As a photographer, I do plenty of miles regularly. I’d argue it’s the perfect profession to do alongside journalism, as it gives the cars I have on test a proper workout, regularly racking up 3,4,500 miles or more on occasions within my seven-day test periods.
This means that not only do I actually make use of the cars I review, but it also means I can experience what it would be like to live with the cars, rather than simply to take them out on short ‘test circuits’ and doing the weekly shopping run with them.
This week I wanted to see how it would fare as a so-called ‘snappers wagon’ taking me all over the South of England.
Well, in short, it was damn near perfect. Truthfully, I could leave things there and that would sum it up rather well indeed, but that would be a pretty rubbish review, wouldn’t it?
So, please, allow me to break down exactly why I loved the Kia ProCeed GT-Line so much.
The main things I look for in a daily-driven, long-distance car are comfort, convenience and practicality.
Comfort-wise, the ProCeed GT-Line does very well. The diamond-stitched seats are wonderfully comfortable and supportive without being restrictive, and I certainly had no problem racking up hours on end in the driver’s seat. Being super picky, more adjustability for areas such as lumbar wouldn’t go amiss, but this is only a minor point. The cabin is also aesthetically appealing, with a nice mixture of textures, materials and a well-designed interior, meaning it’s a wonderful place to soak up mile after mile, hour after hour of motorways and repetitive A-roads.
On the road, the suspension did a good job of mopping up undulations and the usual potholes encountered on the lanes around Wiltshire. However, I did find it struggled with expansion joints on the motorway or repeated short, sharp jolts. This is likely partly due to the larger wheels found on the GT-Line specification, which also caused a notable amount of NVH when driving at high speeds, though this was easily drowned out without having to turn the stereo up too loud.
The heated seats and steering wheel were also a nice touch. Despite the generally lovely summer weather experienced during my time with the car, both came in handy for drying me out after shooting two cars in the pouring rain – the things we do for deadlines, eh?
Convenience also scores highly for the ProCeed GT-Line, with the controls laid out sensibly, everything being simple to understand and use. No overly complicated menus or sub-menus to dig through to access basic controls. The only issues I had with the infotainment system was a lack of a ‘hard’ homepage shortcut, and I would’ve liked to see either wireless CarPlay or wireless charging integrated, owing to only one USB port is present in the lower centre console, neatly hidden behind a sliding compartment lid.
The boot space is positively voluminous, offering significant luggage capacity despite the sloping roofline as part of the ‘shooting brake’ appearance. The load cover is also neatly designed and retractable, meaning you can pile the luggage high if needed or keep valuable loads hidden when parked up. My only gripe here is that whilst the styling of the ProCeed is excellent; the sloping rear roofline means rear visibility is somewhat compromised, with the view in the mirror being mainly of the road and lower half of cars immediately behind you as the window is mounted lower than usual in the boot lid.
In my seven days of testing, a total of over 11 hours of driving was logged, with 1.25 tanks of fuel used. The car took me from Wiltshire up to Goodwood via Surrey twice, then back to Swindon before heading down to Bradford-on-Avon and back up to Swindon. Plentiful B-roads, far too many Motorway miles and numerous traffic jams later, and I still find myself impressed with the Kia ProCeed GT-Line from both an aesthetic and ownership point of view, with the 1.5-litre engine returning an impressive 45mpg on average, which is certainly not to be sniffed at.
In terms of driving characteristics, the 1.5-litre engine provides an impressive amount of grunt from low-down in the rev range, with a surprisingly engaging clutch action and slick six-speed manual gearbox. The steering was well-weighted and helped the car’s footprint feel much smaller than it is on the road, though you were quickly reminded of the ProCeed’s impressive bulk when it came to parking, which was aided by rear parking sensors and a crystal-clear reversing camera.
There’s also the individual styling, which I love, with the more aggressive bumpers and larger wheels offered on the GT-Line complementing the ProCeed’s lines very well indeed – this is how they should all look, in my opinion. I even gathered a few comments about how good the styling is and how refreshing it is to see a shooting brake on the road, so clearly, Kia has hit the nail on the head with this one!
Honestly, there wasn’t much to dislike about the ProCeed, and I found myself lamenting its departure at the end of my week with it. Swap out the rather good six-speed manual for the 7-Speed DCT that is also offered with the range, and you’d have the ideal long-distance photographers wagon that is still fun to drive without sapping your wallet with massive fuel bills.
Style, comfort and space, this Kia ProCeed GT-Line has it all!
Kieran Bicknell offers his fresh take on car reviews by making the most of his dynamic, yet detailed approach to writing. Having graduated from university with a BA (Hons) in Photography and spending a number of years as a freelance automotive photographer. Kieran is now putting his knowledge and writing skills to use, with the ability to supply both written articles and imagery. Kieran feels at home in anything from small superminis to the latest SUVs, and relishes the opportunity to drive, photograph and write about anything with four wheels.
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