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.
Picture it: a windswept race track called Baskerville and 16 shiny new Kia Pro_Cee’d GTs waiting to be taken by the scruff of the neck and thrown head first into the abyss. Kia Australia took a long time to convince headquarters in Korea that it was just the ticket for us. We should consider ourselves fortunate because Australia is the only place outside the Eurasian Economic Union 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.
First, a few words about the car.
The classy exterior speaks for itself. It is gorgeous. Kia is transforming itself from the “cheap and cheerful” to the well-made and desirable. 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 2014.
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, an extra power outlet in the boot, and more, for an extra $4000. Both levels have leather and suede 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 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 six-speed manual. Auto drivers should move along as lingering will only make you jealous.
The launch day in Tasmania involved a leisurely country jaunt and frantic track thrash. Full of anticipation, first stop was Baskerville racetrack. We then headed for the hills. A short drive back through Hobart proved Kia’s claims that the suspension had a suppleness usually found in a larger, more expensive cars.
The gear change in city traffic, such as it is in Hobart, was also a delight: the clutch has a beautiful feel.
Southern Tassie was much dryer than I expected. The roads are a different kettle of fish with quick bends and twists winding through quiet country hamlets. The sights are spectacular with little sandy bays and cliffs along the river, and forests and gorges further inland. 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’s all good.
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.
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 thought the soft suspension might be a problem but no car 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. The best unofficial speed was set at 171kph on the back straight. In experienced hands that figure would no doubt be better.
It’s going to be a while before I have a Pro_Cee’D GT of my very own but I 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 two doors and a hatch. It has a 150kw turbo and a ssix-peed manual and does 0-100 in about 7.7 seconds.
PRICE: Kia Pro_Cee’d GT starts at $29,990. tje Pro’Cee’d T tech starts at $33,490.