, sloppy handling, and insipid performance. I remember one such day where several cars threw their clutches out of the cot while having tanties of herculean proportions. No such tanty was had here.

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Kia said the Pro_Cee’D GT wasn’t a track car, but a sporty car. I thought they sold it short as it was plenty of fun. I worried the soft suspension might be a problem but no cars was harmed in the writing of this story. Apart from a little heavy braking wiggle-waggle every now and then, the Pro_Cee’D GT did not disgrace itself. Turning into a corner too fast brought out some controllable understeer but the electronics took care of most of the unruly behaviou. The best unofficial speed was set at 171kph on the back straight. In experienced hands that figure would no doubt be better.

The track gives a bloke a sense of freedom no open road can match. Corners are taken as fast as the driver feels comfortable. Very fast straights require more than a gentle dab of brake to get round the bend at the end. Gears changes are so fast that an automatic transmission becomes irrelevant. Despite my newfound confidence, I left all the safety gear turned very firmly on throughout. I never looked like being untidy, even on the most demanding of bends. Several circuits resulted in brakes that reeked of overcooked BBQ sausages, but no cars needed more than rotating of tyres front to back. In fact after a full day of being thrown around like rag dolls there were no signs that the efforts were beyond the mission parameters.

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The strength in the design was validated the sturdiness on the track. Keep in mind that most million dollar track cars won’t go a full day without needing big hugs after having a jolly good sook. If I was Germany I’d keep an eye over my shoulder because Korea is staring you down.

It’s going to be a while before gaycarboys has a Pro_Cee’D GT of our very own and I for one can’t wait. The success of the Pro_Cee’D GT is going to depend on how cool the advertising chaps at Kia can make the Pro_Cee’d GT sound.

Let’s recap: The Pro_Cee’D GT has 2 doors and a hatch. It has a 150kw turbo and a 6 speed manual and does 0-100 in about 7.7 seconds. In other words it is a Hot Hatch. Its competition will be the VW Polo GTi, Fiesta ST, and the Opel Astra OPC should it make a phoenix like return from the dead.

Kia presented much info, but all the facts, figures and theory matters little to a buyer. The buyer will look at it, and drive it, and buy or not, it is that simple. Korean cars still have the “cheap and cheerful” tag which is no longer deserved. Japan got over it, but it took 40 years and Seoul does not intend to take that long.

GT Highlights include: Auto wipers, Auto lights, Recaro seats, climate control, smart key with push-button start.

GT Tech Highlights include: HID headlights, Glass roof (inc sliding sunroof), luggage net, rear power outlet,

Would I buy one with my own money? Yeah sure why not. Find me a Hot Hatch that rides as well and looks as good.

MY15 Kia pro_cee'd

Performance and fuel consumption

Six-speed manual
Acceleration: 0-100km/h seconds 7.7
Maximum speed Km/h 230
Fuel consumption – urb/x.urb/com L/100km 9.7 / 6.1 / 7.4
CO2 g/km 171
No. of cylinders/valves 4 / 16
Displacement cc 1,591
Bore / stroke mm 77 x 85.44
Power output kW 150 @ 6,000rpm
Torque output Nm 265 @ 1,750-4,500rpm
Compression ratio 9.5:1
Engine details Double overhead camshaft; continuouslyvariable valve timing; direct fuel injection (GDi); exhaust-driven turbocharger

Performance and fuel consumption

Six-speed manual
Acceleration: 0-100km/h seconds 7.7
Maximum speed Km/h 230
Fuel consumption – urb/x.urb/com L/100km 9.7 / 6.1 / 7.4
CO2 g/km 171

PRICE

  • pro_cee’d GT $29,990
  • pro_cee’d GT Tech $33,490
  • Premium paint $595
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