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Kia Pro_Cee'd: A hot hatch with scintillating performance

By Roger St. Pierre

Thanks to some astute marketing and a very strong range of vehicles, the good folk at Kia have written one of the biggest success stories in today’s motor industry.

Priced at just a fiver shy of £20,000, the latest incarnation of the company’s hot selling Cee’d line continues the from cheap as chips to quality image saga.

To give this exciting new car its full title – and here I’ll pause to take a deep breath – the Kia pro_cee’d 1.6T-GDi GTi is a hot hatch that clearly has the Golf GTi and the like in its sights. As such, it represents the Korean maker’s first overtly sporting model and has just been followed by a petrol-engined GT.

The oil burner harnesses a high revving 1.6 litre power plant whose formidable levels of torque ensure scintillating performance.

To ensure that all that raw power sticks firmly to the road, where it belongs, increased damper rebound and compression rates, stiffer springs and bushes, massive brakes and a larger rear anti-roll bar have been added to very smart 16-inch alloys shod with high-performance Michelin Pilot Sport 3 tyres.

Extensively equipped, in the manner we have come to expect from Kia, there are two trim levels generally available – GT and GT Tech – but to mark the company’s entry into the highly competitive world of performance hatchbacks, there is also a limited-production GT 1st special, whose production run will be limited to 500, with just 50 earmarked for the British market.

So just how hot is hot? Well, a potential top speed of 143 mph is claimed, along with a 7.4-seconds 0-60 mph time but what’s more important is how this sprightly little car clings on to speed round the corners – it’s fun but at the same time safe, with lots of built in margin for driver error, and, cross country on a point to point basis, few cars can make quicker progress, especially if you make full use of the slick six-speed gearbox. This is one that’s really at home on fast B roads.

Yes, it’s quick but it is practicable too, with ample space for five in the well-appointed cabin and a decent sized boot, while it proved easy to achieve 40 mpg, and a tad more if I went easy with the right foot.

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