Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9
  • Two petrol, one diesel
  • Higher-powered options from within the Ceed range
  • Choice of manual or auto gearboxes

The Kia ProCeed’s engine range is simple to wrap your head around – there are only three options. All come from the higher end of the Ceed range, which means there’s no entry-level 1.0-litre petrol. Instead, the range kicks off with a 1.4-litre petrol, sitting below a 1.6-litre diesel and a 1.6-litre petrol exclusive to the range-topping GT.

Petrol engines

The 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine offers up 140hp, and is paired with either a six-speed manual or Kia’s seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. It’s powerful enough to shift the relatively lightweight ProCeed with some urgency if required, but the character of the engine doesn’t gel well with the car’s sporty nature. It’s rather lethargic, slow to pick up revs and flat in its response.

This makes it absolutely fine for pootling round town, of course, and unobtrusive and refined on the motorway, but more enthusiastic drivers will be better served by the GT model and its 1.6-litre, 201hp turbocharged petrol.

This is paired exclusively with the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which is a shame as buyers of the Ceed GT hatchback can have the same engine mated with a six-speed manual. As range-topping engines go, it’s far from the best, with slightly laggy throttle response and a somewhat droning engine note. We’re not big fans of Kia’s dual-clutch gearbox either, which is smooth enough on the go but has a large amount of clutch slip when setting off.

Diesel engine

Kia Proceed 2019 front view

There’s a lower-powered 1.6-litre diesel elsewhere in the Ceed range, but the ProCeed only gets the higher-powered, 136hp unit. This is the pick of the range if you want good fuel economy, a decent range, and acceptable performance. We drove this model in GT-Line spec, which does raise expectations, given its big wheels and twin exhausts.

But it's no rocketship. Nor should it be. As is the usual case with a mid-range diesel, it feels quicker on the road than its performance figures suggest. The official 0-62mph time is 9.3 seconds, with a maximum quoted speed of 127mph, which are quite pedestrian these days. But on the road, and once you're up to speed, it pulls strongly from around 2,500rpm, and it always feels ready to accelerate briskly on the motorway in sixth, even on uphill slogs.

Refinement is average - so, the engine is gruff and sounds a little unpleasant. But it's well insulated, never loud, and far from intrusive. In the week we ran the ProCeed in this form, we averaged 48.0mpg - which covered motorway, A- and B-road driving. In daily driving, expect it to better 50mpg.

Mild-hybrid en route

By 2021 there will be a mild-hybrid version. Kia reckons CO2 emissions will drop by 5-10%. How? Don't tell your old driving instructor, but the mild-hybrid system can coast with the engine off in the right circumstances. With this system, Kia will be the first carmaker to use a 48v mild-hybrid system with an electronic clutch and a manual gearbox. It calls the system iMT...

iMT gearbox 

Also due in 2021 is Kia's iMT(intelligent Manual Transmission). Thanks to an electronic clutch, cars can cruise in neutral without the driver needing to do a thing. It's intuitive and you'll only notice it because the engine will go silent. 

Essentially, when you lift off the accelerator the ProCeed enters 'sailing mode', complete with a little boat emblem near the speedo. Then you just press the clutch or accelerator to bring it back to life.

It's super easy, but you do need to be in the optimum gear for it to work. This is helpfully displayed in the driver's display. There's a bit of a lag with the engine cuts back in, which is no big deal. But, it's worth remembering if you're squaring up for an overtake.

Ride and handling

  • Proceed is firmer than standard car
  • Larger wheels spoil ride
  • Comfortable at a cruise

2019 Kia ProCeed front cornering

The ProCeed is near-enough identical to the regular Ceed under the skin, but Kia’s firmed up the suspension and sharpened the steering to give a more sporting drive. It’s definitely noticeable, and the ProCeed feels more alert than the standard car – albeit at the expense of comfort.

Large alloy wheels on most models, especially the range-topping GT, give the ProCeed a harsh edge over bumps that’s most noticeable at low speeds. But unless you live somewhere with particularly rutted or potholed roads, then it's acceptable given this car's sporting looks and image.

Handling is good, though, and when you press on the ProCeed is both secure and entertaining. The steering is accurate and well-weighted (not too heavy in town, not too light at speed), and gives the driver plenty of confidence as there is so much grip in corners. Does it feel as sporty as it looks?

Actually, yes. Diesel performance and refinement aside, in many ways, it feels like a mini-Kia Stinger to drive – and that's a compliment.