The Proceed GT feels a little like a cut-price Golf GTI to drive. For avoidance of doubt, that’s a good thing – neither car is pant-wettingly exciting but both deliver a satisfying, rounded driving experience without demanding too much of the driver.
This starts with a fairly foolproof chassis, one that neither succumbs to understeer frustratingly early, nor risks snapping sideways if you jump off the throttle mid-bend. Drive aggressively and you can certainly induce slip at the rear axle, but most of the time the Proceed GT is a friendly car on its limits.
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Its steering, while not the last word in feedback, is precise and accurate enough that you quickly learn to trust the front axle’s responses. It’s relatively light but also quick to respond without feeling overly darty. Worth mentioning too that post-facelift, the Kia’s wheel is also good to hold – flat-bottomed, unfortunately, but with a chunky leather-wrapped rim that lends a feeling of quality to proceedings.
With no limited slip differential to tame the engine’s torque you do need to be smooth with throttle openings in the lower gears through corners, but driven with measured responses the Kia is quite a satisfying thing. There’s an uncomplicated, almost back-to-basics feel to the car’s performance and handling.
It rides relatively well too. It’s perhaps notable that Kia has badged this car GT rather than GTI – to live with, it’s one of the more relaxing cars in a class already populated by talented all-rounders.
Since first driving the Proceed GT we've had the opportunity to take our long-term car on track. While not necessarily designed for track use the GT is nevertheless surprisingly capable. The consistent steering is a boon here and under higher cornering loads some feel even creeps through. Brake feel isn't quite as firm as we'd like and they do wilt after several laps of hard use, but stopping power is good. And where the engine sometimes feels a little flat on the road, it's responsive when spinning at higher revolutions and carries you down straights at a respectable lick.
‘Dynamically it has no vices and still steers, stops and handles with the smooth consistency that we enjoyed in the old car. Yes, a limited-slip diff would give the nose a little more bite, and yes, ultimate grip is a little lower than in more focused hatches, but the lack of an ‘I’ at the end of ‘GT’ tells you everything you need to know. Ultimately, this is an honest car, and it’s becoming increasingly hard to say that about modern vehicles.’ Nick Trott, evo 217