Ever since the jaw-dropping Stinger rocked up, the surprise factor in asserting that Kia has produced a really rather beautiful car was obsoleted, and the tirelessly-improving brand has only gone and done it again with the new ProCeed.

Granted, its styling isn't unique, but from the rear and sides, Kia's shooting brake looks nothing short of desirable, with strong whiffs of Mercedes and Porsche about it. Aside from beefy 18" alloys, plus a few bits and pieces having been daubed in red paint, not much distinguishes range-topping GT variants from lesser GT-Line cars, all sharing the relatively plain front-end. Overall, it's a belter of an effort and the full-width LED taillights are exquisite.

Sitting alongside the latest Ceed hatchback and Sportswagon (estate), the chamfered-off ProCeed is most welcome for company car drivers with a yearning for a bit more style.

The ProCeed GT's racy-looking interior certainly evokes a modest sense of adrenaline with its body-hugging sports seats in black leather and faux suede with red stitching and embossed logos. Fit and finish are exceptional and all versions come with a torrent of equipment even as far as a heated steering wheel. It's a shame the infotainment touchscreen isn't complemented by a rotary controller for safer operation on the move, glovebox and console storage seems to have been sacrificed for phones, and GT cars curiously come with manually-adjusted seats - but it's otherwise hard to fault.

The driving position is excellent, the front seats should prove comfortable for people of all heights and belt sizes, and there's adequate if not generous room for two adult passengers or three children in the slightly claustrophobic back. Its Ceed Sportswagon sibling may well offer 625 litres, but the ProCeed's 594 litres is still whopping and the car's lowered stance and its wide, hatchback-esque opening make it a cinch to load bulky items into, plus loads of handy underfloor storage is provided.

Although the 1.6-litre diesel engine and 1.4-litre petrol unit will likely scalp more sales and leases amongst businesses' fleet drivers, the 1.6-litre GT's T-GDi powerplant as tested might well tickle the fancy of SME owners. Okay, average combined fuel economy of 39.3mpg under WLTP and CO2 emissions of 142g/km aren't anything to write home about, especially as the new Mercedes CLA produces 225bhp versus the Kia's 201bhp while pledging 45.6mpg and 149g/km. Still, they each attract 27% BIK and the ProCeed GT certainly feels like a ‘warm' hatch in Sport mode.

While lag is noticeable when booting it from a standing start or from low gears, acceleration from 5th to 7th can be relatively exhilarating at times, and although the 7-speed automatic gearbox holds onto its ratios too long to allow the car to feel rapid, it performs creamily smoothly in most circumstances.
The partly-synthesised sports exhaust sounds a trifle artificial during ordinary progress but plays some smile-inducing noises when the car is stoked.

The car's warm performance combined with light but accurate steering and suspension tuned for flat cornering on twisty roads at speed result in a great all-rounder blending practicality and one or two grins when one's mood desires.

Prices range from £23,835 for a 1.4 petrol GT-Line to a smidgen over £28,000 for the 1.4 GT-Line S and 1.6 GT, while an array of business contract hire deals can remarkably be found for around the £250+VAT mark per month. Accept the ProCeed GT for what it is and it makes a resounding case for itself and definitely incorporates some soul.