Can the Kia ProCeed mark a return to sporty estates for the mainstream brands?

We try the new ProCeed from Kia – one of very few manufacturers to make a return to the ‘shooting brake’ estate shape

Estate cars are perhaps best known for their practicality and usability, but they sometimes aren’t ranked as highly for style.

Kia, however, are trying to break that mould with the striking new ProCeed. It features a ‘shooting brake’ design, referring to the curved rear end – basically a sleeker, sportier estate.

Such designs were popular back in the 50s, but they’re almost completely absent in the current market, save for Mercedes-Benz’ CLA and CLS Shooting Brakes.

The ProCeed name used to belong to the three-door version of the Ceed, but with buyers shifting away from those models they’ve kept the tag and pinned it to a completely different machine.

What else is new?

Although it’s based on the new Ceed hatchback and Sportswagon (Kia talk for normal estate), the ProCeed is longer and closer to ground than those.

From the rear, the new ProCeed looks a bit like the Porsche Panamera, which can only be a good thing

The main difference is the sweeping design and longer overhang at the back – in fact, the only parts that were donated by the hatchback are the bonnet and front wings.

It’s only offered in high-spec trims too. The manufacturer’s trademark ‘2’ and ‘3’ trims don’t feature here – only GT-Line, GT-Line S and GT, each with a £2,000-plus premium over the standard hatchback.

Kia isn’t expecting a great deal of sales and estimate that number will sit around 1,000 per year. That’s not too surprising, however, considering it’s their new range topper.

Performance on the ProCeed

The ProCeed comes with a choice of three engines – the carmaker’s new 134bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine, a 138bhp 1.4-litre petrol – that we tested – or a 1.6-litre petrol with 201bhp.

That 1.4-litre petrol can be found in many models from Kia and Hyundai, which is unsurprising considering how solid it is. With a 0-60mph time of 9.1 seconds and a top speed of 127mph, this is one for drivers wanting a more relaxed and refined driving experience.

You can also have it with a six-speed manual gearbox or seven-speed automatic. The latter of those is smooth and quick to change gear but can lag slightly if you’re trying to set off quickly.

That type of driving will be best suited to the top-spec 1.6-litre petrol, however, that is much more athletic and offers surprisingly similar efficiency. Fuel economy on the model we tried is claimed at 40mpg, with CO2 emissions of 133g/km. The diesel engine will boost that to 56.5mpg.

How is it to drive?

Despite its sporty appearance, the ProCeed (excluding the GT) is best at a cruise. The refined nature of the petrol engine provided a smooth and comfortable ride, even with the 18-inch alloys.

The ProCeed not only looks the part, but drives well too. The GT was seen to by the man behind Hyundai's 'N' models, Albert Biermann.

You’ll feel potholes more on these rims, but on the whole they don’t take away from an otherwise comfy drive.

Steering is direct and easy to manage, and although it isn’t very involving, it’ll please the majority of drivers. There’s also a pleasant engine tone to enhance the experience.

The GT, though, is another beast entirely. Seen to by Albert Biermann, who masterminded Hyundai’s ‘N’ models, it has stiffer springs that allow it to corner quickly but maintain its composure and ease of use.

Although it’s not quite a ‘hot hatch’, it roughly sits between the standard models and the performance-spec Hyundai i30 N.

It looks cracking

As a car shape that’s largely unseen in the current market, it was always going to run the risk of sparking debate, but we’re all for it. 

It’s a refreshing change to the usual hatchback and estate shapes, which is exactly what Kia wanted, and it actually looks like the Porsche Panamera from behind – an observation that’s only positive. 

With the ProCeed offered in GT variants only, all models get gloss black styling, large alloy wheels and full-width rear LED lights that certainly look the part.

Inside the ProCeed

Although the exterior styling has had a bit of an overhaul, the interior is largely the same as the standard Ceed's.

Only available in GT trims, all ProCeed models are nice on the inside too

All models get the excellent eight-inch ‘floating’ touchscreen, and controls that are modern, sturdy and easy to use. Although some remains, Kia have managed to remove a lot of the hard plastics that were commonplace on older models too.

As an estate car, it’s expected that the ProCeed has practicality to match. Despite that sloping roofline, the boot space is still an impressive size at 594 litres – more than you’d find in the Volvo V90, surprisingly, and nearly as much as the Ceed Sportswagon.

Rear space can be a bit limited, however, with hard-backed front seats reducing the legroom for taller passengers. The panoramic sunroof on the GT-Line S models can also compromise headroom.

Spec options

All trims are well kitted out because of Kia’s decision to only offer the ProCeed in its highest specs.

Prices start at £23,835 for the GT-Line, around £2k more expensive than a Ceed hatchback in the same trim. As standard, it has 17-inch alloys, LED rear lights, heated front seats and steering wheel, and a reversing camera to name only a few features.

Bizarrely, the most potent ProCeed – the GT – is actually cheaper than the GT-Line S. The price on one of those starts at £28,135, with larger alloys, LED headlights and half-leather, half-suede seats.

The GT-Line S jumps to £28,685, but does add a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, electric boot and self-parking feature to that package.

While the prices may seem steep, they compare favourably with the Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake, that starts at £28,540 but doesn’t come with half as much kit for that price.

It’s a niche, but a very appealing one

With manufacturers often taking a popular template and stamping it with their own name, the ProCeed is a refreshing change, as a car that really is in a class of its own.

The ProCeed is a stylish alternative to the majority of estates on the road

The styling won’t appeal to everyone, but there is a lot to love with its dynamic appearance and excellent interior.

Kia accepts it won’t sell many, with the automatic gearbox and poor rear visibility likely to put some potential buyers off, but for those wanting something a bit different to the norm, we’d definitely recommend the ProCeed.

Learn more about the eagerly awaited 3-door addition to the Kia Ceed range here.

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