Puts comfort over pizzazz, but it's decent enough
Classy, user-friendly interior but rear visibility is poor
Should mirror five-car Ceed's good Euro NCAP result
Sound enough if five-door car is anything to go by; seven-year warranty
One of the few cars of this type to offer three seats across the back
Even the entry-level trim has all you need and more
The Proceed isn't as sporty as you might expect from its looks. The standard 1.6 petrol engine feels pretty weedy, and it gets noisy when you press the accelerator with any sort of gusto. Even the turbocharged 1.6 version needs a good deal of revving before it gets properly brisk, which makes it quite vocal too, and the 1.6 diesel also needs a bit of welly to get going, though once it does it accelerates swiftly. Meanwhile, the steering isn't as quick as you'd expect and the standard Flexsteer system - which lets you choose from three settings - doesn't help; select Sport mode and the steering just gets heavier. The Proceed also leans more in bends than a Vauxhall Astra GTC or a Volkswagen Scirocco, but it isn't too bad and it feels quite smooth on bumpy roads, too. Road noise is noticeable at most speeds, however.
The cabin is smartly finished, with plenty of soft-touch surfaces and good-quality plastics. As in the five-door Ceed, the controls are easy to understand, but the Proceed's thicker rear pillars and the sweep of its rear windows make its rear visibility much worse. Still, there's plenty of adjustment for the steering wheel and driver's seat, though the latter could be a more supportive shape.
There's enough room in the back for two six-footers and, unlike rivals, there's a place and seatbelt for an occasional centre rear passenger. A good feature is a standard memory function on the front seats so you don't have to adjust them every time someone gets in or out the back. The boot is a useful shape and relatively roomy, too.
Entry-level cars (S-spec) come with all the equipment you need, and more, including alloys, Bluetooth, reversing sensors and an iPod-compatible stereo with controls on the steering wheel. SE cars include bigger alloys, sat nav and a reversing camera, and there's also the sporty GT trim or GT Tech with its luxury features. Isofix points are fitted to the two outer rear seats.
Owners of the five-door Ceed rated it above average in the latest JD Power ownership, and 'excellent' for mechanical reliability, so you can feel pretty confident about the Proceed. For even more peace of mind, it comes with a seven-year/100,000-mile warranty from Kia. The Proceed hasn't been crash tested by Euro NCAP but it has six airbags, including curtain 'bags that extend into the rear, and the fact that the five-door Ceed scored the maximum five stars is reassuring.
The Proceed looks stylish and is decent enough to drive, with an emphasis on comfort rather than sporty handling. It's also cheaper than rivals and comes with lots of equipment (which helps explain why it's more expensive than the five-door Ceed). The warranty is impressive and running costs are competitive, too - including a claimed 74.3mpg for the diesel - though the bigger alloys and extra kit of top-spec cars does lower fuel economy and increase CO2.