There was a general consensus at the UK launch of the redesigned Kia ProCeed – now a ‘shooting brake’ rather than a three-door hatchback – (a) it looks great, especially from the rear three-quarter view (as it whistles past on the motorway), (b) build and materials quality is Germany-challenging (guess where much of the design is done?), (c) performance is excellent, (d) handling and ride are also Germany-challenging and (e) it can, at a first, quick glance, be mistaken for a Porsche Panamera.

I’d already had a crack at the redesigned Ceed back in August so had a fair idea what to expect of this new derivative with the new rear haunches (a wagon has also since been launched) but was surprised at just how good the lengthened five-door body looks. A full-width, LED rear lamp ‘signature’ makes the model very distinctive, and that, plus the tail lamp shape and some clever badging add to the ‘was that a Panamera that just passed us?’ illusion.

This new variant shares only its bonnet and front wings with the Ceed five-door hatchback and the UK will get six variants based on three engines, two transmissions and three trim lines.

Like earlier launched Ceeds, it was designed, developed and engineered in Frankfurt, Germany, and is manufactured at the brand’s Zilina factory in Slovakia.

Only sporty GT-Line, GT-Line S (my pick) or high-performance GT trim levels will be offered.

Designed to have a coupe-like profile, the ProCeed is lower and longer than both the Ceed five-door hatchback and Sportswagon yet is still easy to get in and out of and, with split fold rear seats and a power tailgate on some variants, quite versatile.

As Kia said: “Where the Ceed Sportswagon majors on practicality, the ProCeed provides couples or young families with the space and versatility of a wagon, combined with an emotive, swept-back design. Where focusing on one of these normally compromises the other, the ProCeed is the first car in the mainstream segment to combine both.”

Why five doors instead of the predecessor’s three?

Gregory Guillaume, VP Design, Kia Motors Europe said: “Europe’s shrinking market for three-door hatchbacks brought the future of the pro_cee’d in question. But it was equally inconceivable that we would simply kill off the pro_cee’d. It was not just the name we gave to our three-door cee’d – it meant so much more than that. It embodies all Kia’s values of youthful dynamism, of emotional engagement, and of design-led desirability.

“We needed to reinvent the pro_cee’d to ensure that all that vitality and vibrancy wasn’t simply lost. It had to be a model that not only sat at the top of the current Ceed family, but one that was also immediately identifiable as the most emotionally engaging car in the range. The result is the striking all-new ProCeed.”

Though every panel aft of the front pillars is new, the ‘tiger nose’ grille and wide lower air intake, castellated windscreen, and the brand’s current mix of taut creases and curvaceous sheet metal remain. ‘Ice cube’ LED daytime running lights are standard, echoing the appearance of earlier GT-Line and GT models. Taut creases run the length of the car, trailing from the headlamps to the tailgate to extend its visual length. It carries over the window line from a 2017 concept car, including the acutely angled chrome ‘Sharkblade’, emphasising the roofline. Its steeply raked rear window separates it from its siblings in the Ceed model family, as well as other cars in its class. The rear windscreen of the Sportswagon is angled at 50.9° off-vertical while the five-door hatch windscreen sits at 52.4°. A defining element of its coupé-like shape, the rear window on the ProCeed is more horizontal, angled at 64.2° off-vertical.

At 4,605mm long, the ProCeed is 5mm longer than the Sportswagon, with a longer 885mm front overhang. At 1,422mm in height, its roofline sits 43mm lower than that of the Sportswagon, while ground clearance is reduced by 5mm, to 135mm. Constructed on the same ‘K2’ platform as other Ceed models, the 2,650mm wheelbase and, 1,800mm width remain unchanged.

Combined with its lower overall height, the new wide rear bumper is intended to give the car an assertive, sporty stance, with dual tip exhausts (dependent on grade). The ProCeed name is spelled out in capitals across the centre of the tailgate, beneath LED tail-lights which span the width of the tailgate, giving the car a unique light signature.

From launch, the ProCeed will be available in a choice of seven paint finishes. The GT-Line will have 17-inch alloy wheels, while GT-Line S and GT model feature 18-inch wheels as standard.

Inside is much the same as the Ceed with the high-quality soft-touch surfaces, metallic trim, and a horizontal dashboard layout and the ‘floating’ touchscreen infotainment system at the centre of the dashboard just about everyone has now, with audio and heating and ventilation controls below. The fit and finish impressed just as much as in the Ceed, approaching German levels.

The ProCeed has black instead of grey roof lining and the door sills have metallic scuff plates. The D-shaped leather-trimmed steering wheel is standard and dual-clutch auto transmission versions get new metal alloy steering wheel paddles.

The ProCeed has different front seats, depending on specification. For the GT-Line, the standard seats feature black cloth and light grey faux leather. In the GT-Line S the standard seats feature larger side bolsters than those found in the conventional Ceed and Sportswagon and are trimmed in black leather and faux suede with grey stitching. Seats in the GT model have the same side supports as the GT-Line S and are finished in black leather and faux suede with red stitching and a GT logo.

For rear passengers, the lower hip-point (compared to Ceed and Sportswagon models) offsets the effects of the ProCeed’s lower roofline, creating adequate head and leg room.

Kia claims the ProCeed has more luggage capacity than many conventional compact family estate cars – and even many tourers from classes above. With 594 litres (VDA), the boot is 50% more capacious than that of the Ceed five-door hatchback. With no boot lip and a lower ride height than the Sportswagon, the low lift-over height of the Shooting Brake tailgate also makes it easier to load and unload.

Versatility features mirror the Ceed wagon. On ‘GT-Line S’ grades this includes 40:20:40 split-fold rear seats, folded by a lever just inside the tailgate. GT-Line and GT versions have a 60:40 fold. An underfloor storage area can stow smaller items and the boot features a bag hook to prevent groceries and other items rolling around the load bay. The smart power tailgate on the GT-Line S model opens automatically when it detects the ProCeed’s smart key in close proximity to the tailgate, for occasions when users’ hands are full with heavy cargo. The load bay features a net to secure small items while the GT-Line S grade has a luggage floor rail system as well.

Built around the same all-independent suspension system found in the Ceed and Ceed Sportswagon, the ProCeed has a unique tune to provide with agile and immediate handling responses, close body control under cornering, and a blend of comfort and stability at high speeds.

The ride height – for both GT and GT-Line models – is 5mm lower than the Ceed and Sportswagon, with spring and damper rates tailored to accommodate its shooting brake dimensions and cab-rearward design.

There’s no one-litre turbo I3 so the ProCeed GT-Line is available with a choice of two engines. The petrol option is the new Kappa 1.4-litre T-GDi power unit, which produces 138bhp. The engine’s turbocharger ensures its 242Nm torque output is available over a wide 1,500 to 3,200rpm band and it is fitted with a gasoline particulate filter to reduce tailpipe emissions, beyond the requirements of the Euro 6d TEMP emissions standards. Six-speed manual transmission is standard and a Hyundai Korea-made seven-speed auto dual-clutch transmission (DCT) is optional.

The GT-Line S is only available with the 1.4 T-GDi engine with seven-speed auto Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT).

Buyers can also order a new Smartstream 1.6-litre CRDi (Common-Rail Direct injection) diesel engine paired with six-speed manual or seven-speed DCT. It produces 280Nm with manual transmission and 320Nm with DCT and uses Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) emissions control technology.

Marking the return of Kia’s high-performance GT model, the ProCeed GT is powered by a 1.6-litre T-GDi engine, identical to that found in the Ceed GT. Producing 201bhp and 265Nm, it also comes with DCT. All DCT versions offer Normal and Sport modes – on the GT this alters exhaust note to give a lovely (but not too loud) ‘drainpipe’ sound perfect for annoying the neighbours as you sneak home at 2am.

Infotainment includes navigation and Kia Connected Services powered by TomTom, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The GT-Line S has an eight speaker JBL Premium sound system with Clari-Fi music restoration technology and wireless mobile phone charging.

Standard kit includes Bluetooth smartphone integration, automatic headlights, rain sensing wipers, heated front seats and smart entry system, front wiper de-icer, electrically folding, adjustable and heated door mirrors, reversing camera with rear parking sensors and heated steering wheel. A wireless smartphone charger, electric wide sunroof, heated outer rear seats and a smart power tailgate are added to the ‘GT-Line S’ model.

In addition to six standard airbags, advanced driver assistance technologies further enhance occupant protection, using active safety systems to mitigate the risk of collisions. Standard safety technologies include High Beam Assist (HBA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) with Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist – City (FCA). Pedestrian detection is standard on all manual versions and GT-Line S and as part of an optional Advanced Driving Assistance Pack (ADAP) on DCT versions of GT-Line and GT.

Fitted as standard to the GT-Line S model, Lane Following Assist detects road markings to help keep the ProCeed 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 Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Speed Limit Information System (SLIF), Blind Spot Collision Warning (BCW), Smart Parking Assist System (SPAS), and pedestrian detection with haptic steering wheel warnings for the Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist system (FCA).

Every also has Vehicle Stability Management (VSM). VSM ensures stability when braking and cornering by controlling the car’s Electronic Stability Control (ESC) if it detects a loss of traction.

Prices range from GBP23,835 to GBP28,685.

Overall this new version of the Ceed line is very impressive. It is very good to drive and offers a great mix for a family of sporty ‘coupe’ and estate car in one package. All versions also come very well equipped with many items that would be options on European brand rivals. My pick would be the dripping-with-equipment 1.4-litre GT-Line S but those after more performance (and exhaust note) would forgo a few equipment items like glass roof and power tailgate and pick the 1.6-litre GT. Add in the unique seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty and the ProCeed makes a fine case for itself. And you can pretend it’s really a Porsche.