Kia eyes-up full performance car range
Kia has been at pains to state that the Proceed GT is not a direct rival to the current crop of hot hatches such as the Ford Focus ST, but is instead aimed at establishing the brand's performance credentials by offering a more rounded product with greater market appeal.
"If we'd have brought out a £30,000 GTI rival straight away, the volumes would be so small it would be difficult to get it off the ground, and then you're up against some very well established players," said Kia UK chief Paul Philpott.
"We wanted to make our first sports derivative accessible to the masses, and as soon as you push power up to 230-240bhp, you push it from something that's fun and sporty to something that is much more overtly hard edged."
The Proceed's price reflects this. Starting at £19,995, it sits between more powerful C-segment cars and range-topping models in the lower supermini class, such as the Volkswagen Polo GTI and Ford Fiesta ST.
However, the company has hinted at a more powerful version of the three-door Proceed, with the 201bhp it develops reportedly being a rather modest output compared with what the turbocharged 1.6-litre engine is capable of.
However, the viability of any higher-spec models will depend on the reception the Proceed GT gets when it arrives in the UK in less than a month.
"Once we've established our presence in the performance car market with the GT, we will definitely look to stretch the model further and to introduce the GT aspect to other model lines," continued Philpott.
"The Rio would probably be the most likely next step."
The Kia Proceed arrives in UK showrooms in July, with the five-door Ceed GT following early next year.