One sunny day I have arrived at Kia Eforia dealership in Warsaw, Poland and my jaw dropped. I have liked the lines of this shooting-brake already from what I have seen on the net, but seeing the car in person was something else. For a good minute or two, that felt like eternity, I starred at her admiring every shadow and every curve as she was a top model. Wow and yum. This is a real shame for NA customers this car is not available here, but I get it. Sales of wagons in US are about 1.4% of total sales (2018 numbers), while in the European Union this is between 7% and 32%, depending on a country. Overal, 72% of all station wagon sales world-wide happen in Europe. My pictures truly do not do justice and the car was little dirty. I was driving the 2019 model and 20s are on the way. I was told that major differences includes incrased infotainment screen size (10" from 8") as well as fully digital instrument cluster.
The car was very much fully loaded, short of panoramic sunroof. The major list includes:
- well known 1.6 T-GDI motor mated with 7 speed DCT gearbox
- front/rear parking sensors with full parking assist
- LED lights all around incl high beam assist
- LKAS/ Active cruise/ emergency braking
- power driver seat with memory
- electrically folding mirrors
- rain sensing wipers
- 40:20:40 rear seat folding
- power lift gate
- sport mode (activates valves for different exhaust sound with some occasional pops and crackles)
- Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires
- electronic e-brake with hill assist
- automatic stop and go
- inductive charging
- asymmetrical centre console
- dual zone climate control with centre console rear vent
Getting in the car felt somewhat familiar. The steering wheel felt much like the one in ES, just with a different logo. I must highlight that the interior finish and attention to details felt much as it was much higher standard and quality than in the ES or Forte GT. On the latter I found that the inside door handles squeek, move slightly and make noises when pulled - nothing like this was found in the Proceed GT. As a matter of fact, I could not find any parts that would move and make any noises. One will find way more soft-touch materials inside, dashboard with faux premium feel stitching as well as stiched accents in the fron doors (but why not in the back??). The centre console is actually pretty cool, as it is asymmetrical - open shelf on the driver side (access for the inductive mobile phone charging) and closed off on the passenger side. The dual drink holder has a nice sliding cover (it is possible to order optional heating/cooling upgrade). Forgot to look inside the rear console storage if it is dual or not. At the 2nd row of seats the things get little tight. There seems to be little less room than in the ES? Also that stunning roof line of Proceed GT does not help if one is little taller. Moving on to my very favourite place - the trunk. Not only the rear gate opens electrically, it hides so much space inside! Love it!!!
The driving part. No echo mode, no smart...only sport. I enjoyed this mode as much as I do daily driving my ES. It brings out the full character of this vehicle. The steering becames heavier, DCT shifts quicker (in my opinion the gearbox's ECM is much different than what I felt in ES or Forte GT - shifts are firmer and faster, on downshifts it picks up the right gear right away as opposed to ES, where it initially downshifts one gear and then another), the buffles in the exhaust open up giving you some nice notes on upshifts. The noise generator is actually pretty good and it was not as 'distracting' as in Forte GT. It felt little slower the ES, but I was driving with a dealer rep and also the car is about 80Kg heavier than ES. I thought to myself that the GT Momentum intake would fit and look very good under the hood. Just add LAP3 ;-) Nice feature of the instrument cluster are digital torque and boost bar-graph gauges - Hyundai, do the same!!. Body roll was suprisingly less than ES on fast corners and suspension was much better tuned for absorbing all those small road imperfections felt in the ES. The car has way better road noise and wind noise insulation than ES. At 140km/h it was comparable to ES at 120km/h and only once I joined the fast lane vehicles doing about 160km/h it was noticable. At that point the rep told me to slow down....lol They didn't want tickets.
I really liked the car. My favourite view is the rear 3/4 and if I was living in Europe, I would buy it instead of ES. I looked at some other models that dealer had and I could only wish we had these options in NA. Maybe with time this will change. For now, I can only cherish the memories I spent at the steering wheel. It was like a one night stand with that dream girl that kissed you in a way you have never been kissed before, a memory of the moment that will linger for the months to come, tingling all your senses...
Short video of self-parking assist