IT is not really surprising that South Korean car manufacturer Kia won the best car maker of the year award last year along with 19 other top awards in the UK for their latest impressive range of cars with that unique seven year warranty writes Bryan Longworth.
For it is only 22 years since Kia started selling cars in the UK with just one modest model and it was several years before they became established in the UK as more models were introduced and their reputation was enhanced with sales reaching record levels.
Now the company which has a new car factory in Slovakia has established a reputation for producing quality and attractive cars like the Kia Procee’d which is one of the most attractive cars in its class.
It was after visiting the Slovakian factory and following their decision to hire Peter Schreyer from Audi as their design chief that I became convinced of the ambitions of Kia to become one of the world’s top car manufacturers.
Since then Schreyer has gone on to weave his magic on several new Kia models including the Procee’d which is one of the best looking small cars in the world and the GT version has now added to its appeal.
I have just been taking another look at the Procee’d which is a very stylish three door coupe that also has a classy interior and that has very enjoyable driving and handling characteristics.
My test car was the 1.6 CRDI SE Eco costing £20,595 powered by a 1.6-litre diesel engine with vital statistics of a top speed of 122mph a zero to 60mph time of 10.5 seconds and a combined fuel consumption of 65.7mpg.
As is often the case with three door coupe type cars they often look better than the five door models and the Procee’d is no exception because it is an extremely attractive car which Kia say adds a sense of emotion and dynamism to the range.
It was shod with really cool eye catching 17 inch alloy wheels and I appreciated the projection headlights and cornering lights plus the kerbside lights on the door mirrors and the illuminated exterior door handles.
Inside there is a premium look and feel about this Kia especially with the seating and trim plus the fascia and the very user friendly controls and instruments with a good sized rear load area although there is no spare wheel.
The six speed manual gearbox felt a bit notchy when I first started driving the test car but I soon got used to the gear shifting and it helped to provide an enjoyable driving experience linked to the steering and handling qualities of the car.
Overall performance was very pleasing but I look forward to shortly driving the GT hot hatch version which has the extra power to really match the sleek sporty styling provided by Peter Schreyer.
My Verdict: Kia continue to proceed to the top.
Model: Kia Procee’d 1.6 CRDI SE Eco.
Engine: Four cylinder diesel.
Output: 126bhp @ 4000rpm.
Transmission: Six speed manual.
Top speed: 122mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 60mph 10.5 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 65.7mpg combined.
C02 emissions: 112g/km.