Kia Proceed: the lowdown
Shock! One of the most significant cars unveiled at today’s Paris show was a Kia. Not only was this Proceed concept sexy and sporty, a first for a Kia. But its relevance goes deeper than its skin. The Proceed is the three door version of Kia’s five-door Ceed hatchback, a car that will be built in eastern Europe, have a seven year warranty – the continent’s longest – and will give the Focus, Golf et al a serious run for their money with its spacious, high quality interior and good value prices. The five-door hatch goes on UK sale in January 2007 for just under £12,000, with a Peugeot 407-alike wagon following in September 2007 and the production Proceed in December 2007.
Kia gets sexy
The Proceed concept is almost identical to the production car, due in late 2007. The swooping roofline, scalloped sides, sleek window graphic, raked rear hatch and inverted radiator grille (compared with the five-door) are all the real deal. Only the aluminium details like the tailpipes, big 19inch wheels, lamp graphics and slim side mirrors will be dulled down. The bonnet and front wings are the only panels carried over from the five door, and the Proceed sits 30mm closer to the road, too. Kia reckons the chassis has been benchmarked against the Focus and Golf, but we’ll believe that only when we’ve driven it. And the pokiest Ceed engine at launch will muster just 143bhp, and Kia will have to do a lot better than that if the Proceed is to match cars like the Golf GTi. ‘It’s not enough; everybody agrees we need more power,’ said an insider. ‘We have something in the pipeline.’
The inside story
Don’t blink – that’s not an Audi interior. Although the resemblance is not surprising, given that it’s been designed by a former VW group employee Chris Daniels, under the tutelage of another ex-VW man Gregory Guillaume. It’s beautifully trimmed and has controls and vents that look just like the new TT’s, but this cockpit is largely a flight of fancy. The only bit that’s true to life is the dash shape, which will ultimately be filled with the plainer instrument panel, stereo and climate control from the five-door.
And here's its Ceed sibling
This is the far duller five-door, the Ceed, which has all the presence of the outgoing Toyota Corolla. However, Kia promises a good spec – including six airbags, ABS with EBD, air-con and CD – at reasonable prices, and a seven-year/150,000km (100,000 mile) warranty, which can be transferred when you sell the car on. The soft-touch plastics are easy on the eye and the fingers, and there’s space for all-round afros in the back and decent knee room, too. No wonder Kia is confident it will sell 150,000 Ceeds a year in Europe.