Proceed to a good

looking Kia

Kia ProCeed, front static
Kia ProCeed, side action
Kia ProCeed, dashboard
Kia ProCeed, front action
Kia ProCeed, front action 2
Kia ProCeed, rear action 2
Kia ProCeed, side static
Kia ProCeed, rear seats
Kia ProCeed, sunroof
Kia ProCeed, full rear static
Kia ProCeed, rear action
Kia ProCeed, boot

MERCEDES started it with the stylish CLS and now Kia aims to move things to a more affordable level with its new ProCeed, mixing four-door practicality and swoopy estate car looks.

Kia calls the result a shooting brake; digging deep into the early days of motoring, with echoes of landed gentry toting guns on the grouse moor before heading for dinner in a car that mixes looks and practicality.

The ProCeed certainly does that, sharing only bonnet and front wings with the latest Ceed hatchback and looking progressively different as your eye travels rearward.

Where you find a rear end as handsome as the Mercedes that started it all in 2004 and whose elegantly angled rear hatch opens on to a load area with a generous 594 litres of carrying capacity, only mildly less expansive than the 625 litres of the Ceed Sportswagon estate.

That sloping rear window means your view of following vehicles is badly chopped off in the rear view mirror and you will have to adopt a van driver's approach - using the door mirrors instead.

The ProCeed is a tiny bit (5mm) longer than that car, a more obvious 43mm lower and sits 5mm nearer the road as well.

The result, apart from those standout looks, is a passenger cabin a bit tight on headroom for taller occupants, especially if you choose the top ProCeed, which come with a large powered glass sunroof.

The range starts at £23,835 for a GT-Line ProCeed with 138bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine and six-speed manual gearbox and tops out at £28,685 with the same engine in a thoroughly well specified GT-Line S with seven-speed automatic gearbox, complete with properly cool metal paddle shifters for when you're feeling the Lewis Hamilton vibes.

The same paddles adorn the fastest version of the new ProCeed, the £28,135 GT with its 201 horsepower 1.6-litres enough for a 140mph top speed and the sprint to 62mph in a sporty 7.2 seconds.

It also turns in an official 39.3mpg overall and 142g/km of CO2; both figures you'd beat (naturally) by choosing the slower, diesel option in the newcomer.

It's 134bhp 1.6-litre power unit propels the car to 124mph and to 62mph in 10 seconds and costs £24,685 with manual transmission and £25,785 with automatic gears.

The entry level 1.4 petrol model, by comparison, is rated at 130mph/8.8 seconds with 45.6mpg average and 132g/km of CO2.

It's the version Kia thinks will make up the largest part of the 1,000 ProCeeds it hopes to sell here in the first year and drivers will find a willing engine that pulls this biggish machine along in impressive quietness, especially on the smoothly surfaced Spanish roads chosen for its press drive.

Nothing shabby about the 44mpg achieved on the run either, even with an automatic gearbox doing the gearchange chores. Ride well too, without the imposed sportiness the ProCeed designers might have fallen for.

The diesel, on a mostly motorway route and with a crisp manual gearchange, showed 54mpg but won't impress drivers who relish the punchy M-way response of the best diesels. This one has to work quite hard for a living, thankfully staying refined enough in the process.

Much more profligate with the fuel, predictably, was the GT. It never feels outright quick, settling rather for the sort of relaxed gait that could see a comfortable 500 miles between breakfast at home and dinner in your holiday hotel.

Driven with conviction, the GT's steering impressed with the messages it sent back from the road beneath; economy below 30mpg when pressing on impressed rather less.

Chloe the petrol 1.4 for its mix of decent go and reasonable economy. And admire one of the best looking entrants to the family transport arena.


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