Kia ProCeed (2018-present)

The new Kia ProCeed jettisons some – but not all – of the practicality of the Ceed estate in favour of a stylish sportiness

Question: why would you buy an estate car that doesn’t prioritise practicality? Answer: because it looks cool.

That’s what Kia must be hoping prospective buyers of its new ProCeed shooting brake (a particular type of sporty estate car) will be thinking when they compare it with the numerous alternatives on the market, which include the company’s own Ceed SW, the Hyundai i30 estate, Volkswagen Golf Estate, Ford Focus estate, Vauxhall Astra Sport Tourer, Skoda Octavia and Renault Mégane Sport Tourer.

The ProCeed certainly looks considerably more sporty than its rivals – and it’s not a given these days that estates look boxy and boring: many have sporty touches of their own. The sloped rear is a dead giveaway and, from behind, and without having to squint too hard, there are some definite echoes of a number of cars in the current Porsche line-up, with lights that wrap around the boot from one side of the car to the other. That sloping roof makes the side profile slickly sleek, while the front of the car, with Kia’s ‘tiger nose’ grille above a honeycomb diffuser complete the racy look.

The cabin is equally slick, with good-quality materials on offer throughout. Much has been made of Kia’s improvement in this area over the last decade or so, and it is very apparent in the ProCeed. The gap between this and the likes of the Volkswagen Golf is still there, just about, but it's closing rapidly. And much as we like the Mégane Sport Tourer, the ProCeed has it beaten in terms of cabin quality.

The interior is also well equipped, with lots of equipment fitted as standard, including an 8-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system, which includes satellite navigation, DAB and smartphone integration (including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay).

The interior is generally very comfortable, but there are some concerns over spaciousness. For example, models with a sunroof have restricted height for the driver: the seat should be lower, not only to offer a sportier driving position to suit the character of the car, but mainly because even if you’re below six foot, your head is touching the roof. It's a similar story in the rear, with the sloping roof reducing the available headroom. It's certainly no Octavia in the back, but if you’re mostly transporting young kids, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

The obvious caveat most buyers would have at this point would be over the ProCeed’s boot, but the good news is that while it can’t compare with the Ceed SW’s 625 litres with the seats in place, or the Octavia’s 610 litres, at 594 litres, it’s bigger than the new Ford Focus (575 litres) and Mégane Sport Tourer (580 litres). And with the rear seats folded down (on GT-Line and GT trim levels, these are 60:40 split, while the GT-Line S has 40:20:40 split), there’s up to 1,545 litres, so there’s plenty of room for luggage or larger items such as flat-pack furniture.

The ProCeed isn’t as sporty to drive as it looks, but it’s very decent indeed, with accurate and consistent steering, and good levels of grip and balance. It’s not perhaps as involving as the Golf and Focus but again, like the interior quality, Kia’s cars are closing the gap all the time and for many buyers it will offer enough of a sense of engagement. The ride is similarly sporty, but not overly firm – although as always with such tests, we haven’t yet driven the ProCeed on the UK’s terrible road surfaces, so we’ll reserve final judgement for the moment.

There are only three engines – a diesel and two petrol units – but these cover all the necessary bases, offering varying blends of economy and performance.

Kia’s commitment to packing its cars with standard equipment also extends to safety, so there’s a bewildering array of acronyms, all of which help keep drivers and passengers safe.

So is the ProCeed a triumph of style over substance? The answer has to be no, because while it is indeed very stylish, there’s also a lot of substance. There’s more standard kit than a Golf, more bootspace than a Focus, and it rides and handles as well as most of its rivals.

The cost for this style isn’t insignificant, though. With prices starting at £23,835 (and rising to £28,685), it's more expensive than its Renault, Skoda and Vauxhall rivals. The days of Kia selling budget cars are well and truly over, but the ProCeed does offer eye-catching style, lots of equipment, good levels of quality and safety kit to warrant the price.

Last Updated 

Thursday, January 31, 2019 - 23:00