The new Kia pro_cee'd joins the cee'd hatchback and cee'd Sportswagon as the third instalment in the latest generation cee'd family and will be joined by Kia's first ever performance-orientated model - the Kia pro_cee'd GT - from the summer of 2013.
Kia's stylish new three-door hatchback is offered with a choice of two trim levels - 'S' and 'SE' - both of which are new and unique to the pro_cee'd. The 'S' comes with a very comprehensive level of specification whilst the 'SE' adds a host of luxury and comfort features usually the preserve of much more expensive machinery.
Two engines are offered in the new pro_cee'd line-up - a 1.6-litre GDi petrol and a 1.6-litre CRDi turbodiesel with Intelligent Stop & Go (ISG) - and both are available in each trim grade. A six-speed manual transmission is standard across the range and Kia's six-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) gearbox is also available in 1.6 GDi 'SE' guise.
Longer and lower than the previous generation version, the new pro_cee'd is Kia's most emotionally-charged vehicle to date and has been penned to show performance and dynamism from every angle, crease and curve.
"The all-new Kia pro_cee'd is a true clean sheet design," says Peter Schreyer, President and Chief Design Officer, Kia Motors Corporation. "With its distinctive form language and dynamic proportions, muscular stance and athletic lines, this 'coupe' follows a very different visual path to the cee'd. It's a completely different car on every level."
With the exception of the front body structure, several major parts of the bodyshell - the roof, body sides, and rear-end - have been redesigned compared to the current cee'd. Ring-shaped structures on centre pillars and tailgate opening area have been added in to ensure rigidity and collision safety. New pro_cee'd shares all the same external dimensions as the current cee'd save for its height - new pro_cee'd is 40mm lower than its 5-door sibling.
New pro_cee'd features a unique front design compared to its siblings. The front fog lights are inset into a new layered design and are sat in a more rakish lower bumper design complete with dark chrome highlights. The gloss black 'tiger nose' grille is slightly narrower and connected to the headlights with dark chrome extensions to lend the car a more aggressive stance that is further enhanced by the striking LED daytime running lights that are standard on all versions.
The front doors are 270mm longer (at 1,410mm) than those on the cee'd and, aside from improving rear accessibility, they work in harmony with the sloping beltline and narrow glasshouse, the lower roofline and the chrome window surrounds to give the new pro_cee'd a very sleek side profile.
As with the previous generation, the rear of the pro_cee'd is characterised by a steeply-angled rear window and bulbous tail lamps that sit astride broad shoulders. A black lower bumper strip with a set of integrated combination lamps and reflectors help to lend a hunkered-down feel to the rear. The LED tail lights create a strong night-time presence to the pro_cee'd thanks to a U-shaped LED pattern that is unique to the vehicle.
The exterior's performance-orientated looks are echoed on the inside with a driver-centric layout to the dashboard and modern, premium touches such as the dark cloth trim, black headlining, piano black fascia trim and subtle chrome accents to the door handles, instruments and air vents.
The five-seat interior has been designed to be as ergonomically intuitive as possible with all the on-board and infotainment controls conveniently located for driver and passengers. Practicality is improved compared to the last generation model too. Boot storage is up 40 litres to 380 litres - the same as the 5-door cee'd - and up 15 litres to 1,225 litres with the 60:40 split-rear seats folded down and there are storage compartments in the front and rear, centre console and under the boot floor.
To reflect how different the new pro_cee'd is to the rest of the line-up, it uniquely moves away from Kia UK's customary model nomenclature of '1', '2' and '3' for entry, mid-range and top-of-the-range versions. The 'S' grade offers a high level of specification for an 'entry-level' version whilst the 'SE' adds the comfort and refinement of many high-end features.
On the outside, the 'S' and 'SE' grades share all the same visual cues except for the alloy wheel size and design - they are 16-inch on the 'S' and 17-inch on the 'SE'.
At the front there is a narrower 'tiger-nose' grille with a dark chrome surround and gloss black mesh, projection headlights with dedicated cornering lights, LED daytime running lights and fog lights. Puddle-lights are built into the colour-coded door mirrors, the door handles are also painted to match, and a chrome surround outlines the side window profile with privacy glass fitted to the side-rear and tailgate windows.
At the rear there's a high-level spoiler with integrated LED brake light, signature LED rear tail lights and a chrome-tipped oval exhaust.
On the inside there's a sporting appearance to the cockpit with black cloth upholstery with a contrasting grey 'mesh' design and faux leather inserts, black headlining, piano black fascia and door trims, a leather trimmed steering wheel, gear lever and handbrake.
Standard convenience features include automatic lights with welcome and follow-me-home functionality, 'one touch' electric windows, electrically-operated, heated and folding door mirrors with integrated LED side repeaters, cruise control with speed limiter and steering wheel mounted controls. Reversing sensors and a trip computer are also standard.
Air-conditioning keeps the vehicle at comfortable temperatures whilst the six-speaker Radio/CD player with iPod and USB connectivity ensures occupants are always able to enjoy the music of their choice. Music can also be streamed to the hi-fi by Bluetooth - sharing the same technology as the car's Bluetooth hands-free phone system which can also be controlled via voice recognition.
First fitted to the cee'd, Kia's Flex Steer steering system provides the driver with the choice of Normal, Comfort or Sport steering modes allowing them the option, at the touch of a button, of making the steering feel lighter or heavier depending on their preference.
Kia has a democratic approach to safety - all models within a range are given the same active and passive systems and the pro_cee'd is no exception.
Standard active systems include Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BAS). Emergency Stop Signalling (ESS) triggers the brake lights to flash under heavy braking and the Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) keeps the car held on a slope whilst the driver pulls away.
Inside the car, passive features include six airbags (front, side and curtain) as well as all-round three-point seatbelts and ISOFIX child seat mountings. Deadlocks and an alarm and immobiliser help to deter unwanted intruders.
Building on the comprehensive specification of the pro_cee'd 'S', the 'SE' adds a host of additional equipment. On the outside, 17-inch silver alloy wheels with contrasting anthracite highlights enhance the car's visual appeal and the exterior door handle illumination provides a practical touch and premium feel.
Moving inside there are stainless steel door sill plates and pedals, power lumbar seat support for both driver and passenger, automatic dual-zone climate control and automatic rain-sensing wipers with a built-in de-icer function.
The 'SE' also boasts a 7-inch touchscreen European-wide satellite navigation system with full UK postcode functionality and TMC - this screen doubles up to display the images from the colour reversing camera when the vehicle is in reverse - and an automatically-dimming rear view mirror and keyless smart entry system with start/stop ignition button.
ENGINES & TRANSMISSIONS
The new pro_cee'd is available with a choice of the 1.6-litre GDi petrol engine or the 1.6-litre CRDi turbodiesel motor. Both engines are available in 'S' and 'SE' trim levels and all versions have a six-speed manual transmission with ISG. Kia's six-speed DCT automatic gearbox is also available on the 1.6 GDi in 'SE' trim.
The 1.6-litre GDi provides 133 bhp at 6,300 rpm and 164 lb/ft at 4,850 rpm. Top speed is 121 mph across all variants. In 'S' trim, the 0-60 mph dash takes 9.8 seconds (9.5 on the 'SE') and returns 62.8mpg on the official combined cycle with CO2 emissions of 124g/km.
The 1.6-litre CRDi provides 126 bhp at 4,000 rpm and 192 lb/ft in between 1,900 rpm and 2,750 rpm. Top speed is 122 mph. In 'S' grade guise, the 0-60 mph sprint takes 11.5 seconds (10.5 on the 'SE') and returns 78.5 mpg on the official combined cycle. CO2 emissions of 100g/km, also in 'S' spec, place this stylish hatchback in Vehicle Excise Duty Band 'A' meaning free road fund licence and exemption from London's Congestion Charge.
CARE-3 SERVICING & WARRANTY
All versions of pro_cee'd have servicing intervals of 20,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes sooner.
Like many other models in the Kia range, pro_cee'd is available with Care-3 - Kia's all-inclusive servicing package that provides retail customers inflation-proof servicing costs for the first three or, in the case of Care-3 Plus, five services of the vehicle's life. It is also fully transferable to subsequent owners. Care-3 is available on pro_cee'd for Â£329. Care-3 Plus is available for Â£609.
As with all new Kias, pro_cee'd comes with an industry-leading seven year / 100,000 mile warranty (unlimited mileage in the first three years) that is fully transferable to subsequent owners.