£19,240 - £23,860 Price range
38 - 74 MPG
Kia Pro Cee’d remains one of the worst names in all of motoring, but the car itself is a step above its predecessor in terms of looks and quality, and one of the more striking shapes in its class. Interior design is a little behind the best rivals but it still feels reassuringly solid.
It’s more of a cruiser than a back-road hero, so it’ll suit some drivers better than others. The more you drive it the more you’d want Kia to have made its sporty coupe a little more fun, particularly in hot GT specification. Where the Kia scores pretty well is practicality and a long warranty.
The Pro Cee’d is also pretty well equipped with all models coming with air-conditioning, a Bluetooth phone connection and a DAB radio as standard. The mid-range 2 model is all you need in terms of standard kit but if you really want you Pro Ceed to look the part you need to go for the GT-Line trim which adds a different bodykit and large alloy wheels that turn up the desirability a bit – if you buy your Pro Cee’d before the 30th of June you can upgrade from a 2 model to a GT-Line free of charge.
There’s not much to differentiate the Pro Cee’d from the regular Cee’d in here, though back seat passengers will find entry a little more difficult and suffer a more claustrophobic environment while they’re ensconced. Children won’t like it, that’s for sure.
It’s a little better up front, with black and silver trim to break up the otherwise monotone grey dashboard. It’s all well-built too, with decent quality materials (aside from a steering wheel that one reviewer said is a little hard to the touch) and an attractive design. Pro Cee’d GT models are even better – with a pair of supportive Recaro seats, plenty of red stitching and a set of aluminium-faced pedals.
Not uncommon for Kia models, the Pro Cee’d’s talents fall down a little when out on the road. Ride quality is generally regarded as good, regardless of which of the Comfort, Normal and Sport modes you choose between.
A 2016 facelift recalibrated the suspension for even more comfort and testers are generally pleased with the results – the Pro Cee’d has become quite the comfortable cruiser. When we drove it, we found that Kia’s suspension modifications have resulted in a smooth ride that easily absorbs big bumps such as potholes. Rougher road surfaces did, however, send some vibrations up through the seat.
The recalibrated steering rack is an excellent addition. It might not get heavier through corners as linearly as that in the Ford Focus but, for most drivers, comfort and normal modes make the steering feel light and accurate, the artificially heavy ‘sport’ mode is best avoided. Crucially, the on-centre feel has been improved meaning motorway journeys don’t require constant corrections to the wheel in a straight line.
Three units are available in the Pro Cee’d: A 1.6-litre petrol, a 1.6-litre turbocharged diesel, and the range-topping turbocharged 1.6 GDI petrol in the GT.
All have their merits, but all their disadvantages too. The basic petrol is smooth and relatively quiet at lower speeds, with respectable fuel economy – up to 50 mpg. But performance is only average and it feels strained the harder you push it.
The diesel is better here, with plenty of low-down torque and a wide band over which to exploit it, but isn’t particularly sporty. The GT’s 1.6-litre turbo delivers decent performance, but gets thrashy at high revs and isn’t quite as quick as some rivals.
All engines are reasonably refined though and each car is available with a slick six-speed manual gearbox. There’s a dual-clutch available on a few engines too, but it reduces performance and harms economy.
Economy is its main priority - up to 74.3mpg, with the EcoDynamics - but unfortunately excitement takes a back seat. While refined, it can't really live up to the verve the looks suggest it has.
Unsurprisingly, it retains the same characteristics in this application. Testers say it's smooth and relatively hushed, but "feels lazy" and "runs out of puff when pushed". It's more designed for economy, where a combined 52mpg is possible. The 0-60mph sprint just sneaks in at under 10 seconds.
Reviewers do like the slick six-speed manual gearbox, and the dual-clutch auto isn't bad either - but it does harm both performance and economy, so the manual is the better choice.
While one tester says it'd be "sufficiently quick and enjoyable for most everyday situations", others say it's mostly out of breath by 4,000rpm or so at the end of the torque peak, with no incentive to rev it out like a traditional hot hatch. It doesn't sound that sporty either - more of a "harsh mechanical thrash".
It does everything respectably, but the engine is one of the Pro_cee'd GT's weak links.
Although the Pro Cee’d hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP separately from the standard model, the ordinary Cee’d got the full five-star rating for overall safety so we would expect the Pro Cee’d to be the same.
In fact, the Cee’d delivered some pretty superb test results when it was assessed, getting 89% for adult safety, 88% for child safety and even 61% for pedestrian safety.
As standard, the Kia comes with front, side and curtain airbags that add up to six in total. You also get all the usual features you would expect in this sort of car such as: EBD, ESC and ESS (Emergency Stop Signalling) which flashes the brake lights in a repeated pattern in an emergency braking situation.
Compared to cars of its size, the Pro Cee’d does pretty well here – particularly the GT, which nips in at under £20,000 for a headline figure well below that of regular hot hatchbacks, and barely more than those from the class size below, like the Renaultsport Clio and Peugeot 208 GTI.
The diesel’s 74 mpg potential and low tax are also positive attributes, while Kia’s 7-year warranty is standard here – a big draw for any customer. Less impressive is the GT’s sub-40 mpg combined figure, which will likely drop even further in real-world use – it lags behind that of similar hot hatchbacks.
The Kia Pro Cee’d is a decent car, but it could have been better. While relatively refined, comfortable and well-equipped, it misses out on that dose of fun that many buyers picking a coupe-like hatch will be seeking – particularly in the sporting GT model. GT is probably the right term – think of it more as a long-distance tourer with decent performance, and the slightly numb handling becomes less of an issue.