ON THE ROAD- IAN LYNAS DRIVES THE NEW KIA PROCEED GT
The 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show gave a taster, via a concept, to what has now become the new Kia ProCeed GT, a refreshing newcomer from the giant South Korean carmaker.
Right away, I must state that the newcomer is not an out and out sports performer; however it does deliver a mix of sportiness and comfort all in a body which is not a hatchback but much more of a shooting brake.
Wrapped in a five door body style and with smooth purposeful lines and high levels of equipment and safety, it’s clear Kia has managed to produce yet another winner with the ProCeed GT.
My opportunity to try the new GT came in Spain over a mix of roads, both motorway and rural and apart from the drive quality, I was also pleasantly surprised with the relatively low cabin noise.
The core element, of course, is what rests beneath the bonnet and this GT has a 1.6 litre, four cylinder engine mated to a seven speed automatic transmission and with 201bhp at the command of the right foot, this mix does deliver a very rewarding drive.
The engine and transmission in perfect harmony just simply put a smile on my face and it will do the same for others who decide on this sleek newcomer.
Performance which will be the key factor for many buyers; rest to 100kph (62mph) comes up in a respectable 7.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 225kph (140mph), where legal to do so, few will ever experience the top end performance of course. In fact, unless you have access to a racing circuit or the opportunity to venture on to a German autobahn, you may never realise the full performance potential of the ProCeed GT.
On European roads, I always endeavour to find some tarmac akin to what we have in Ireland. On this occasion, luckily, the opportunity presented itself to drive on a route more akin to a rally special stage and this was ideal to experience the road holding and handling qualities, in fact parts of the route were very like the roads we drive in every day in the Republic or Northern Ireland.
The suspension setup is front independent Macpherson strut with coil spring and anti-roll bar while at the rear, it’s independent multi link with trailing arm, again with anti-roll bar.
The steering is positive, a rack and pinion, electric motor driven.
Stopping power which is all important, is provided by ventilated discs and I was very glad to have them as on my return to Barcelona Airport a van decided to stop suddenly in the middle lane. Why he did this, I will never know, but it was one of those heart stopping moments!
Styling is important as well as everything else when it comes to our mode of transport and this GT has heaps of it. Body coloured bumpers, high gloss black door mirrors, chrome window surrounds and privacy glass in the rear windows and tailgate.
In the lighting department, LED Bi-Function headlights with daytime LED lights front and rear. I noted especially the full length brake light, giving added safety in poor driving conditions.
Moving to the interior, and it’s a mix of design and comfort. Both front seats have height adjustment, the steering wheel is heated- we will love this feature on the Emerald Isle for those chilly mornings! Black high gloss is featured on the front console and door trim; pedals in the best sporting tradition are aluminum and there are sports style wheel mouthed controls.
Keeping in touch, communication and information are ably catered for, a DAB radio with MP3 connectivity and the eight inch screen makes for easy viewing of the sat nav.
To aid parking, there are rear sensors and Smart Park Assist, so no excuse when you try to judge if you can park the GT.
Keeping driver and fellow passengers safe there is a cocktail of passive safety features. To mention but a few, Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, emergency stop signal, driver attention warning and even a dual horn, which come to think of it, I did not employ.
As with the rest of the Kia family, the renowned industry leading warranties, so important to many motorists today.
A footnote; when I arrived in the parking area at Barcelona Airport, one of my journalistic colleagues did remark that the styling of the new ProCeed GT was not unlike a certain four door model from a German premium brand that starts with the letter P! I will say no more, leaving that one with you.
For sure this new Kia fits into what I demand from a vehicle; style, performance and the bonus of practicality.