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Driven: Kia Pro_cee’d GT kicks off from $29,990

Hot stuff: The Kia Pro_cee’d is the car-maker’s first European designed and engineered model sold in Australia.

Kia’s European-made Pro_cee’d GT turbo undercuts size rivals with sub-$30K pricing


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19 Mar 2014

KIA this week has announced a sharper-than-expected starting price of $29,990 plus on-road costs for its first ever hot hatch – the European-made Pro_cee’d GT turbo.

Based on the second-generation C-segment Cee’d five-door built in Slovakia, the three-door GT version is Kia’s first European designed and engineered small car to be sold in Australia.

The price means the sleek 150kW hatch is priced closer to B-segment hot hatches such as the Volkswagen Polo GTI (from $27,790) and Renault Clio RS 200 EDC (from $28,790), despite being based on a larger C-segment platform.

Despite only coming with three-doors, it sits on a wheelbase that is 30mm larger than a $41,490 five-door Volkswagen Golf GTI, and is only 39mm shorter, 19mm narrower and 61mm lower than the German five-door.

Under the bonnet is the familiar Gamma 1591cc 1.6-litre T-GDI twin-scroll turbo-charged direct-injection four-cylinder petrol engine found in the related performance variants of the $27,990 Kia Cerato Koup and Hyundai Veloster SR.

Driving the front wheels via a specifically calibrated six-speed manual-only gearbox (there is no auto, which is bound to hurt sales) and armed with dual continuous variable-valve timing, it delivers 150kW of power at 6000rpm and 265Nm of torque between 1750-4500rpm.

These outputs are about on a par with the identically-priced Peugeot 208 GTi, though the smaller and 290kg lighter French hot hatch crushes the 1448kg Kia’s 0-100km/h sprint-time of 7.7 seconds by 1.1s.

To give added context, the 140kg-lighter, 162kW/350Nm Golf GTI is 1.2s faster.

Kia acknowledges that the GT’s performance numbers are shy of most Euro hot hatch rivals regardless of size, but instead emphasises the car’s “everyday usability and civility” while pointing out that over 80 per cent of that 265Nm is available below 1500rpm.

It can accelerate from 80km/h to 120km/h in fifth gear in 7.3s – a result that’s better than some competitors. Top speed is 230km/h.

“This is more of a ‘warm hatch’,” Kia Motors Australia PR manager Kevin Hepworth told GoAuto at the launch in Hobart this week.

On the fuel consumption front it manages an average of 7.4 litres per 100km and 171 grams per kilometre of carbon dioxide emissions – again well short of the Golf GTI’s 6.2L/100km and 144g/km effort. However, the Kia can run on 91 RON standard unleaded petrol.

Upping the sense of occasion is a racier-sounding exhaust.

And unlike the loosely related YD Cerato, which uses a cheaper space-saving torsion beam rear suspension system, the Pro_cee’d employs a sophisticated multi-link set-up similar to the Focus and Golf’s.

Already in a sportier state of tune compared to the regular Pro_cee’d hatch, not sold in Australia, thanks to some quality time (some 480 laps and 8000km) on the Nurburgring Nordschleife track in Germany, the GT lands with a faster electric rack-and-pinion steering rack ratio, increased damper rebound and compression rates, stiffer springs and bushes and a larger rear anti-roll bar.

As policy, Kia Motors Australia saw fit undertake some further revisions to make the GT more in sync with local drivers’ tastes.

“Hundreds of hours and thousands of kilometres resulted in refinement of the damper/springs calibrations and relationships as well a specific steering mapping for a result (Kia) believes is sportier yet more compliant,” the company claims.

Kia says the three-door’s body-shell has been reinforced in key areas, with 57 per cent of it employing high-tensile steel. There is also ultra-high-tensile steel in the B-pillars, a rigid subframe, beefed-up front apron and dashboard areas, stronger A-pillars, new transverse cross-members that link the front and rear suspension mounts, and a now bonded rather than sealed windscreen process compared to the previous (European-market only) Pro_cee’d.

All help cut noise intrusion.

Bigger four-wheel disc brakes – measuring 300mm x 28mm up front and 262mm x 10mm items out back – improve stopping power, with the GT capable of resting from 105km/h in less than 37 metres.

Tyres are 225/40ZR18 92Y Michelin Pilot Sport 3 items (that have been optimised with the ABS, ESC and suspension/steering revisions for maximum performance efficiency) on specially designed graphite grey 18-inch alloy wheels partly hiding red brake callipers.

Speaking of styling touches, the GT is differentiated from regular Pro_cee’ds through unique front and rear bumper treatments as part of a wider body kit with spoilers, a larger air-intake aperture wearing an ‘80s GTI-aping red trim strip, fat side sill mouldings, LED daytime running lights, chrome side window surrounds, electrically foldable exterior mirrors with puddle lamps and LED indicators, glossy rear-diffuser inserts, two exhaust pipes and ‘signature’ tail-lights.

Kia is proud of the fact that the fastest Pro_cee’d is its first car with Recaro front seats – part leather and suede with powered lumbar.

Other hot-hatch-specific items include the grippy steering wheel, myriad red-stitched cabin trim, alloy pedals and door scuff panels, glossy black inserts and ‘GT Performance Mode’ instrument display screen featuring a digital speedo, gauges for the turbo, torque output and engine coolant temperature, and trip computer data.

Both variants come with six airbags, a reversing camera, cruise control, dual-zone climate control air-con, radio/CD/MP3/USB six-speaker audio, Bluetooth music streaming and hands-free telephony, power windows and remote central locking.

The $33,490 GT Tech adds a sunroof, ‘active’ HID headlights with washers, push-button start, a luggage net, a darker window tint and something called “door handle pocket lamps”.

The boot is capable of carrying 380 litres of luggage, there is an under-floor storage compartment, while the spare wheel is of the temporary variety.

Servicing takes place yearly or every 15,000km, with the GT falling under Kia’s Connect capped-price regime.

Premium paint is the only option for now, at $595.

Satellite navigation is expected to become available sometime in the latter half of this year. As Australia is the first non-European market to receive the Pro_cee’d GT, the necessary mapping has not yet been completed.

2014 Kia Pro_cee'd pricing*
GT Tech$33,490
*Excludes on-road costs.

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