With a back end that bears more than a passing resemblance to a Porsche Panamera, the Proceed shooting brake is a sign Kia is putting the boxy, cheap-looking designs of a decade ago behind its.
The last Ceed and Proceed model was a big seller for the Korean manufacturer and there’s enough belief in the brand that as well as the more traditional Ceed estate, Ceed five-door hatchback and the now industry standard crossover-styled version - the XCeed - the attractive shooting brake version got the nod from execs as well.
Our GT-Line test car, with two-tone cloth and synthetic leather seats, synthetic leather steering wheel, and a long list of driver assistance, active and passive safety features and comfort tech is an impressively high-end feeling package at a mid-market price point. A similarly priced Ford Focus, still the class leader in sales at the time of writing, will have a significantly shorter list of standard equipment unless you start pushing the price up by hammering the options list.
And unlike the latest Focus, the Proceed boasts independent multi-link suspension across the range, rather than just on higher specification models. The ride is firm and at higher speeds this translates to a controlled and sporty feel. Compared with the standard Ceed model the Proceed has stiffer springs and it has been lowered by 5mm.
Around town, predictably, that sportier set up means that it can feel a little rough and ready over broken potholes and patched up cobbles but in terms of driver comfort that’s more than offset by some rather comfortable seats - although my view on these may be skewed favourably due to the fact I had been squeezing myself into a Fiesta ST with seats designed by a complete sadist prior to picking up the Kia.
Despite the sporty appearance and handling, the engine powering our test car is a fairly conservative 134bhp diesel offering. The 1.6 turbo powerplant in the GT model looks a tastier proposition. With a 10-second nought to 60 time our diesel demonstrator felt far from quick, which was a shame, although if you ditch the six-speed manual for the seven-speed DSG you can shave a couple of milliseconds from that time.
The car didn’t feel under-powered as such, it handled the motorway comfortably and around the town it felt sprightly enough but the engine failed to fan the flames of desire so artfully kindled by the faux Porsche aesthetic.
What it did do was deliver some impressive fuel economy figures. Over the course of a week-long test packed with city drives and longer, cross-country cruises I saw an average figure of 54mpg (not far off the listed figure of 56) and barely drained half of the fuel tank.
With a comfortable cabin, a big list of standard equipment and strong economy, the Proceed could be a popular option for business drivers and anyone with a long commute. Families might prefer the extra space afforded by the traditional estate car but, if you don’t need to haul loads of luggage, the Proceed is the pick of the Ceed line up.
Kia Proceed GT-Line
Price: £25,470; Engine: 1.6-litre, four-cylinder, diesel; Power: 134bhp; Torque: 178lb/ft; Transmission: Six-speed manual; Top speed: 124mph; 0-60mph: 10 seconds; Economy: 56.5mpg; CO2 emissions: 131g/km