Kia proceeds with an upmarket interior

Kia proceeds with an upmarket interior

Remember the days when Kia was the butt of jokes? How things have changed. From the funky Soul to the hybrid Niro to the flagship Stinger, all have helped lift the Korean carmaker's position in the global market place.  Meet the third and latest member of the Kia Ceed family: ProCeed, an estate car that's impersonating a coupe. Carrying the name over from the second-generation pro_cee'd three-door coupé, the ProCeed is a product of Kia's European design, product development and R&D teams. Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we slipped inside to see what distinguishes it aside from the punctuation.

Built in Europe

The ProCeed is manufactured at the brand's Žilina production facility in Slovakia, alongside the Kia Ceed and Ceed Sportswagon, introduced last year. The story of Žilina goes back to the mid-2000s, when Kia established a policy of building cars in and for the markets where they were to be sold, wherever possible. In Europe that meant mid-sized three- and five-door hatchbacks and an estate to compete in the all-important C-sector. But it also opened up the possibility for the Korean automaker's compact crossover, the Sportage, to be made closer to its European customer base. 

As part of an expanded Ceed model family, the automaker expects the ProCeed to play a key role in its ongoing European growth. Some 1.3 million examples of the Ceed family have been sold in Europe since 2006.

Proceeding to the interior

On the outside, the ProCeed has an undeniably striking, handsome presence with its raked-back silhouette (aka sleek 'shooting brake' estate bodystyle). Having warmed to this model, the cabin features the same ergonomic layout as its Ceed compatriots.

The dash itself is split into an upper area – incorporating an eight-inch touchscreen standing out from the dash – and lower level, housing logically laid out buttons and dials to operate the audio and HVAC, thereby making it easy to adjust things while on the move. The touchscreen operates the Kia Connected Services powered by TomTom. The system is easy enough to fathom, enabling smartphone mirroring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Kia offers its three top trim levels on the ProCeed, namely the GT-Line, GT-Line S and top-drawer GT, further distinguishing it from the Ceed Sportswagen. Regardless of trim level, the ProCeed interior has wrap-around soft-touch materials with metallic or satin chrome trim surfaces.

Creature comforts on our GT-Line press review include heated front seats, heated leather D-cut steering wheel with grey stitching, smart entry system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, a front wiper de-icer, all-round power windows, power-folding, heated door mirrors and a reversing camera with rear parking sensors. Both the driver and front passenger have a seat height adjuster, together with power lumbar support. Cubby holes are in abundance. The grey roof lining of the Ceed and Sportswagon is replaced with black cloth, and the door sills feature metallic scuff plates. A reversing camera with dynamic guidelines is integrated into the centre fascia screen, along with the fitment of rear parking sensors. The spec list goes on.

In the luggage department, the ProCeed has a capacity of 594 litres, a little less than the Ceed Sportswagon's boot at 625 litres. The GT-Line rear seats fold down in a 60:40 fashion, liberating 1,465 litres of load space.

There is a dual height luggage area floor with parcel shelf to hide luggage and valuables. Beneath the removable storage tray is an actual spare wheel instead of a 'tyre mobility kit'. The GT-Line S apparently offers a powered tailgate that opens automatically when the smart key is detected in close proximity to the tailgate.

A pair of 12-volt power sockets and a USB fast charger were found in the front centre console and are illuminated to make it easier to use at night. Cupholders are located in the rear armrest and front centre console with a rather neat sliding cover.

While forward visibility around relatively thin A-pillars is good, over-the-shoulder view out of the back is limited due to the sloping roofline and shallow rear window and thick rear pillars. Rear parking sensors and a camera do compensate here.

Advanced driver assistance systems

While self-driving cars are not yet available to the public, more and more models across all segments are offering some form of advanced assistance to the driver. The ProCeed bristles with standard ADAS technologies, including high beam assist, driver attention warning, lane keeping assist and forward collision-avoidance assist (FCA).

The ProCeed is also available with lane following assist which detects road markings to help keep the car in the centre of its lane on the motorway, and controls acceleration, braking and steering. The system uses external sensors to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front, operating between 0 and 81mph.

Dependent on grade, additional available technologies include a speed limit information system, blind-spot collision warning, smart parking assist system, and pedestrian detection with haptic steering wheel warnings for the FCA system.

On the road

The ProCeed is a good-looking car that is soothing, rather than exciting, to drive. A comfortable and spacious place to sit on long journeys, its well-equipped cockpit incorporates everything where you expect to find it. While it may have a new name, its role as a sleek estate - shifting stuff from one side of the country to the other - worked perfectly. Our press review 1.6 CRDi diesel unit paired with a six-speed manual gearbox averaged 60.2 miles to the gallon, above that compared to the headline figure of 56.5 mpg combined.

Few can deny that Kia has come a long way in a short period. Its seven-year/100,000-mile warranty alone is a clear demonstration of the carmaker's faith in the quality and reliability of its products. No one is laughing at Kia now.