14 OCTOBER 2019
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Kia continues to proliferate with new models. At the present count there are 12 distinct car types, many of which have spin-offs. Take for instance the Ceed family. Kia produces the Ceed, XCeed, Ceed Sportswagen, and the new (2019) ProCeed, the subject of this road test. We are told an SUV is on its way.
Clearly Kia thinks this is the way to go, its UK market share improving all the time. In any event, forget you are buying a Korean car. It is a true European motor, designed in Germany and built in Slovakia.
“Engineered on European roads, for European drivers” is Kia’s sales pitch. And it comes with Kia’s unique seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
The Kia ProCeed is the third body style to be added to the Ceed range, following the more conservative-looking five-door hatchback and estate. BTN road tested the Ceed GT back in May 2018.
This time, the car is suitable for the school run. It is less powerful with a still-sufficient 0-60mph in 10sec, the manual six-speed gearbox seems to be just that little bit more smoother and very much suited to the car. In truth, with looks and handling it seems a different vehicle whatever its underpinnings are. Petrol consumption is much better too, with 50mpg possible. However, Kia’s own figures are always optimistic and you would need to be a careful driver to get anywhere near the 60 mark the brochure says.
Just to emphasise that the model is completely different in terms of looks (except for the Kia family grill), this Kia's bodywork shares nothing but its front wings and bonnet with other Ceed variants. To create the shooting brake silhouette, the ProCeed’s designers made the windscreen angle 1.5deg more steeply raked than that of its sister models and the roofline 43mm lower, while the rear window is angled at almost 65deg off the vertical, making it seem to be much more of a fastback. Overall, it is just 5mm longer and its wheelbase and width are the same as other Ceed derivatives.
Kia calls the car “a stationwagon” an American term that seemed to drop out of fashion but is clearly making a comeback. How you differentiate between it and an “estate car”, we are not sure. At any event, it is 1,422mm high against the saloon’s 1,447mm (or in simple language just 1in).
Get close to the car and the door unlocks with the folding mirrors unfurling. Watch your head getting into the cabin which is typically Kia with similar ergonomics and high-quality soft-touch surfaces, metallic trim and a horizontal dashboard layout. The 8in 'floating' touchscreen infotainment system sits at the centre of the dashboard, with audio and heating and ventilation controls situated below. The dashboard itself is angled slightly towards the driver.
The driving position is the same as other Ceeds but rear visibility is poor with the low roof rear-view mirror counterbalanced by large door reflectors. When it comes to the ‘kit’, the ProCeed is exceptionally well imbued, particularly from a safety point of view, including Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) and Forward Collision Warning with Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW) and Speed Limit Information Function (SLIF).
You get parking assist, a wireless phone charger, reversing camera as well as front and rear parking sensors. TomTom supplies the navigation system, or you can use your own phone connection and the eight-speaker premium sound system is excellent.
Back-seat legroom is the same as the other Ceed models (generous), but, again, getting in and out requires one to watch one’s head. It is OK with children but adults need to be reminded it is a semi-fastback.
With a capacity of 594 litres, the ProCeed's boot is 50% more capacious than the hatchback and the tailgate opens automatically when it detects the smart key in close proximity for occasions when users' hands are full with a heavy ‘shop’. With no boot lip and a lower ride height than the Ceed Sportswagon, it is remarkably easy to load and unload.
An underfloor storage area can stow smaller items and the boot features a bag hook to prevent groceries and other items rolling around the load bay. If you are really short of space, the rear seats fold down separately, as does the front passenger’s for really long items.
Kia’s research suggests station wagon sales will grow over the next few years. It predicts a 20% share of overall Ceed sales for the shooting brake, with the five-door and more conventional estate bodies accounting for 25% each, leaving the as-yet-unseen Ceed SUV to make up the remaining 30%.
Sit inside and you’ll notice the ProCeed’s leather and Alcantara sports seats with red stitching and GT logos. They give excellent side support and feel instantly comfortable. There’s a flat-bottomed steering wheel and black roof lining, both of which make for a sportier ambience.
When it comes to driving, the ProCeed is very assured even on the twisty country roads that featured when we took the car to the Cotswolds (see ON TOUR in this issue). The handling is balanced and precise and traction never a problem with a front-wheel-drive car.
Assuming the SUV arrives the Kia range now covers just about every requirement for saloon cars and the ProCeed, it could be argued, further muddies the waters when it comes to choice. At £24,690, it is very good value. Regarding rivals, the only other named competitor is the Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake which, fully equipped, will cost considerably more.
STAR RATINGS (out of 10)
Ride and Comfort 8
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