Bells, whistles, LEDs and an (annoying) digital soundtrack – the Proceed GT has them all. Hot hatch buyers want a car that looks like it means business and Kia’s first offering in this marketplace does just that.
The Korean car maker shifts more than 65,000 vehicles a year in the UK, although it’s unlikely many will be GTs. However, the coupe is a statement of intent, it shows what the company is capable of.
At £20,000, the entry-level version we’ve had on test for the past week is great value for money. It’s more cost effective than a Renault Megane RS or a Ford Focus ST. Perhaps more importantly, it has a rarity value neither can match.
Unfortunately, it can’t match the rivals for driving experience either. But if you want bangs for your bucks, the Proceed GT has to be worth a test drive…
So I spent last night looking at cars to buy. Not that I need one but a friend wants to spend £10,000 on ‘a little something for the weekend’. An occasional car which had to be fun, reliable and preferably open-top.
After several hours of automotive porn, I narrowed it down to either 2011 Mazda MX-5, or a 2008 BMW Z4. Later versions of both come with a folding hard-top but these were top spec softies.
In the end, I opted for the Mazda – perhaps the most iconic two-seater ever made. But the exercise also made me think about whether I might ever choose the Proceed if I was doing the same research in five years time, searching for a cheap coupe.
If I had to rule out the Audi TT (too expensive) and the VW Scirocco then the answer might be yes. Why? Because like all Kias, the Proceed comes with a seven year warranty and that puts it streets ahead of the rest…
Technology is a wonderful thing but sometimes I think we go too far. I’ve never really believed in the merits of ‘bendy’ headlights that turn with the car, or lane departure warning systems that just distract the driver by vibrating the steering wheel.
There seems to be a lack of understanding between what manufacturers think we need – often in the cause of safety – and what we actually do need. Take the Kia’s ignition system welcome tune.
That’s right, every time you slot the key in the steering column, the car plays a little ditty, something that over the course of several years will become as annoying as the beep of a checkout scanner in a supermarket.
I don’t know how checkout people survive that beep day after day after day… But I do know that I’d probably last two weeks owning a Pro_cee’d before attacking the speaker system with a chisel and hammer. It will drive you nuts and I imagine there;s something in the glovebox that tells you how to switch it off but it does beg the question…
WHY do we need it Kia!!!
I’m wondering why it took the Koreans quite so long to build their first hot hatchback. OK, there was once the well-received Hyundai Coupe but the Proceed is really the only car to rival anything with a GTI badge on the boot.
As I’ve already explained, the Proceed GT (I’m fed up with writing Pro_cee’d) isn’t exactly barnstorming fast with a 0-60mph time of 7.4 seconds. The gearbox is hardly slick and the 1.6 petrol engine has to be worked to achieve maximum ‘fun’ potential.
Be that as it is, the three-door with the eye-catching profile still provides enough performance to put a smile on my face. Well, for the first 50 miles anyway.
Then my happiness turns to a grimace as I struggle to get comfortable in the rock hard sports seats. It’s quite bizarre that Kia build a lukewarm hatchback then sticks a pair of F1 seats in the front!
Yep, if you like comfort or suffer from haemorrhoids get the standard Proceed and give the GT’s chairs a miss…
As much as I like the sportier looks of the GT, I can’t say the Kia coupe feels that entertaining on the road. The daytime light clusters up front and the stylish design suggest it will be more fun than it is.
Much of this is to do with the steering. Far from feeling sharp and precise (a la Golf GTI and Focus), the GT offers little feedback to the driver, even though this model gets stiffer springs and dampers.
That’s not to say the handling isn’t good – it’s just that rival hot hatchbacks offer a more engaged driver experience.
Back on the road to London today. I’m clocking up good miles in the Kia. However, the fuel tank only holds 51 litres and with consumption around 34mpg, I know I’ll be making more petrol stops than usual this week…