Aged 25-35? No children to transport? The Kia pro_cee'd GT could be the hatchback for you with its good looks and great value at £20,000, writes car reviewer Tim Barnes-Clay.
Kia, the characteristic South Korean car manufacturer has come on leaps and bounds in the last five years.
Now it's gone from budget to bling with the most eagerly anticipated model in its history - the high-performance Kia pro_cee'd GT hot hatch, the sports version of the three-door pro_cee'd.
Since the GT made its debut at the 2013 Geneva motor show, I've been keen to get my hands on Kia's first sporting model.
I finally got the chance to test drive one on the lush, winding roads of Provence.
This historical province of south-eastern France not only created a great backdrop for the Kia, it also allowed the car to show off its talents.
Looks-wise, the already athletic lines of the pro_cee'd have been embroidered with performance-car additions which give the GT an exclusive appearance.
The front-end has a low bumper and a large central lower air intake to supply cooling air to the turbocharged engine.
This is flanked on either side by black inserts housing the car's unique "ice-cube" LED daytime running lamps.
The grille includes a stylish GT badge on the black high-gloss mesh.
From the rear, the wide posture of the pro_cee'd is apparent in its bold shoulders and sharply-angled rear glass.
But for the Kia pro_cee'd GT this is further underscored by a diffuser section in the lower edge of the rear bumper, separating the twin sports exhaust tailpipes.
Inside, Kia's familiar three-dial instrument layout is enhanced by an LCD display which allows you to switch between analogue-type or GT performance digital information.
The latter shows the car's speed, engine torque, turbo boost pressure and engine coolant temperature as well as trip information.
It can present speed in miles per hour or kilometres per hour.
A GT button on the steering wheel also lets you alter the display without taking a hand off the wheel.
So, what's it like on the road?
Kia pro_cee'd GT: Spec
Well, powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre direct-injection petrol engine, the Kia pro_cee'd GT delivered all I'd hoped for.
While it never pretends to be the most sizzling of hot hatches, the Kia pro_cee'd GT sparkles. It can do 0-60mph in 7.4 seconds and top speed is 143mph.
It is built with everyday use in mind, so even though it has some rapid figures on paper, the car is well behaved.
The steering is direct and the brakes scrub off momentum in a flash - but that's hardly surprising given that they're the biggest of any fitted to the Kia cee'd range.
Also, the excellent suspension, and 18-inch alloy wheels ensure the GT is more than capable of handling twists and turns.
Two trim lines - GT and GT Tech - are being offered. There's also a limited production launch model, the GT 1st Edition.
You can pick up the Kia pro_cee'd GT from just £19,995 - a truly competitive price in today's new motor market.
The trouble is you could also buy a nearly new VW Golf GTI for that.
I know I'd choose a Golf GTI - but only because I've already owned two VW Golfs and have a bit of a thing for the legendary GTI badge!
I guess it all comes down to which hot hatch you'd prefer on your drive.
Kia pro_cee'd GT: Pros & cons
- Distinctive √
- Attractive √
- Quick √
- Price √
- Not the hottest hot-hatch X
Kia pro_cee'd GT: Fast facts
- Max speed: 143 mph
- 0-60 mph: 7.4 secs
- Combined mpg: 38.2
- Engine: 1591 cc, 4 cylinders, 16 valve, turbo petrol
- Max. power (bhp): 201 at 6000 rpm
- Max. torque (lb/ft): 195 at 1750-4500 rpm
- CO2: 171 g/km
- Price: £19,995
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