Pro_Cee’D GT, Kia’s First Ever Hot Hatch Tested

Since Kia’s new Cee’d and Pro_Cee’d three- and five-door hatchbacks are winning praise for their competence in the class, despite having only one prior version for the manufacturer to gain experience from, whereas all of the main rivals literally have decades-worth of history in Europe, it was only natural that they eventually used it as a base for a hot hatch. Being designed, engineered and built in Europe, the only thing that makes it South Korean is its badge. This is a good thing because the Old Continent is home to the best sports compacts, so the Pro_Cee’d GT, the first to be launched, has some high expectations to live up to, but not because Kia has done anything similar in the past, it’s just that the class standards have been set so high. I therefore watched the first video review of the car, brought to you courtesy of AutoExpress, with great interest, and you can too, by scrolling down until after the virtual jump. Aiming to be more of an entry level into the performance hatch market, it has less power than any of its apparent direct rivals, battling it out with the likes of various warm hatches, like Renault’s Megane GT or Opel/Vauxhall’s Astra Turbo (not OPC/VXR). Now, while I can’t give you a definitive answer on which you should put your money on, the Kia should be a bit more special than the two aforementioned rivals, which are not sold deliberately as very sporty cars, whereas Kia is selling its offering as such, despite the fact that it isn’t. If it gets the drive part right, then it has a shot, especially over the Astra GTC, which even in 180PS 1.6-liter turbo guise is not that entertaining to drive, has an older looking interior, while the Megane is just old and outdated, and in dire need of a more interesting replacement model. The video review confirms that the Pro_Cee’d GT is as competent a car as you’d expect, with the same qualities as any other Cee’d, but with a bit stiffer suspension, a few visual trinkets to spruce up the appearance and a decent turbo engine which is not the best sounding in the world, but “pulls well.” It doesn’t rewrite the rule book, nor does it warrant a reshuffle of the order in which we mention the more familiar names in the sector. However, rest assured that if you buy one of these now, before they become more common, you will get the looks of bystanders and drivers of other hot hatches alike.By Andrei Nedelea