Most people associate KIA with vehicles such as the best selling Sportage SUV; however there is a sporty side to the brand with the eye-catching ProCeed GT; a very sleek well proportioned hatchback easily distinguished by a number of red highlights, body coloured bumpers, high gloss black door mirrors, the same finish for the rear spoiler, LED bi-function headlights and a nice touch exterior front door handle illumination.

Providing the power is a four cylinder engine of 1,591cc which delivers a maximum power output of 201bhp matched to a seven speed automatic transmission with a Sport mode. I found this combination worked well and added to the overall enjoyment of the drive. Translated into performance rest to 100kph (62mph) in 7.2 seconds and on to a top speed just short of 240kph (149mph). Many would certainly agree that it is never enough to simply add a GT badge and some manufacturers often do; not so with this South Korean carmaker, yes it deserves to adorn the GT badge, but in my opinion it has yet some way to go to challenge similar offerings from Ford and Volkswagen and for sure we acknowledge that the Golf GTi has been, and continues to be, the benchmark in this class. KIA will get there to offer a serious challenge and those who opt for the ProCeed GT will certainly not be disappointed as it is a good all rounder. The blend of performance and abundance of creature comforts will appeal to many.

I spent seven days with the car, during which I encountered a variety of roads in my three counties test exercise (Armagh, Tyrone and Fermanagh) with many rural roads proving ideal to sample the handling and comfort of this Kia. Indeed, many of the minor roads I drove were akin to a rally special stage, just the job for such a car. The set up consists of front suspension, independent Macpherson strut with coil spring and anti-roll bar while the rear set up, independent multi and trailing arm with anti-roll bar, a well tried arrangement which delivers a firm ride. I did feel the many bumps which I encountered, but being a GT the word forgiveness comes to mind. Regards the steering, rack and pinion with electric driven power assistance which many may feel strange at first, it works well. I have driven a number of cars with this system and I have got used to it. Braking power, no complaints in this department, reassuring with ventilated discs.

Regardless of which ever KIA model your budget stretches to, value for money is always a key factor, they offer a well equipped range of cars and the ProCeed GT offers just about everything you would expect from the modern car. The interior is well appointed: highlights include heated steering wheel and front seats, electronic parking brake, dual auto air conditioning, a very useful auto defog system and steering wheel mounted controls. Full marks for the flat bottomed steering wheel.

Ian Lynas