2019 Kia Proceed FIRST DRIVE review – price, specs and release date

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The Kia Proceed is a svelte shooting brake which sits halfway between the regular Ceed hatchback and the Sportswagon estate – we’ve been for an early drive to see what it’s like

  • Priced from £22,000 est
  • Release date March

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If you remember the old Kia Proceed you might remember that it had a great deal more punctuation and two fewer doors than this new model.

Eyeing a time when SUVs and crossovers are, perhaps, not the only answer to having a fashionable, practical family car, next spring Kia will introduce this sleek 5dr wagon alongside existing 5dr hatch and estate variants of the Ceed. There’ll even be an off-road inspired version of the Ceed too, tall car fans.

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In the family car arena, only Mercedes-Benz, with the CLA Shooting Brake, does something similar – and the Mercedes is a premium competitor.

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Kia, a more mainstream brand than Mercedes, still thinks it can learn from the CLA, though. Buyers typically spend more on a CLA Shooting Brake than they do on other CLA/A-Class models, so Kia reckons the new Proceed is worth introducing in two higher specifications: GT Line, with engines ranging from 99bhp to 201bhp, including two diesels, or a full-fat GT, with the most powerful engine.

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This disguised car gets the full 201bhp, but like-for-like all Proceeds will cost more than a Ceed estate. You might have to take our word for it that the Proceed looks quite slick, given the disguise this car wears: it’s a relatively late prototype, so will be subject to final tweaking before going on sale next spring.

2019 Kia Proceed on the road

The 201bhp GT variant gets a 1.6-litre petrol engine, driving the front wheels through either a six-speed manual or, as our test car, a seven-speed twin clutch gearbox.

This is one of the areas where Kia still has the most development work to do on the Proceed. The power delivery is strong – there’s a broad spread of torque, and it occurs from low revs, 195lb ft from only 1500rpm, but the way it arrives could be smoother. That’s particularly true if you push the ‘sport’ button, which really over-sharpens the accelerator pedal’s response.

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The engine sound is partly electronically enhanced but also parps through a quite rorty exhaust, though it’s likely that’ll be toned down a touch before the car’s arrival. Gearshifts are quick and smooth.

There’s no final word yet on what the certified economy and emission will be, but we estimate 40mpg on the official drive cycle, while you’ll get less than that – maybe mid-30s – in the real world.

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Kia is quite proud of how much effort it puts into its cars’ ride and handling, and the Proceed drives really well.

The ride is composed; firm but not uncomfortable, while the handling is both secure and quite entertaining at the same time with little body lean. Few cars in this class – perhaps the Ford Focus and VW Golf are among them – are more pleasing to drive. Kia offers as an option Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, which are premium, semi-sporting rubber. That’s what we’ve driven the car with so far, but it’s hard to imagine too many buyers ticking the box.

2019 Kia Proceed interior

Inside our test Proceed wasn’t quite finished, with a few unadorned pressings still on show. But the basics were there and in short it will look much like any other Ceed: so of decent enough feel given the price, and with sound ergonomics.

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The sloping roofline towards the rear and the steeply raked rear window don’t inhibit rear accommodation or boot space severely either. At 594 litres, the Proceed’s boot is only 11 litres shy of a Volkswagen Golf estate’s, and on a par with some cars from the class above.

The rear seats are spacious enough for a near six-footer to comfortably sit behind the same size front seat occupant, although Kia’s research suggests that most small estate buyers are more worried about boot versatility than overall rear seat space. That’s why it has fitted a 40/20/40 folding rear bench and, although there isn’t a flat load lip like on the regular Ceed estate (blame the location of the number plate), there are floor rails on which you can spec versatile luggage restraints.

Kia Proceed

We’ll have to wait until closer to the Proceed’s March on-sale date for prices and to say precisely how good it is, given there’s still tweaking to do. But that it’s based on the same architecture as other Ceeds, is built on the same production line and even has the same wheelbase, it’s not difficult to get a pretty good impression. And the impression is that the Proceed is yet another car from Kia that will give the best cars in the class a hard time.

On this showing, the Proceed offers more than just more doors.

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Kia Proceed 1.6 GT specs
  • Price £28,000 (est)
  • Engine 4cyl, 1591cc, petrol turbo
  • Power 201bhp at 6000rpm
  • Torque 195lbft at 1500-4500rpm
  • Gearbox seven-speed automatic
  • 0-62mph 7.5 sec (est)
  • Top speed 140mph (est)
  • Official economy 40mpg (est)
  • CO2, tax band170g/km (est)

(whatcar.com, http://bit.ly/2p5zsAs)

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