KIA PRO_CEE’D GT: warp factor forward

Kia GT 9THERE’S nothing quite like an assault on the nostrils from a hot engine – unless it’s accompanied by a bit of even hotter clutch action.

That’s one of the perils of trying to get out of a field that is over-populated with cars and which has just one exit – which has been abandoned by the car park stewards.

Black mark to the Goodwood Festival of Speed there then for the ensuing free-for-all, where human temperatures were also going off the gauge…..

Thankfully this week’s car under scrutiny, Kia’s smart pro-cee’d GT, proved adept at skipping over the grass and up the slope to make it onto the tarmac, and begin its journey home.

Kia GT 8This is no ordinary Kia so if you get the chance to experience what they’ve achieved by slotting a 201bhp 1.6 litre turbo engine into one of the sharpest three door hatchback bodies around, grab it. With both hands.

The pro_cee’d GT hints at a car that might just offer a bit of scintillating performance. Actually it doesn’t just hint – it goes all shouty and in your face without even moving.

It’s the most eagerly anticipated new model in Kia’s history, their first real high performance offering.

It doesn’t set out to be the most powerful car in its class, but Kia like to think it can offer a bit of everyday usability and civility. We’d agree with that.

Kia GT 5But its day job is putting the hot back into the hot hatchback tag. And it does it rather well – high performance for a modest £20,000.

The already sporty lines of the pro_cee’d have been embellished with performance-car additions like the ‘ice cube’ daytime running lights which help give the GT a unique look all of its own.

The high-quality interior has great body hugging Recaro sports seats (a first for Kia) and that trademark Kia steering wheel with more buttons than a big girl’s blouse.

Powered by a turbocharged version of the ‘Gamma’ 1.6-litre direct-injection petrol engine, the pro_cee’d GT can warp factor its way to 60mph in 7.4 seconds and has a top speed of a more than adequate 143mph.

Kia GT 4Kia GT 3The GT button on the steering wheel changes the configuration of the main dial ahead of you from the normal speedometer to show torque and turbo usage with your speed digitally highlighted in the centre – it kind of hammers home the potency of the package. And you’ll love the sporty sound the exhaust spits out when you work it hard.

Its re-tuned suspension ensures the pro_cee’d GT is more than capable of handling its impressive power and torque outputs and the package is set off by a set of stylish 18-inch alloy wheels. The brownie point here is that it’s still a comfortable and well behaved car to drive in everyday use.

The steering has been tuned for a more direct and sporting feel and the brakes are the largest of any fitted to the cee’d range. The calipers are big and red and provide decent, efficient stopping power though there are times when you need to press the pedal a bit harder to elicit the full efficiency from them.

Kia GT 6And the interesting point is that now Kia are firmly established as a creditable manufacturer, more performance models like this could be on the way. Interesting times ahead…..

FASTFACTS: Kia pro_cee’d 1.6 T-GDI GT TECH; £22,495 OTR; 1591cc 4 cylinder 16v turbocharged, 201bhp, 265Nm torque; six speed manual gearbox; fuel – urban 29.1, extra urban 46.3, combined 38.2; top speed 143mph, 0-60mph 7.4 secs; CO2 171g/km; will it fit the garage? 4310/1780/1430 (l/w/h); seven year Kia warranty.

© wheelwrite 2014