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Kia pro_ceed is stylishly sensible. Image by Kia.

Kia pro_ceed is stylishly sensible
Kia adds style to the cee'd family with the three-door pro_cee'd, but this sportier new model still has a sensible streak.

   



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| A Week at the Wheel | Stirling, Scotland | Kia pro_cee'd 1.6 CRDi |

Inside & Out: star star star star star

Kia has been bold enough not to simply create a three-door version of its cee'd five-door small hatch. Instead, as the separate name suggests, the pro_cee'd is more of a complementary model to the five-door and estate giving the buyer a broader choice. Without doubt, the pro_cee'd is the best looking car in the range and should have plenty of its European and Japanese competition worried as the shape has plenty of showroom and kerb appeal. Built in Slovakia, the pro_cee'd is Kia's most serious threat to the established big players in the UK market.

The same approach to simple good lines carries through to the interior of the pro_cee'd, which has a clean-cut look to its dash. The orange back-lighting to the dials and centre console is perhaps the only slightly downmarket element to the cabin's style. There's plenty of space for drivers of all shapes to get comfortable, the front seats offers decent support and, in '3' spec tested here, there's half leather upholstery. The pro_cee'd also offers excellent space for rear seat passengers and a generous boot, so the Kia is one of the more practical three-door small hatches on offer.

Engine & Transmission: star star star star star

The 113bhp 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine is the best of the bunch in the pro_cee'd range. It offers much of the low- and mid-rev pull of the pokier 2.0-litre diesel yet returns superb 58.9mpg combined economy with carbon dioxide emissions of 126g/km to make it one of the cleanest cars in its segment. The engine is also quiet and assured when the driver presses hard on the throttle. Overtaking is easy and the pro_cee'd 1.6 CRDi is happy to cruise on the motorway with a relaxed gait. The only reason the Kia doesn't score a full five stars in this section, however, is the clunky nature of the five-speed gearbox's shift. It's not outright reluctant to change gear, just a little too ponderous and slow-witted for a car that has a sporty edge to it.

Ride & Handling: star star star star star

Any car that handles as nimbly as the Kia pro_cee'd is okay with us. The front-wheel drive chassis has been lowered and firmed up a little compared to the five-door model, so the pro_cee'd has a definite sportiness about it. This shows up in keener cornering grip and a flatter stance as it pushes through bends. It makes the pro_cee'd a lot of fun to drive on a curvy country road. It's also good on the motorway, where the Kia feels composed and grown-up, offering good refinement in the 1.6 diesel form - we've noticed the 2.0-litre turbodiesel can be a little more rowdy. In town, the pro_cee'd doesn't offer quite as polished a performance, as the firm suspension picks up too readily on lumps and bumps.

However, the only real disappointment with the Kia pro_cee'd's driving manner is its steering. While it's quick to react to inputs, there's an unusual vagueness about the initial movement from straight ahead as the driver turns the wheel. At first, it feels as if the steering wheel is not connected to the front wheels and then there's a sudden sensation as the amount of feel and feedback offered increases. It makes changing lane on the motorway a more taxing issue than it should be, as the driver is not being fed the instinctive information required to make small adjustments. It's something you become accustomed to, but drive another car and then get back into the pro_cee'd and you notice it all over again.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: star star star star star

It's hard to fault a car that costs less than most of its rivals, comes with more equipment as standard and has the back-up of a seven-year warranty. All of this comes with the Kia pro_cee'd and the 1.6-litre turbodiesel provides excellent economy and low emissions to make it a safe choice for those worried about road tax price hikes.

As standard, the pro_cee'd in '3' trim comes with climate and cruise controls, half leather seat trim, a CD stereo, 17-inch alloy wheels and six airbags. There's no ESP included in the price (we think there should be), but six airbags are part of the package. The only reason we knock off one star from a full-house rating is that the Kia will not hold its value quite as well as some others in this class, though we suspect the pro_cee'd will fare much better than Kias of old.

Overall: star star star star star

We like the pro_cee'd. It's a good looking small hatch that has just enough of a sporty feel to be rewarding to drive, yet it's also sensible enough to work as cost-effective everyday transport. It also makes a great buying package thanks to the amount of equipment, low running costs, superb economy and a warranty that puts its rivals in the shade. You're unlikely to ever need the warranty though, as build quality appears as good as any in this class. All Kia needs to do is sort the gearshift and odd steering feel and it will have one of the best cars in the class.

Alisdair Suttie - 24 Sep 2008



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2008 Kia Pro_ceed specifications: (1.6 CRDi 3)
Price: 14,395 on-the-road (equivalent in Ireland is EX trim at 21,595).
0-62mph: 11.4 seconds
Top speed: 117mph
Combined economy: 58.9mpg
Kerb weight: 1439kg

2008 Kia pro_cee'd. Image by Kia.2008 Kia pro_cee'd. Image by Kia.2008 Kia pro_cee'd. Image by Kia.2008 Kia pro_cee'd. Image by Kia.2008 Kia pro_cee'd. Image by Kia.

2008 Kia pro_cee'd. Image by Kia.2008 Kia pro_cee'd. Image by Kia.2008 Kia pro_cee'd. Image by Kia.2008 Kia pro_cee'd. Image by Kia.2008 Kia pro_cee'd. Image by Kia.



2008 Kia pro_cee'd. Image by Kia.
 

2008 Kia pro_cee'd. Image by Kia.
 

2008 Kia pro_cee'd. Image by Kia.
 

2008 Kia pro_cee'd. Image by Kia.
 

2008 Kia pro_cee'd. Image by Kia.
 

2008 Kia pro_cee'd. Image by Kia.
 

2008 Kia pro_cee'd. Image by Kia.
 






 

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