This new Kia just got its bad attitude delivered, by a dump truck!. The Geneva Motor Show sees the launch of the new Kia Pro Cee’d GT – the fastest Kia ever – and it goes on show from Tuesday this week. They say it will rival the best Europe-tuned hot hatches, like the Ford Focus ST and Vauxhall Astra VXR.
Well, for a start, as much as this new Kia Pro Cee’d GT looks the hot-hatch-part with its angry face and aggressive lines, with ‘just’ 201bhp onboard, it’ll need to be pretty darn dynamic to take on the handling might – and not just power – of the 246bhp Focus ST and 276bhp Astra VXR. Now you might recognise the Kia Cee’d from the Top Gear test track, but that’s the ordinary Cee’d; this is the hottest GT model. We’d like to see those stars smokin’ this Kia through Gambon!
Now, there’s plenty to look at when the 2013 Geneva Motor Show opens its doors, especially from the hot-but-not-outrageously-expensive end of the market – the new VW Golf GTI and a convertible concept of the Toyota GT86. Of course, there’s still the crazy-fast and platinum-expensive side of car life with the public debut of the the £866,000 McLaren P1 ubercar.
But, with this new Kia joining the European-tuned-fray, that’s cars that were made in Europe for use by real drivers, i.e.; us lot in the UK who love a hot hatch more than any other Euro market – it’s even more about the new, circa £20k hot hatch big hitters at Geneva. As much bang for your buck as you can get, basically.
Right now, with 246bhp of torquey 2-litre turbocharged petrol power; it’s pretty much the Ford Focus ST that leads the way in hot hatch land; based on price, speed, chassis performance and kit levels. We at Motor-Vision haven’t driven the new Golf GTI as yet, or this new Kia GT – few have – but we have driven the ST and VXR and know at full tilt that they are both very capable cars.
The Astra VXR is a touch more of a weapon than the Focus ST, but it is more expensive. We like the Renault Renaultsport Megane 265 Cup we drove the other day too, but this is a touch dearer still and pretty hardcore-feeling. There’s nothing wrong with hardcore, mind – the super-stiff 265 corners like a maniac!
Anyway, we digress, basically, this new Kia Pro Cee’d GT better be as fast as possible for 201bhp, and that 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine better be wrapped up in one sweet ‘n’ nimble chassis. It has to be great value too, and, at the moment, it’s very hard to best the Ford Focus ST on performance-per-pound-sterling spent.
Designed in Europe, the Pro Cee’d GT gets a new front grille and headlight clusters, deeper front and rear bumpers, four-stud LED daytime running lights, twin-exit exhaust pipes, 18-inch alloy wheels, red brake calipers and a new range of special paint finishes. Inside, the GT model enjoys Recaro sports seats, alloy pedals, special trim materials and a seven-inch, racy-feeling TFT display.
Head-to-heads are bound to happen as soon as the Pro Cee’d GT hits the UK streets, and with a 1.6-litre turbo motor, the Kia is already down on grunt against all the other hot hatches that rock the 2-litre powerplants. You’d think that Kia were going for the fast-but-green appeal, but at 171g/km of CO2 – Ford Focus ST hits 169g/km – the Pro Cee’d GT isn’t a top eco-performer.
The Pro-Cee’d GT uses its 201bhp, 265Nm of torque and 6-speed manual gearbox to hit 62mph in 7.7 seconds, and pulls on to 143mph. Neat enough speed-tricks, but, again, it’ll be fish food against the 6.3-seconds-to-62 Focus ST and 5.9sec Astra VXR.
Perhaps launching a hot hatch that’s already not as fast as the competition is a bad idea, but it all boils down to price, especially for a segment that’s gone a bit sales-stagnant through these last few tough economic years. If this new Kia Pro Cee’d GT comes out all guns blazing with a great price and a tasty standard spec, then the not-quite-quick-enough performance figures will matter much, much less, as it sure looks the part and should be quick enough to raise some smiles.
By Dan Anslow