What is it?
Kia's three-door hatch wants to rival the Focus and the Golf, and it's great to look at, but those wanting a chassis to match the design will be left wanting - it's merely good to drive.
Exactly like the five-door car. It's not sporty, and doesn't pretend to be, so it seems almost unfair to have a go at it for not delivering on the thrills front. It actually copes reasonably well: good front end grip, reasonable steering accuracy, good chassis balance. It's a well engineered car, but not an entertaining one.
The ride is well padded, motorway wind noise confined to a rustle from the A-pillars. If you're one of the vast majority who just want a hatchback to use for your life, then this is a very nice one. Kia knows its audience, knows what pleases them.
The new direct injection 1.6 (no baby turbo engines for Kia yet - that surely is the next stage) is fine when surfing in the shallows, but becomes slightly boomy and harsh towards the top end. There's now a twin clutch gearbox too, and like the rest of the car, it does the everyday stuff unobtrusively. But you can tell this is a first effort - its reactions aren't that sharp.
On the inside
Forget Kia of old and embrace Kia of the next century. Millimetric precision abounds on the pro_cee'd – even if nearly everything (including the materials) are just tracing-paper perfect clones of the Toyota Corolla. Feels so well put together that the seven-year warranty won’t get troubled much.
The pro_cee'd looks better and rides lower, but it’s less practical than the five-door. Saying that, there's enough room in the back for two, and the doors are longer to allow better entry.
The pro_cee'd makes good financial sense. Residuals won't be mental, but that passable warranty should buoy things up a bit.