THE Kia Proceed GT may not be the fastest hot hatch in this very competitive market sector but it is by far the coolest with its shapely body providing the car with massive street appeal writes Bryan Longworth.
In addition the GT also cuts the mustard with its various adornments including the distinctive “ice cube” LED daytime running lights up front and at the rear are LED lamp units which give the car a unique signature at night plus a diffuser and twin sports exhaust outlets.
And inside the GT is special with Recaro front seats which are a first in a Kia and I especially liked the multi function high definition unit that allows the driver to switch between analogue and digital displays including the speedometer.
It is obviously something special because the Korean firm who now have an impressive range of models say that it is the most eagerly awaited new car in the firm’s history and that it is also the first high performance Kia.
The Proceed GT which has the seven year Kia warranty is available with two trims starting at Ł19,995 which was the price of my test car with the 1.6-litre 201bhp turbo charged petrol engine that had a top speed of 143mph, a zero to 62mph time of 7.4 seconds and a combined fuel consumption of 38.2mpg.
As I said earlier the Proceed GT which is built at the Kia plant in Slovakia is not the fastest hot hatch but it is quick and it provides a very satisfying drive with the slick six speed manual gearbox adding to the overall driver enjoyment.
It has lower and firmer suspension than the standard Proceed and has very positive steering plus splendid road holding qualities that all add up to creating a performance car that will help the Korean firm to boost its soaring sales figures in the UK.
Recaro seats are very popular particularly among younger drivers although I prefer conventional seats which I find are more comfortable but I was able to get a good driving position providing an excellent view of the road ahead and the instruments and which was just right for handling the gearshift especially when driving on steep and winding Pennine roads that required plenty of gear changing.
It was while driving on these roads that I found the Proceed GT with its extra power and nimble handling was also ideal for safe overtaking situations which are sometimes a problem and rather risky with less powerful cars especially when getting stuck behind one of the huge tanker lorries from the Derbyshire limestone quarries.
The car is also a good motorway cruiser but I was able to get the maximum driving enjoyment from the GT which has a sporty growl from the twin tailpipes out in the country and potential owners will not be disappointed with this hot Kia and should go for it.
At the rear is a reasonably sized load area and there is also a space saver spare wheel underneath which is another bonus for owners and makes sure they are not stranded with a flat tyre as can happen with unreliable puncture repair kits.
There is a five door model on the way next year which would be my preference but that apart there is no doubt that Kia has done an excellent job in every way with the GT especially the price and this car is yet another example of just how far the company has progressed in producing such good quality and stylish cars.
My Verdict: A commendable hot hatch.
Model: Kia Proceed GT three door hatchback
Engine: 1.6-litre turbo charged petrol.
Output: 201bhp @ 6000rpm.
Transmission: Six speed manual.
Top speed: 143mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 7.4 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 38.2 mpg combined.
C02 emissions: 171g/km.