Is it fast?
This is Kia’s first ever stab at a performance model, and while the GT can’t keep pace with a Focus ST in a straight line, its 201bhp will whisk you to 62mph from dead in a not too shabby 7.6sec. Give the keen Korean’s turbocharged 1.6 – a tuned version of the same unit you’ll find in the Veloster Turbo (video) – a stampy dose of right foot and you’ll see 143mph. Think of the GT as a ‘warm’ hatch then, not a tyre-snorting GTi.
Is it sexy?
You bet it’s sexy. The Pro_cee’d GT is sleek, stocky and pretty all at the same time. Thanks to its three-door layout, the GT also looks fast and has the sort of road presence that makes other motorists get out of the way pretty quickly.
The GT’s aesthetic highlights include its butch shoulder lines, Focus ST-esque lower front grille and the hottest alloys you’re likely to see on a sub-£20k car – they’re 18s and come as standard.
What’s it like to drive?
The GT is a lot more fun to hoon than we ever expected (sorry, Kia). Okay, so it won’t quench the power thirsts of the GTi fanboys, but it is chuckable and does have enough poke to make mince meat of most other cars around you. Sounds pretty decent from the outside too.
Unlike the Focus ST, the GT doesn’t throw it’s power down like a drunken high-five, rather beds its 201 horses onto the ground confidently and with little tyre squeal and minimal torque steer. The six-speed manual ‘box allows you to swap cogs quickly and the ride – which is lower and firmer than the standard car – is impressively comfortable.
Any downsides? Well, the steering – specifically tuned for the GT – is still a tad light for our tastes, but directs the front rubbers confidently nonetheless. Then there are the brakes; or lack thereof. After a liberal blast on southern France’s finest B-roads, 20 minutes of hard braking revealed tired discs and more brake pedal travel than the Tour de France. Again, think ‘warm hatch’ here…
How about the inside?
Recaro seats, coloured stitching and more buttons on the steering wheel than your girlfriend’s handbag come as standard, so you’re not left wanting for kit. The dashboard is standard Kia – smart and logical – and there’s plenty of head and legroom for 6ft+ occupants. No complaints inside.
Will my mates rate it?
Kia still raises eyebrows for the wrong reasons among us young guns, but times have changed. Under the styling direction of Peter Schreyer, Kias are now every bit as smart and fashionable as the establishment. And now that Kia has got a car that can confidently tap into young people’s want lists, your mates have no choice but to rate this new car highly.
Show me three used alternatives
We’re big fans of the first-gen Focus – it was well equipped, safe, reliable, and very good value – and the ST’s power hike (170bhp) made excellent use of the Focus’ fine chassis. They’re still entertaining and good looking today and cheap as chips to get on your driveway – £1900 is all you need for a clean example.
Diving into Renaultsport’s back catalogue, you’ll be pleased to know that the original Megane RS now ducks under the £5k marker. Its blown 2.0-litre produces 221bhp, which launches the RS to 62mph in 6.5sec and on to a top speed of 147mph. Still known for being one of the most entertaining front drivers, this one will set you back just £4722.
Like the Kia GT, the Mk5 GTi develops 200bhp, which makes this car more of a warm hatch too. A 2005 model like this will cost you around £6800, and for that you’re looking at a low mileage car with sports seats, a six-speed manual ‘box and fresh tax and test.Kia Pro_cee'd GT Review: Hot Looks Meet Useable Power,