Kia Pro_Cee’d GT Tech Review – First Performance Car From Kia is Actually Very Good!

Cool looks. Usual Kia high quality interior/exterior build and materials. Superbly priced. Great ride and drive.

Acceleration should be more aggressive. Would benefit from slightly more bhp. Exhaust note…. isn’t there.

Kia Pro_Cee’d GT?


It was kind of inevitable – Kia have finally added a sporty car to their line up. The Cee’d and Cee’d Sportswagon are a sensible option, with a good chassis equating to decent handling, but the physical drive of the car wasn’t one that’d exactly alight the petrol running through a gearhead’s veins. With buyers now knowing Kia cars for their good quality with loads of equipment on board at a good price, it was a fair move to bring out something that’d add sportiness to the ingredients. Can this Kia really be any good though? We were sent the Kia Pro_Cee’d GT Tech to review and find out…

Exterior. Butt-ugly or beauty?


First impressions count, right? If that’s the case, then consider me impressed, for the Pro_Cee’d GT is quite a looker. Brutish and hard-faced from the front, there’s also elements of elegance and class about the GT. Purposeful would probably be the best word to round up the design.

The front of the GT has a lot going on, but it suits it as each part is neatly designed and attractive, instead of being slap-dash run of the mill stuff. The wing-like lights are slanted in a frown, and both the upper and lower grilles look fantastic. My absolute favourite part of the car – and the one that gets the Pro_Cee’d GT noticed – are the super-clear quad LED clusters on each side. A marvellous bit of design, and one that both moves away nicely from the current trend of slit-thin LED lights.

KIA PRO C'EED GT LED super-clear quad LED clusters

The front splitter lip juts out to further the sports look, and has a red strip running across to donate that it’s the GT. Just in case you didn’t already notice the GT emblem on the grille. The Pro_Cee’d GT is a three-door only car at the moment, and this suits it well. Down the side it looks squat and rigid and the superb 18″ wheels fill the arches excellently, giving the GT a lower stance than it actually has.


Around to the rear, and there’s a large roof-spoiler jutting out, and further down the rear lights feature a ‘G’ motif within them that smartly light up when they’re on. There’s a couple of things I didn’t like about the rear of the Pro Cee’d, one being the vertical light pods in the bumper, which look a bit too weird, and the bottom section of the rear looks too high off the floor like it’s missing a rear valance or something.

Rear view of the KIA PRO C'EED GT REVIEW

KIA PRO C'EED GT REVIEW rear lights with KIA logo

Aside from those couple of points, I’m very much in favour of the Pro_Cee’d GT’s design. It’s classy, slightly different, and aggressive and purposeful enough to look like a serious performance car.

Interior. Neat or nothing special?

KIA PRO C'EED GT REVIEW front interior

Kia’s interiors are good. Very good, in fact. The GT’s is no different, in that it’s of the same high quality as you now expect. I was showing a few friends the Pro_Cee’d GT, and one walked up and stated: “I thought Kia’s weren’t meant to be very good”. Instead of a lengthy reply on why they are, I merely directed him to sit in the car, and after which his mind was changed with immediate effect.

KIA PRO C'EED GT Recaro half leather seats

Like the exterior, there’s something quite classy about the interior. As you open the door, you notice firstly that they feel weighty – like opening the door on a Merc C-Class coupé. Next you see section of piano black trim edged with chrome, that starts as being the handle, and then runs the length of the door. This I like. There’s also leather (or faux-leather) inserts with red stitching too adding to the luxurious ambience – a good starting point before you’ve even sat inside.

KIA PRO C'EED GT front door

The Pro_Cee’d GT has Recaro bucket seats in the front. Yes. Recaro. And they look awesome. Half leather, half (faux) suede they’ve got deep bolsters on the sides and for your legs to hold you in place, but they’re also really comfortable too, with power-adjustable lumbar support as standard. They’re not too narrow either, taking the majority of different-sized people into consideration. But they still have to do a job, and someone with a derriére on the large side will find them a squeeze.

KIA PRO C'EED GT Recaro front seats

The steering wheel is a mix of sporty and functional with red stitching to show what the car is, while there’s a load of buttons on it for controlling almost everything on the car. It’s a good size and the gloss-black inserts give it a stylish edge. Oh, and buy the Tech model as the ‘wheel is heated as well – that’s an absolute must.

KIA PRO C'EED GT steering wheel

The centre dial now sports neat graphics, and you can flick between a normal display and a GT mode, which features a huge rev counter and the speed reading in the centre, plus it shows torque and turbo-boost bars each side which rise up the harder you accelerate. Such a cool feature to have. The GT’s manual gearstick is a good one. A traditional ball shape, it looks cool with its piano black insert and chrome surround and it’s comfortable to rest your hand on as well.

KIA PRO C'EED GT LCD centre dial

The rest of the cabin is much the same as the normal high-end Kia Cee’d’s, which good quality switchgear, all noiseless and soft-touch. The 7″ touchscreen system for the satellite navigation, and media side of things is an impressive piece of kit. It’s easy to use, the sat nav display and simplicity of use is excellent, showing live where any delays are, which can then be selected to show where exactly to and from the traffic is slow and how long you’ll be delayed for, and also what alternative routes there are. It’s one of the best and most user-friendly systems I’ve come across, in fact.

KIA PRO C'EED GT interior features

If, like me, you’re into your music and like to have a good album pumping out while you’re driving, the GT won’t disappoint, with the speakers giving good bass and clarity, streaming music from your device via either Bluetooth or auxiliary and USB ports. The rear seats are comfortable enough too, with the same nice finish to them as the fronts, while headroom isn’t as constrictive or claustrophobic as you’d guess from looking at the exterior.

KIA PRO C'EED GT Review HDR Rear Seats 2PS-Edit

At 362 litres seats up, and 1,207 litres rear seats down (more if you go for a tyre inflation kit instead of the spare wheel) , boot space is decent in the GT, with a load of useful cubby spaces to store stuff, especially when you lift the boot liner as there’s a tray with more, so you can stow smaller objects to stop them rolling around. Practical then.

KIA PRO C'EED GT boot/trunk space KIA PRO C'EED GT Review Boot/trunk space

All in all, the Kia Pro_Cee’d GT has a lovely interior. I can’t fault it. It’s comfortable, refined, stylish, and loaded with a good amount of tech and gadgets, even as standard. My choice would be this GT Tech version for the heated steering wheel and heated front seats.

Engine and gearbox

The 1.6 litre T-GDi (Turbocharged Gasoline Direct Injection) engine – which drives the front wheels – is a 4-cylinder, 16-valve unit with a twin-scroll turbo, integrated into the exhaust manifold – a design which eliminates turbo lag, apparently. This isn’t a brand-new engine design for the Pro_Cee’d GT, and in fact we’ve already reviewed a car that had it, albeit with less power – the Hyundai Veloster Turbo.

KIA PRO C'EED GT engine bay

Actually, I said in the Veloster review that it needed a tuning package option to make it that bit faster, and the Pro_Cee’d GT’s power is exactly what the Hyundai needs. The 1.6 T-GDi produces 201 bhp at 6,000 rpm, and 196 lb ft (264 Nm) between 1,750 – 4,500 rpm. That’s the same torque as the Hyundai though, weirdly. Over 80% of torque is produced at just 1,750 revs, meaning plenty of low-down kick and great acceleration, even in a higher gear. The GT is offered only with a 6-speed manual currently, but it’s a good transmission with decently set-up ratios.

Official UK miles-per-gallon stats read as 29.1 urban, 46.3 extra urban, and 38.2 combined. I managed around 36 mpg on a 2.5 hour motorway run, and over 40 mpg at forty to fifty miles-per-hour in light, flowing traffic. CO2 emissions are quoted as 171 g/km.

Ready to roll? Let’s drive!

This Kia had better drive well“, I muttered to myself as I slid into the GT’s Recaro seat. I push the starter button once, and the LCD performance GT display in the centre dial flicks into life, the neat ‘Torque’ and ‘Turbo’ displays rising and falling back to zero. I press the clutch down, press the starter once again, and this time the engine fires into life.

I must admit to being a little disappointment though, as there’s nothing dramatic about the start. A very faint growl from the exhausts is about all you’ll get. While I wouldn’t want some awful boy-racer bean-can ‘zorst shouting out constantly, the Pro_Cee’d GT would definitely benefit from a more fruity note from those tailpipes.

KIA PRO C'EED GT rigshot

I slide the gearstick into first, a light clutch movement making it an easy task. Good for town traffic then. Into second, and the GT gets going quickly, with the kind of vitality that gives you an idea that it’s got decent power. Into 3rd gear, and I mentally note how positive the changes are, a decent-enough throw between them, which, although not rally-car short like the Subaru WRX STi 340R has, they’re not as long as the average car either. A good middle ground that suits the Pro_Cee’d GT well enough, I’d say.

I come to a section of road – a beautiful two-lane stretch of spanking-new pristine tarmac, interjected with a couple of roundabouts. It’s quiet, and as I set off from the first roundabout, turning right, I give the GT’s accelerator the boot, the turbo-boost and torque displays pushing up high as the Kia flows forward with gusto.

KIA PRO C'EED GT manual gear stick

The wide road around the roundabout allows plenty of room should I overcook things, but the Pro_Cee’d GT hangs in doggedly, with surprisingly little body roll, the Michelin Pilot Sport 3 tyres gripping the tarmac well. I push much too hard deliberately, to test the GT’s limits, and although the Kia does well for a front-drive car, eventually it gives in by understeering, but it’s easily controllable and almost immediately the electronic traction and stability control cuts in, bringing the GT back in line.

On to the straight, and I give the Kia’s go pedal a hard shove and am rewarded with a satisfying amount of grunty acceleration from the 1.6 turbo. Although the 0 – 60 miles-per-hour time isn’t pants-on-fire fast at 7.4 seconds, the in-gear propulsion is what counts, and the GT will indulge your thirst for speed nicely. As I go through the gears, foot firmly to the floor, I’m aware that the Kia’s forward momentum isn’t brutal or harsh, but glossy and smooth. More refined than ruthless. For your pub-talk information, the Kia will top out at a quoted 143 mph (230 kph).


Another big roundabout comes up quickly, and this time I’m going straight on. The road is angled at a slight camber, giving the GT an advantage. It arrives, and I drop a couple of gears, the needle on the rev counter flicking high before dropping quickly as I brake. The Pro_Cee’d GT handles the bend well, the fully independent suspension coping proficiently as the car shifts its weight from the left side to the right in quick succession, getting back on the straight without being even mildly unsettled.

On a motorway journey, I found the Pro_Cee’d GT settles down into a perfectly decent cruiser, ticking the miles away with little effort. With road and wind noise are notably low, Kia have made it a rather sterling place to be. In fact, on one journey the highest winds to hit the UK in a long time started to batter the car about. We saw vans being pushing from a side-wind so hard that some were having two wheels forced off the ground, and I saw a few huge artic lorries turned over on their sides. The wind was said to be hitting us at 60 – 80 mph from the side, but the Pro_Cee’d GT sat firm and planted, thoroughly behaving itself and needing very little input to the steering wheel, while other drivers could be seen struggling to keep the car straight. A testament to the way this Kia handles itself.

driving the KIA PRO C'EED GT

The brakes are good too; positive and powerful enough to give you a high level of confidence in them, and they’ve got a nice progressive feel to them, rather than being the type that’ll try to throw you through the windscreen each time you tap the pedal. The pointless ‘Flex Steer System’ isn’t on the Pro_Cee’d GT, thankfully, and although I’d prefer a bit more feedback from it, it’s weighted nicely enough and suits the overall drive of the Kia.

Driving the KIA PRO C'EED GT

I have to mention that the GT’s suspension has been really well set-up by the engineers at Kia. The reason I say that is because it not only handles itself with decent ability but also rides well at slower speeds, beautifully absorbing the bumps from the usual nasty potholes, damaged roads and speed humps the council so love to unnecessarily lay down everywhere. Surprising really, as Kia say the handling capabilities were honed by doing over 5,000 miles on the Nürburgring Nordschleife – something that usually means good in the twisty bits, but horrendous in normal driving situations.

All said, the Pro_Cee’d GT rides and drives as I’d expected it to. Kia seem to be good at setting up their car’s handling in general, and the GT’s is really well honed. The 1.6 litre T-GDi engine will give sufficient power and speed to satisfy, but delivers it less excitingly than I’d have liked.


Front view of the KIA PRO C'EED GT

The Kia Pro_Cee’d GT’s price is extremely competitive against rivals – aggressively so, even. It’s superbly well-made, and I can’t fault the interior trim or design. The exterior is super-cool too. You can get the ‘base’ model for a shade under twenty grand – £19,995 on the road, to be precise. The GT Tech is £22,495, and the GT Tech 1st Edition £23,995. The engine power and handling and styling for the base GT is the same as the others, so if your budget doesn’t stretch beyond that, I wouldn’t fret. Personally, I’d pay the £2,500 extra and go for the GT Tech version though, as there’s quite a bit more kit on it over the GT.

The competition includes the Volkswagen Golf GTi 3-door, which starts at £26,125. Add on the same options as the GT Tech (or as close to), and it takes it to over a whopping £29,000. That’s around £6,500 more than the Pro_Cee’d GT Tech. Or another second-hand car for daily-driver use, if you see it like I do. Quite an astounding difference.

Sure, the GTi gets 19 bhp more, and is around 1.5 seconds faster to sixty-two miles-per-hour, but is it £6ks worth of quicker? Nope. The Kia’s interior is as nice as the GTi’s, and I think it looks more interesting than the VW too. Other competition include; Renault Mégane Renaultsport 265 at £25.5K, the Citroën DS4 THP 200 DSport from £24.8K, the Ford Focus ST at just under £22K.

2013 Kia Pro_Cee’d GT Tech verdict & score

Front thee quarter of the KIA PRO C'EED GT

I’m full of praise for the Pro_Cee’d GT. Kia have done very well with their first performance car. It delivers absolutely on overall quality, it is refined, it looks superb, and it rides and drives excellently. The competition are slightly quicker overall, but the Pro_Cee’d GT generally out-prices and out-specs them too. In all honesty, I’d prefer the GT to have more power – 30 – 40 bhp should do it – and more punch in the acceleration too, plus the exhaust could do with having more growl to the tone, but other than that, I’d not change anything.

If you’re in the market for mid-sized performance hatchback, I’m recommending you go and test drive the Kia Pro_Cee’d GT, and I think you’ll be as impressed as I am with it.

Do you own a Kia Pro_Cee’d GT? What are your views on it, and what are the best and worst points? Share your thoughts and leave a comment below!

Exterior  8.5
Interior  8.5
Engine  7.5
Gearbox  7.5
Price  8.5
Drive & ride  8
Overall Score  8 / 10


Model (as tested)  2013 Kia Pro_Cee’d GT Tech
Spec includes  GT Tech model: Heated Recaro leather & (faux)suede sports seats, heated steering wheel, 18″ alloys, ESC, VSM, ABS with EBD and BAS, hill-start assist, front/side/curtain airbags, cruise control, speed limiter, 7″ touchscreen for sat nav & stereo & reverse cam, bluetooth & USB, adaptive auto & cornering Xenon lights, electric heated wing mirrors,  etc See specs for more
Options you should spec  GT Tech model, Phantom Black Metallic paintwork
The Competition  Volkswagen Golf GTi, Renault Mégane Renaultsport 265, Citroën DS4 THP 200 DSport, Ford Focus ST
Price  (Dec. ’13) 3-door: £19,995 – £23,995 O.T.R
Engine  1.6 litre T-GDi (Turbocharged Gasoline Direct Injection), 4-cylinder, 16-valve, Twin-scroll turbo
Power, Torque, CO2  201 bhp @ 6,000 rpm, 196 lb ft (264 Nm) between 1,750 – 4,500 rpm | CO2: 171 g/km
Drive, Gears (as tested)  Front wheel drive | 6-speed manual
Top Speed, 0 – 60 mph, Euro NCAP  Max speed: 143 mph | 0 – 60 mph: 7.4 seconds | Euro NCAP rating: Normal Cee’d gets 5-stars. Pro_Cee’d GT shouldn’t be any different.
Fuel economy (UK mpg)  Urban: 29.1, Extra urban: 46.3, Combined: 38.2
Weight (kerb)  1,359 kilograms (2,996 lbs)
Websites  Kia UK, Kia USA, Kia Worldwide

Check out our other car reviews Words: Chris Davies | Tested by: Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies, Jason FanthorpeMatthew Davies

4 responses to “Kia Pro_Cee’d GT Tech Review – First Performance Car From Kia is Actually Very Good!”

  1. Ben

    I did actually go and test drive the GT Tech (twice) along with a myriad of other cars. To cut a long story short, my GT Tech in metallic white will arrive in April!

    Although you say it needs a bit more HP under the hood, for someone like me who hasn’t owned a fast car before (my current car is the fastest I’ve owned, a 109BHP Diesel) this car feels like an absolute rocket ship to me. On my second test drive the salesman actually encouraged me to stick it in 3rd on the motorway and slam my foot into the floor – the acceleration from 50 to 85 was tantalizing, for lack of a better word – far, FAR better than the Leon SC FR and A-Class I also tested that same day.

    This review is the one that finally pushed me to test drive the Kia (along with AE), since it feels genuine, rather than sounding like you were paid by VW and/or Ford to spit on the thing and promote their products instead.


  2. Ben

    True, it does need to be viewed with the competition in order to be fair.

    I get what you mean about it looking like an incredibly potent machine as well, like its ready to snarl and pounce on the unsuspecting driver in the outside lane. Considering what Kia are doing right now with concepts like the GT4 Stinger and even the Kia-Lotus Race, a Pro_Cee’d GT ‘R’ doesn’t seem that far-fetched an idea. But I’m jumping to conclusions too quickly, lets see if they get the rumoured Rio GT out the door first (now THAT would be something!)

    -Ben 🙂

  3. Zaman

    The pro_cee’d GT is brilliant, I had the opportunity to test exactly the same press car as you guys and absolutely fell in love with it. My GT is now due for arrival in March on a 15 plate in Track Red. Can’t wait!

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