In a phenomenal paradigm shift, todayís fashion conscious have selected high-riding family cars as the ëmust haveí driveway accessory. Car manufacturers clocked this spike in demand and have obliged by providing an SUV in every conceivable shape or size. However, this mass ëkeeping up with the Jonesesí exercise has resulted in those wishing to stand out from the crowd, regularly forgetting which SUV is theirs in a car park. The solution to all of this, as is often the case in the world of fashion, comes from the past.
This is our new long-term Kia ProCeed, and itís a shooting brake ñ a form factor popularised in sporting grand tourers of the 1960s and ë70s. In a nutshell, a shooting brake combines the dramatic swooping rear of a coupÈ with the added practicality of an estate car.
The previous ProCeed took the form of a hot three-door hatchback, but in this reincarnation, Kia has decided to take a gamble, aiming to thrust this handsome shape back into the public consciousness. Judging by the number of curtains twitching upon its arrival back home, Iíd say Kia are really onto something.
The ProCeed retains the sophisticated front fascia of its hatchback sibling, complete with distinctive Tiger Nose grille and ëice cubeí daytime running lights. Its latter proportions differ from the more traditional Ceed Sportswagon estate thanks to a sloping roofline and sculpted rear end. Finished in a shade called ëDark Penta Metalí this carís rather seductive silhouette is akin to that of luxury performance cars. Interestingly, the car it has been most likened to is the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo ñ so no bad thing.
GT-Line trim is the only option for those seeking a diesel engine, but this kits out the car with much of the equipment youíd ever want. The surprisingly low-slung cabin plays host to sportily bolstered heated seats, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, automatic wipers and headlights, cruise control and a heated sports steering wheel for those particularly chilly days. The cabin itself is full of premium soft-touch materials and gloss finishes that give it an upmarket feel. A large, responsive, and easy to use infotainment screen dominates the centre console, providing access to digital radio stations and a navigation system. As standard it also supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The cabin earns top marks for ergonomics with a healthy, but not cluttered, level of switchgear on the console for core functions, such as the dual-zone climate control.
Rear passengers are treated to respectable amounts of leg space and a commendable level of headroom, especially considering the sloping roofline. Three can be seated on the rear bench with the middle occupant unburdened by what would be the traditional hump in the floor. The ProCeed is a comfortable place to be, with my only criticism being that the black headliner combined with the rakish privacy glasshouse means that the cabin does lack some natural light, something that a glass panoramic roof would solve.
Boot space is a very healthy 594 litres, just 31 litres less than the Sportswagon. Thereís not much of a boot lip, making the loading of bulky items easy, and its plentiful underfloor storage is quite impressive. However, the steeply raked rear does eat into boot height and limits rear visibility. Thankfully, a reversing camera is standard on all models.
Initial driving impressions are good, with the diesel engine proving refined in motion and torquey enough for strong overtaking manoeuvres on the motorway. The suspension is maybe a little firmer than you might expect, however, it is far from boneshaking. In fact, itís this sporty setup that also contributes to the ProCeedís impressive composure when driven with vigour ñ something that weíll be exploring further on these pages soon.
Date arrived 21st February 2019
Fuel economy 56.5
Subdivided compartments under the boot floor prevents the premature scrambling of eggs.
The navigation system is sometimes oblivious to traffic jams.