The Kia Proceed GT’s smart-looking but is it actually practical? Reviews editor Rory White takes it on a family holiday to find out…
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Kia Proceed GT – second LT update
Price: £28,140 Price as tested: £28,690 Options: Fusion White Premium Paint (£550) Mileage: 3,823 MPG: 32.3mpg
We’re still finding out if our Kia Proceed GT can do style as well as substance. The style bit it has licked: I think it looks fantastic in Fusion White and turns more heads than you might expect given the badge on its bonnet isn’t premium. Or German. But the substance part was yet to be properly tested – nothing a family holiday to Devon for the Easter weekend wouldn’t solve.
Indeed, the Proceed’s interior space and practicality were put to the ultimate test. Two adults, a baby and everything required for a self-catered break were stuffed into every nook and cranny. OK, so there wasn’t exactly room to spare, but given this is a stylish shooting brake, I was pleasantly surprised at just how good the Proceed’s boot is. And it’s made even more practical by the generous amount of under-floor storage.
Inserting a Maxi Cosi Isofix base and child seat on the back seats was no issue, too, as finding the slots for the Isofix mounts is simple work. The only slight annoyance was that having it behind the driver’s seat did mean I couldn’t have my chair as far back as I’d have liked.
The Proceed GT is also quite stiff over lumps and bumps, which isn’t exactly surprising given its sporting intent, but does wake up babies who are trying to sleep. A Skoda Octavia vRS or VW Golf R Estate are as entertaining to drive while remaining more comfortable at the same time.
Still, as I say, it is genuinely fun on country roads; it has a strong engine, its steering is light but quick and precise and it turns into corners and controls its body through them well. If there’s a weak link it’s Kia’s automatic gearbox, which can feel sluggish to kick down and respond to manual gear changes.
Nevertheless, as family transport goes, it’s ticking the important boxes and a few more besides.
Choosing our latest long-termer got us thinking – if you’re looking for a stylish car that’s also practical is an SUV your only option? Well, our latest long-termer – the Kia Proceed GT – show that it isn’t. It’s a shooting brake – a car that blends the sloping roofline of a coupe with an estate-car style boot. Our car’s the GT model, so it comes with a body kit that includes side skirts, unique front and rear bumpers, GT badges and red highlights that are easy to spot against its Fusion White paint.
The paint’s the only option – pushing the Proceed’s price up to just shy of £29,000. Equipment levels are also pretty good – even basic Proceed models come with an eight-inch infotainment screen, auto-dipping headlights, rain-sensing wipers, front seats that are heated along with a heated steering wheel and automatic emergency braking. In this GT trim you also get LED headlights, a faux leather interior and an additional 4.2-inch display between the analogue instruments behind the steering wheel. Choosing the GT model means you also only get one engine choice, but it’s the-pick-of-the-range 1.6-litre turbo petrol with 201hp and a standard seven-speed automatic gearbox.
Impressions? Well, our first jaunt with the Proceed was a marathon 1,000-mile trip north and back with a big load. The Proceed gobbled up a naked bicycle frame without us even needing to put the back seats down and had room for another complete bike once we did fold away the seats – not bad for a car that grabs the attention of BMW and Mercedes drivers, at will. We can also attest to it being a brilliant distance car, the Proceed’s performance might not leave it competing with hardcore hot hatches such as the Hyundai i30N or the Honda Civic Type R – but it still has plenty of go for overtaking. In fact, the Proceed is a car that’s easy to live with every day, so its engine doesn’t have the laggy low down responses of the
Honda, while its passive suspension (no adjustable dampers here) is more comfortable than you’ll find in the Hyundai. You do get a Sport button to press if you’re in the mood and its increased throttle response makes the Proceed feel nippier, but it also pumps a synthetic engine noise into the cabin that sounds very fake, particularly when you’re not driving around like a lunatic. Another black mark is the gearbox which is fine in normal use but slow to respond if you attempt F1 style shifts using the steering-wheel-mounted paddles. So the Proceed is a mixed bag then – almost as stylish as coupe, nearly as practical as an estate car, close to hot hatch quick, yet just about as comfortable as normal family. Question is, is the Kia a jack of all trades and a master of none? Stay tuned for the next report to find out.