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Kia Pro Ceed GT is hot, for the money – Geneva Motor Show 2013

Kia’s resume is bulging with cars that help it compete in just about every category. We say ‘just about’ because it has been unable or unwilling to compete in the hot hatch segment, until now. Step aside, world, for the Kia Pro Ceed GT – a souped-up, performance-oriented hatchback built to tackle the Golf GTIs and Astra VX-whatevers of this world. Sort of.

If we were to judge the Kia Pro Ceed GT on its name alone, we’d dismiss the thing almost instantly. Officially, it’s known as the “Kia Pro_ceed GT” with the bonkers underscore and bizarre capitalization, both of which are wrong on so many levels. We’ll forgive it this indiscretion, however, firstly because the brand is Korean and English isn’t their first language, and secondly because the car is actually quite attractive.

The Kia Pro Ceed GT (that’s how we’re spelling it and anyone that disagrees can do one) is a real looker. Its design is hardly revolutionary, but like most modern Kias it’s undeniably pretty, with gorgeous wrap-around front and rear lights, a sleek wedge-shaped profile and small overhangs that give it a planted, wheel-at-each-corner aesthetic.

The most performance-oriented Kia ever, it uses a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine that makes 201bhp and 265Nm – enough for a 0-62mph sprint time of 7.9 seconds and a top speed of 143mph. It won’t set the world on fire with its speed. Cars like the Ford Focus ST (and even the smaller Fiesta ST) will leave it for dead, but its relatively liesurely acceleration at least means more people will see what excellent taste you have have.

That said, it’s fast enough to provoke giggles aplenty, is cheap and is packed to the gills with equipment its faster rivals lack. Red brake callipers, four-point LED headlamps, dual exhaust pipes, 18-inch alloys, cruise control, parking sensors, sporty suspension and a smugness-inducing six-speed manual gearbox all come as standard. Inside, it’s packing Recaro sports seats, alloy pedals and a touchscreen sat-nav, plus you’ll get the lot for a starting price of around £20,000 – peanuts in the hot hatch segment.

Impressed? You won’t be if speed is all you’re chasing, but if you like your lukewarm hatches with plenty of equipment, a relatively affordable price tag and looks to nod sagely at, you could do a whole lot worse. Production of the Kia Pro Ceed GT will begin in May 2013.

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