The hot hatch market just got a more affordable contender from an unlikely source. Korean car maker Kia has confirmed the oddly-named Pro_cee’d GT is coming to Australia.
The news came as the covers came off the brand-new sporty three-door hatch at the Geneva motor show overnight under the watchful eye of the man who styled it, former Volkswagen and Audi designer Peter Schreyer.
The Kia Pro_cee’d GT is powered by the same turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine used in the highly regarded Hyundai Veloster Turbo coupe and has an identical power output (150kW/265Nm). Performance is the same, too, with a claimed 0 to 100km/h time of 7.7 seconds for the six-speed manual.
Price is yet to be confirmed but if the Hyundai Veloster is a guide the Kia Pro_cee’d GT should start in the low $30,000 bracket. Kia Australia says an on-sale date has not been confirmed but it’s likely to be in local showrooms by the middle of next year.
Australia is the only market outside Europe confirmed to take the Slovakian-made Kia GT. It is also the first Kia sold in Australia to be sourced from Europe.
“The Pro_cee’d GT does not go on sale in Europe until the middle of the year, so we currently have no indication of when our production may be available,” Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer Tony Barlow said in a statement issued to media.
“For the moment it is exciting enough to know we will get the car and that when we do it will undergo the full ride and handling localisation.” Kia says the Pro_cee’d GT will undergo testing on Australian roads before it goes on sale locally. But testing has already started.
An eagle-eyed Carsguide reader sent photos of a pair of heavily disguised Kia Pro_cee’d GTs in the central-west New South Wales town of Dubbo. Beneath their masks the cars appeared to have the same wheels and headlight details as seen in the gleaming show car.
The spy photos also reveal that a five-door version is also being built, and the car will be available with an automatic transmission, likely the six-speed conventional torque converter unit used in the Hyundai Veloster Turbo.
The two test mules were part of a joint Hyundai-Kia engineering team undergoing hot weather testing and durability runs in new models not due to be released for another year or more. The new generation Hyundai Genesis luxury sedan was also caught on camera by a Carsguide reader last week.
Now if we could just solve the mystery of the weird name. On behalf of anyone who has to type out its unnecessarily convoluted nomenclature, let’s start a campaign to simply call it the “Kia GT”.
This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling
Kia Pro_cee'd GT
Price: From low-$30,000s
Engine: Turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol
Power: 150kW and 265Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed auto
Performance: 0 to 100km/h in 7.7 seconds
Body style: Three- and five-door
Made in: Slovakia
On sale: Mid-2013 in Europe, mid-2014 in Australia