Kia’s new pin-up star arrives and it has all the goods

HAMMERING down the straight at 170kmh before jumping on the anchors and making the left hander with poise and precision.

It was here at Baskerville Raceway just outside Hobart that we saw in the metal just how far Kia has come.

The proof is in the pudding, in this case the Proceed GT (it's officially spelt "pro_cee'd", but we're keeping things simple).

The South Korean brand has arrived, and here is the new pin-up star that starts from just below 30 grand.

In the past few years we have seen rapidly improving products with great style and progressive performance, aided by an Australian tuning and handling team which is responsible for ensuring cars meet our conditions.

And after fighting hard, Kia Australia has sourced the much anticipated Proceed GT from Europe.

While not boasting to have joined the hot hatch brigade, the truth of the matter is that Kia has produced an outstanding compact coupe which has the goods to run with some of the best in the business - at a vastly reduced price.

 

Comfort

Athleticism resonates within the cabin, with awesome Recaro seats which are leather trimmed but have suede on the bases for some great grip around the rump.

The pews are super comfortable, with perfectly positioned bolstering at the sides and bases, and electric lumbar adjustment.

Red double stitching on the sports steering wheel, gear shifter, seats and door trims complement the look, with a nice spread of piano black finishes and soft-touch materials.

The main operations are skewed toward the driver who has a trio of instruments in the main cluster.

One brilliant feature is the central changeable speedometer. Hit the GT button on the steering wheel and you can choose between an analogue set-up or a digital read-out flanked by turbo boost and torque bars.

The centre stereo is about the only disappointment, using a similar design to what we have seen in the Ceratopsian. It looks bland compared to the rest of the cabin although sat nav will be an option later this year and should provide a more modern feel.

On the road

Fun and easy to drive quickly, this is the best Kia we've piloted.

It's in the same league as the Volkswagen Golf GTI, not quite with the same polish, but it's not far off.

The 1.6-litre turbo has a punchy turn of speed, which propels the

coupe that possesses an awesomely adept chassis and suspension set-up. With little, if any, understeer and wonderfully direct steering, the Proceed is a remarkably easy car to drive quickly.

Straight line speed is not astounding, achieving 0-100kmh in about 7.7 seconds, but once things are spinning it is deceptively quick and confident.

It's only available with a slick-shifting six-speed manual…but the enthusiasts won't mind that one iota.

Mid corner you can pour on the power and it will pull like a dentist on every occasion.

It feels like a two-stage throttle, where you can apply the power, and depress the accelerator again for even more punch. It will keep firing all the way to the 7000rpm redline.

On the race track it was even more fun, proving its willingness to work and embracing changes in direction with confidence and predictability. A vital component is the Michelin Pilot Sport 3 tyres, which offer great grip and are a step above what we've seen on Kias previously.

What do you get?

Base GTs come with the leather/suede Recaro seats, cruise control, sports pedals and scuff plates, CD stereo with Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, dual zone air-con along with rear parking sensors and reversing camera.

GT-Tech adds a panoramic sunroof, smart key with push button start and door handle lighting, active HID headlamps with washer, privacy glass and luggage net.

In Europe the Proceed received a five-star safety rating, and with six airbags plus the gamut of technology associated with stability and traction control, it's expected to be replicated by Australian standards.

Funky factor

Low slung with a body kit and 18-inch alloys, the Proceed GT is an arresting little coupe. Muscular lines in profile, dual pipes out the back and quad LED running lights make for a stylish offering.

MORE DASH: The centre stereo is the only small disappointment.
MORE DASH: The centre stereo is the only small disappointment. Newsdesk Media

 

VITAL STATISTICS

Model: Kia Proceed GT.

Details: Three-door front-wheel drive compact performance hatch.

Engine: 1.6-litre turbocharged in-line four-cylinder petrol generating maximum power of 150kW @ 6000rpm and 265Nm @ 1750-4500rpm.

Transmissions: Six-speed manual.

Consumption: 7.4 (combined average)

CO2: 171g/km.

Performance: 0-100kmh in 7.7 seconds; top speed 230kmh.

Bottom line: GT $29,990; GT-Tech $33,490. Premium paint $595.


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