Half Price Hot Hatch: Kia Pro ceed GT

Hang on a minute: a Kia hot hatch?

‘Sort of’, is probably the best answer to that, and if the Pro ceed GT is not outright hot then it is certainly sufficiently warm to warrant a few column inches here. That’s especially so when you realise not only that the car’s original £19,995 asking price was decidedly keen, but also that clean used examples can now be found for £10,000 or less. And so another Half Price Hot Hatch is created.

The Pro ceed GT, terrible name and all, was Kia’s – indeed, Korea’s – first attempt at a hot hatch. It arrived in the UK in 2013 to a moderately enthusiastic reception, but as is often the case with Kias it is as a used buy where things really start to look tempting. For that thank a combination of good prices, a solid reliability record, and the possibility that the car still might qualify for the remainder of Kia’s original seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty. Not qualities you might ordinarily consider essential for a hot hatch, perhaps, but if peace of mind is as much of a priority as peppy performance, then read on.

THE DRIVE
Power comes from a turbocharged 1.6-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine. In total there’s 201bhp and 195lb ft of torque, which puts the Pro ceed behind the likes of the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Skoda Octavia vRS, let alone something like a Ford Focus ST. You can see as much in the 7.4 second 0-62mph time, plus there’s no denying the engine isn’t one that likes to be revved to its redline. That said, there’s plenty of low down torque, so it’s an easy car in which to carry momentum without too much effort.

The chassis also helps here. With a multi-link rear suspension setup plus upgraded springs, dampers, anti-roll bars and brakes compared with a standard Pro ceed, the GT certainly sounds like it has the specification of a hot hatch. In a bid to improve steering response Kia also ditched the standard Ceed’s ‘Flex Steer’ variable weighting in favour of one fixed setup. The result of all this is a car that, surprise surprise, handles with significantly more verve than any other Kia, although there’s no denying it still lags behind the best hot hatches for grip and poise when you really start to push.

A track day hero the Pro ceed GT is not, but then nor was it ever meant to be. Rather, if you want a car that is composed enough to tackle a good road with some enthusiasm, while all the while still being perfectly comfortable for daily driving duties then there’s enough here to admire.

CHECK POINTS
Fuel economy, surprisingly, is not as good as some of the Kia’s more powerful rivals manage, at around 30-35mpg in daily driving, while relatively high CO2 emissions also mean the Pro ceed GT costs £230 per year to tax.

On the plus side, standard specification is generous, with the basic GT coming with the usual hot hatch visual makeover of chunky bumpers and sills, plus 18-inch alloy wheels and bespoke LED daytime running lights. On the inside there’s Recaro sports seats with deep bolsters to hold you in place when the GT dives (OK, leans gently) into corners, plus plenty of red stitching to give a sporty feel.

In terms of equipment GT models come with air-conditioning, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth phone connectivity and cruise control. On top of this there’s a ‘GT Tech’ trim with sat-nav via a seven-inch touchscreen, climate control, a reversing camera and keyless entry. When new the latter carried a premium of £2500, but on the used market the difference is significantly smaller, so be sure to know which model you prefer: standard GT or GT Tech.

You’ll also want to check if the car has been maintained according to the conditions set out in Kia’s seven-year warranty, because even the earliest Pro ceed GTs are still within that time frame, with the many of them being low mileage too.

If the somewhat flat engine note bothers you meanwhile look for a facelift model 2016 onwards, which received a sound generator to (artificially) enhance the growl from under the bonnet. Other changes include a revised grille, tweaks to the suspension to improve steering feel and larger front brakes to improve, erm, braking.

Alternatively, if you prefer having the practicality of five doors then look for a ceed GT or ceed GT Tech instead of the three-door Pro ceed. It’s also worth bearing in mind that all GTs are manual only, so if you want a hot hatch that changes gear for itself you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Last but not least, for ultimate peace of mind keep an eye out for a car in Kia’s Approved Used scheme, which come with a manufacturer warranty topped up to the original seven years. Obviously these won’t be the cheapest Pro ceeds around, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still make great deals.

So there you have it, a hot hatch for those who still want to play it relatively safe. At these prices, it’s surely worth a closer look.

FAST FACTS
Kia Pro ceed GT
Built: 2013-present
Power: 201bhp @ 6000rpm/195lb ft @ 1750rpm
Acceleration: 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds
Top speed: 143mph
See examples of the Kia Pro ceed GT for sale on CarGurus

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