Review and road test of the Kia pro_cee'd (2015-2018)
A PRACTICAL PRO
By Jonathan Crouch
In this improved second generation post-2015 guise, Kia's pro_cee'd further sharpened its proposition in the affordable coupe segment, with smarter looks, extra technology and the option of clever three cylinder petrol power. A more sharply-orientated top turbo GT flagship variant aimed to snare performance people, but it was the lower-powered pro_cee'd models that made the sales numbers, cars blessed with reasonable running costs, spacious practicality and a very good after sales package. Potentially then, there's a lot to like here.
3dr coupe (1.6 diesel, 1.0, 1.4, 1.6 petrol, 1.6 petrol turbo)
Back in 2008, the smartly-styled pro_cee'd coupe was one of the key cars that changed the public perception of Kia. That original 'ED' version was replaced by a second generation 'JD'-series model in 2012, a design which was then facelifted in 2015 to create the car we're going to evaluate here as a used buy.
What changed with this revised car? Well, humbler petrol models got a freshly developed 1.0-litre three cylinder ecoTurbo engine. The diesel variant gained an efficiently slick-shifting dual-clutch automatic gearbox. And this top GT sporting model got re-tuned suspension and steering for a sportier feel. All of this was garnished with slightly sleeker exterior looks, plus buyers got a minor cabin upgrade that improved the infotainment set-up. This car sold until early 2019, when it was replaced by a third generation ProCeed model that morphed into a five-door 'Fastback' estate.
What You Get
Back in 2008, opinion was divided as to whether the first generation pro_cee'd model was actually a coupe at all. Many simply saw it as a three-door version of the ordinary cee'd family hatchback. Some will still view this second generation version in the same way, but it's certainly much sleeker and much more of a bodystyle in its own right, with the roof, the body sides and the rear end completely redesigned to suit a coupe clientele.
Behind the wheel, changes made to this improved second generation model include chromed highlights around the air vents and the electric window switches. More significant were the enhancements to the bright centre-dash 7-inch colour infotainment touchscreen you get on top variants. Partnership with Tom Tom enables the system to offer things like speed camera location warnings and live updates on traffic and weather. Getting into the rear is made easier by front doors that are 270mm longer than those in the five-door cee'd - though that might be a problem in tight parking spaces..
Once there, thanks to a wheelbase length identical to that of the five-door cee'd, space for a couple of adults is reasonable on all but the longest journeys. Out back, there's the same 380-litre boot you'd get on the five-door model. The 1210-litre total capacity you get when the seats are flattened is only 93-litres less than you'd have in a five-door cee'd.
What to Look For
The pro_cee'd has proven an extremely reliable car, with both petrol engines and the diesel motor scoring well in reliability surveys. In our ownership survey, we came across a report of a steering lock sticking. And another of a flashing airbag light and a flashing oil pressure light (traced to a faulty sensor). One owner needed both headlights replaced due to the failure of the LED daytime running lamps. We came across that more than once, so check the DRLs on the car you're looking at. Another reported that a sticking brake calliper caused the front brake pads to wear unevenly. That owner also observed that the front passenger seat refused to stay at its chosen height. One owner complained of short jerks in low gears in traffic on a 1.6 GDi DCT auto model. Apparently, the 'diamond cut' alloy wheels on the top GT model blister easily. Otherwise, it's just the usual stuff. Check the alloys for scuffs. The interior for child damage. And insist on a fully stamped-up service history.
(approx based on a 2015 pro_cee'd 1.6 CRDi ex VAT) An air filter will be priced at around £9-£15, an oil filter will sit in the £7 to £14 bracket and fuel filter costs in the £9-£27 bracket. a radiator will be priced at around £150-£160. For a pair of front brake discs, you're looking at paying in the £60 to £95 bracket, with a pair of rear discs costing up to around £38-£60. A pair of front brake pads are around £20-£65, while a pair of rear pads sit in the £15 to £25 bracket for a set, though you could pay £45-£50 for a pricier brand. A rear shock absorber is around £20. And a wiper blade can cost anything between £5-£30.
On the Road
There are two kinds of pro_cee'd driving experience and it's very much horses for courses. If you've opted for the top turbo GT version, you get a potent 201bhp 1.6-litre petrol turbo engine that'll power you to 62mph in just 7.7s to the accompaniment of the rorty engine note that's generated by the 'electric sound generator' that Kia has added to this improved model. This revised GT variant also gets more powerful brakes and a sportier suspension. Most pro_cee'd customers though, opt for one of the volume versions aimed at people who want the style of this car without the extremes of speed that could potentially come with it.
These people almost certainly won't mind the relatively modest performance on offer from the five mainstream engines that Kia offered at the launch of this revised second generation model. By far the most interesting of these is the three cylinder 1.0-litre eco Turbo petrol unit that's offered with either 98 or 118bhp. At the launch of this improved MK2 model pro_cee'd, Kia also included two of its older petrol engines in the line-up, a 98bhp 1.4 and a 133bhp 1.6. Diesel drivers meanwhile are targeted by a 1.6-litre CRDi variant with an output boosted to 134bhp. It comes with the option of the Korean brand's dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Stick to a manual shift in a CRDi derivative and the stats suggest you should be able to achieve 74.3mpg on the combined cycle and 99g/km of CO2.
In buying an affordable used coupe, you might expect to have to select between style and practicality. In other words, a choice between a slightly smarter version of a three-door hatchback with decent space. Or a lower, slinkier model that'd be eye-catching in your driveway but pretty useless for either rear seat passengers or luggage. First and second generation versions of this pro_cee'd model though, showed themselves to be pretty adept at combining style with sensibility - something very evident with this car in its improved second generation guise.
In fact, we reckon this car is the real deal. Most versions are reasonably priced and all look great and are well equipped and solidly built. Plus we're impressed by the fizzy but efficient 1.0-litre ecoTurbo petrol engine we'd certainly recommend you try in this updated model. In short, what we have here is, once again, a Korea move for the better.
Kia pro_cee'd (2015-2018) review by Jonathan Crouch