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Kia Proceed (2007): first official pictures

Published: 21 August 2007

Isn’t that last year’s Proceed concept car?

No, but you’re on the right lines. Our first glimpse of the Ceed was the Proceed concept, a sharp-looking three-door with hints of Audi A3 in the styling. But when the production car appeared it had morphed into a slightly less interesting five-door on wheels the size of a CD. The good news is that a year on, the concept finally made it to production as the three-door Ceed which is unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. Kia insists on calling it the pro_cee'd but CAR won't pander: it's the Proceed as far as we're concerned.

So what’s different apart from the number of doors?

More than you might think. Because while the 2650mm wheelbase is retained, the nose is 10mm longer, the grille shallower and the bumper, headlamps and air intake are all different. Move to the side and you’ll notice that the windscreen is actually shallower than the five-door’s and the overall height chopped by 30mm. Obviously the doors are longer to allow access to the rear but belt- and swagelines are both more aggressive to bolster the three-door’s sporty credentials. At the rear there's a pronounced chrome tailpipe for the exhaust and an optional Sports Pack brings 17-inch alloys and stiffer dampers.

What’s new inside?

Hold onto your hats because the rear seat cushion has been redesigned to make it easier to fold the seats. You now no longer need to fiddle about removing the rear head restraints. Now you’ve recovered from all that excitement I can tell you that the rest of the cabin is unchanged from the five-door model’s. So it’s sturdy and not hideous but still looks a bit cheap beside the best from Europe. But if you go for the Sport Pack we mentioned earlier things improve slightly: tyre track pattern seat fabrics with silver stitching and alloy pedals and scuff plates help distinguish it from the standard car.

So when can I buy one?

The Proceed lands in UK showrooms early next year. The 19 model offerings will include 1.6 petrols and diesel engines, but nothing really powerful yet. Performance models are on the way but hot hatch fans will have to wait until next year for the unthinkable to arrive.

By Chris Chilton

Contributing editor, ace driver, wit supplier, mischief maker