Delivering Kia Proeed performance is a selection of five engines following the range’s October 2015 revisions: four petrols and one diesel, albeit available with two transmission choices.
Petrol engines in the Kia Proceed mirror the range on offer in the five-door Ceed hatchback line-up. Leisurely performance is at your disposal with the entry-level 98bhp 1.4-litre producing just 134Nm of torque at 4,200rpm. Expect to be making frequent gear changes with the standard six-speed manual, particularly to conduct overtaking moves safely. A top speed of 113mph and a 0-62mph time of 12.3 seconds tell their own story. Although smooth, the 133bhp 1.6-litre GDi isn’t our pick of the petrol range, either. A torque increase to 164Nm at 4,850rpm helps, but again you need to work the gearbox hard to make the most of the 118mph top speed and 9.8 second 0-62mph time. New to the range in 2015 were two of three-cylinder 1-litre ecoTurbo engines, producing 98bhp or 118bhp depending on the trim level. Performance is much more accessible thanks to both developing 171Nm of torque from just 1,500rpm.
Each comes with the six-speed manual transmission, allowing the lower-powered version to reach 114mph and dash to 62mph from a standstill in 12.4 seconds. The more powerful version feels livelier than its 118mph and 10.7 second time suggest.
If lowering your running costs is a priority then there’s only one diesel to choose from in the Kia Proceed line-up: the 1.6-litre CRDi. It produced 126bhp from launch but this increased to 134bhp following the 2015 makeover. Torque increased too, reaching 280Nm at 1,500rpm for the six-speed manual, and 300Nm at 1,750rpm for the new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Lower specification Proceeds fitted with the improved 1.6-litre CRDi will reach 117mph and complete the 0-62mph sprint in 9.5 seconds; opt for a higher trim and these become 122mph and 9.8 seconds, respectively.
Automatic versions will go even quicker at 124mph, but the acceleration test takes 10.2 seconds.
Neither engine has a particularly sonorous exhaust note or offers serious performance – those looking for a more sporting experience are advised to consider the more powerful Proceed GT
Kia hasn’t pitched the pro_cee’d as a hot hatch rival – it’s very much a ‘warm hatch’ which majors on smart looks and practicality rather than aiming for the ultimate in handling agility.
Nevertheless, it’s certainly not a bad car to drive. It’s reassuringly stable and safe when cornering and is just enough fun to drive to back up its eye-catching styling.
Like other models in the Kia range, the pro_cee’d features three switchable modes for the power steering: Comfort, Normal and Sport. These make the steering progressively weightier but sadly don’t add a great deal in the way of feel – if anything the car feels at its best with the steering in the lightest Comfort setting.on twisty roads, as the heavier Sport mode adds a sense of artificial stodginess.
Arguably the diesel version feels marginally better to drive than the petrol, thanks to its extra punch out of corners and the heavier engine placing a little more weight over the front wheels, which makes the car feel slightly more positive when cornering.
If you’re familiar with the dashboard of the five-door cee’d there’ll be no surprises in the pro_cee’d – it’s very much the same. That’s no bad thing as it’s a nice place to be. The stereo and centre console are angled toward the driver and the body-hugging seats are comfortable and supportive, making the pro_cee’d feel suitably driver-focused.
There’s a good range of adjustment for the driver’s seat (especially in SE versions, which include a powered lumbar support) and it’s possible to position the seat commendably low, which may help taller drivers or those who prefer a lower than average driving position.
It’s also worth noting that the throttle pedal is floor-hinged, which feels more natural and allows more precise control than the more common top-hinged arrangement found on many cars.
The main fascia has a gloss-black finish and there’s black headlining, as is the current fashion. There’s leather trim for the steering wheel and handbrake combined with black cloth upholstery for the seats. While it’s all been built down to a price, the pro_cee’d’s cabin doesn’t feel like that of a bargain basement car.
Chopped roofline or not, Kia pro_cee’d comfort levels haven’t suffered in comparison with its five-door sibling. Although very tall rear passengers may need to tilt their heads a little, you’ll fit two (or, at a push, three) average-sized adults in the back with no real problems.
The front seats have a heavily bolstered, deep-sided shape which offers plenty of support and our test car felt just as comfortable over both long and short trips.
Since the pro_cee’d isn’t aiming to be a performance hero, its suspension setup is fairly pliant and soaks up large bumps extremely well. The ride does occasionally get a little jittery over smaller bumps and potholes, but overall is very well controlled.
The main complaint is engine noise. Both the petrol and diesel powerplants are fairly vocal and sound quite harsh, especially when worked hard as they frequently have to be to make progress or complete overtaking manoeuvres safely.