A weekend long roller derby tournament up in Birmingham was the perfect excuse to offer as many people we could fit into the Kia a lift, to really test some of the features that the daily commute just doesn’t allow.
The journey started with a sprint up the M40 to pick up the first of our passengers from work. Not knowing exactly where they would be meant using the handy Bluetooth hands free system while driving around trying to locate them. Connecting is easy, following the easy to understand pairing procedure, and then just leaving the Bluetooth on means the phone or mp3 player are always ready to attach when you get into the car. Once on the move, you can access the phone via the car’s steering wheel controls, avoiding the risk of picking up some points from the local Constabulary. I have, however, noticed that changing the primary device means having to navigate a few menu screens, but once that’s sorted, its plain sailing once more.
Boot capacity was tested to its absolute limits, what with five person’s luggage for three days, food and a few cheeky drinks for the evening, plus the odd camping chair for good measure – it just seemed to swallow everything up. No bags had to sit on anyone’s lap because they’d overpacked, which was a great relief. With 380 litres available, it’s more generous than a Volkswagen Scirocco and matches the generous sizing of the SEAT Leon SC. It even sneaks a couple of litres advantage on its sibling, the Hyundai i30.
Once everyone was strapped in, it was time to tackle the M42 and M6 on a Friday evening, which as could be expected, didn’t go according to plan. Heavy traffic meant it was impossible to achieve a healthy pace, so the cruise control sat there untouched as the mpg started tumbling away in the stop-start atmosphere. When the satellite navigation system offered an alternative route to avoid more traffic further along our journey, we jumped at the chance only to find even more congestion. Turning a negative into a positive, the extra half an hour in the car gave the chance to test the tolerance of the three passengers in the back and I’m happy to report that everyone survived, and some even managed a quick power nap to boot. Despite the pro_cee’d’s sporty exterior appearance, it’s actually a relaxing car to travel in, thanks to a suspension set-up that shuns the traditionally harsh spring rate that a sporty car usually has, in favour of something altogether more comfortable and cosetting.
Normally with a car packed to the gills, the engine will struggle, but the 126bhp 1.6-litre CRDi engine, found under the bonnet, handled the extra weight with ease and the extra exertion was hardly noticed. It makes a happy companion as a motorway mile muncher and surprised all of our passengers at just how comfortable a three-door medium hatchback can be.
|Whats Hot:||The boot capacity is a healthy 380 litres, with the temporary spare wheel in place, which seems generous for a sporty three-door car.|
|Whats Not:||The rear window isnít very big – not a problem when reversing using the handy camera – but more of a problem for general awareness when wanting to overtake on the motorway.|
|Date arrived:||17th March 2014|
|Mileage to date:||3,739 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||65.7mpg (official combined)
47.3mpg (on test)