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What’s in a name? Kia tells all about its Pro_cee’d GT

on April 15 2014 | in Industry news, Latest news | by | with Comments Off

It could be said that two things in New Zealand might count against sales of Kia’s new hot hatchback: one, that it has three doors and, two, that it comes only with a six-speed manual gearbox.
Kia general manager Todd McDonald

Kia GM Todd McDonald

There is little wiggle room in the market these days for three-door hatchbacks, let alone manual gearboxes. But Kia Motors NZ general manager Todd McDonald isn’t exactly going to flood both North and South Islands with the car called the Pro_cee’d GT (above). He will be happy with upwards of 60 sales in 2014, although he thinks it might do better than that. It’s Kia’s first dedicated go-faster hatchback. And it’s not bad at all: good looking on the outside, classy on the inside, with a pretty impressive ride/handling/performance mix. There are some
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neat touches: one of them is the ‘GT’ button on the steering wheel that changes the speedometer from analogue readout to digital or vice versa. Shame about the car’s name, though. McDonald can’t do much about it. “It is what it is,” he says. “We’ll let the car speak for itself.” It’s another member of the Cee’d family of compact models that have been running around Europe since 2006. There is another Pro_cee’d but that doesn’t have GT after it. Kia planted the Cee’d name, so the story goes, from the initials of the European Economic Community, turned the shortened EEC around and added ED for European Design. Result: CEEED, or Community Economic European European Design. Oops, too many ‘E’s. So the last ‘E’ was replaced with an apostrophe and Cee’d was born. Read it as Community Economic European (apostrophe) Design. Strange but true. Kia continues to play with the name: Ex_cee’d and Eco_cee’d are two examples of concepts. Don’t be surprised if Suc_cee’d crops up. New Zealand and Australia are the only two countries outside Europe to get Pro_cee’d GT. The three-door is here as a stablemate to the Kia Cerato Koup Turbo, which arrived earlier. Both models use a turbocharged 1.6-litre direct-injection engine delivering 150kW and 265Nm of torque. The Koup and its six-speed automatic is the girl’s car, say sales figures. The Pro_cee’d GT and its touchy-feely manual gearbox is for the blokes. “The market for hot hatches leans more towards male buyers, with a preference for a manual gearbox and we’ve tailored this car to suit,” says McDonald. The Pro_cee’d GT was designed in Kia’s studio in Germany and is built at its factory in Slovakia. The Koup comes out of the carmaker’s California studio. Both share platforms with the Hyundai i30 and engines with the Hyundai Veloster. The Hyundai-Kia affiliation likes playing games with names. Veloster is said to be a combination of ‘velocity’ and ‘roadster’. The Pro_cee’d GT’s engine is on paper identical to the Veloster’s, delivering 150kW at 6000rpm and 265Nm between 1750 and 4500rpm. There is no argument that Pro_cee’d GT is better looking, if only in a more traditional hatchback way. The ‘ice cube’ daytime running lights low down up front are a standout feature. The car might push the performance envelope for Kia, but it has been designed more for brisk travel than outright hustle. It skips from 0-100km/h in a little over seven seconds, brisk enough. But its strength is its broad torque range, where more than 80 per cent is available from around 1500rpm. Result: a flexible drivetrain. The Pro_cee’d GT rides on 18-inch alloys. Its all-round independent suspension, reworked, like all suspension set-ups from Hyundai and Kia these days, under the so-called ANZAC programme to suit New Zealand and Australian roads, is a compromise, firmed up for sporty handling but remaining day-to-day compliant. Inside is an all-black cabin with heated Recaro front seats adorned with GT and Recaro logos, another first for Kia. The whole package oozes the work of chief designer Peter Schreyer, certainly the most celebrated of designers in recent years. The Kia Pro_cee’d GT gets a five-year warranty and costs from $43,990.

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