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Shall We Pro Cee'd?

By raccars Published

Try not to be put off by the silly name, because the new Kia pro_cee'd is one of the most interesting new cars to hit the market in quite a while. Not for the car itself, more because it marks another huge step closer to the mainstream by the hugely ambitious Korean brand.

Kia has taken the European market by storm over the last few years, concentrating on sensible, value for money but slightly dull entrants, into the most important auto classes. The pro_cee'd is its next attack on both grammar and its bigger name rivals and could nudge buyers to rethink their ideas of badge snobbery...

First impressions are encouraging. The pro_cee'd is a smartly restyled, lowered version of the standard cee'd. It's not quite as speedy as that sleek exterior suggests, but the handling is composed and nicely balanced. Build quality and refinement are impressive and the after-sales package is excellent.

The engine choice has been carefully edited, with the choice between a 133bhp 1.6 litre Gdi petrol and a 126bhp 1.6 litre CRDi diesel turbo. However, any criticism of the power output is likely to be negated by the release of the racy procee'd GT later in the year, with 200bhp. In the meantime, 9.5 seconds to 60mph for the petrol variant and 10.5 seconds for the diesel, keep the Kia procee'd firmly on the outskirts of the hot hatch sector.

Standard features include a six-speed manual gearbox and Intelligent Stop & Go technology. Trim levels open with S, with 16" alloy wheels, automatic 'welcome' and 'follow me home' headlights, electric windows, electric folding and heated wing mirrors with LED side repeaters, cruise control, reverse parking sensors and a trip computer.

The slightly sportier SE comes with 17" alloys, illuminated exterior door handles, stainless steel sill protectors and pedals, powered lumbar support to the front seats, automatic dual-zone climate control and automatic rain-sensor wipers, with integrated de-icer. Furthermore, there's a comprehensive 7" touchscreen infotainment unit and keyless entry with remote start/stop ignition. This trim level can also be specified with a six-speed dual clutch transmission but bear in mind that fuel economy suffers compared to the S.

That's a generous amount of equipment for a car that costs less than similar rivals, such as the Vauxhall Astra. This is no surprise as Kia has always campaigned on price – they are cheap to buy and run and come with a generous seven year/100,000 mile warranty, that supports residual values nicely. Fortunately, the cars don't look or feel cheap, in fact the pro_cee'd is looking like a great buy.

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