Kia finds out just how sexy the wagon can be, with its Proceed Concept
Kia is exploring new waters in Frankfurt this year, experimenting with how its Cee'd family could birth a new member. The Proceed Concept extends the roofline on its Pro Cee'd hot hatch, creating a sleek, sporty interpretation of an estate. Add in innovations like an illuminated glasshouse frame, and the concept shines as brightly as any other in Germany.
The Proceed Concept is a smooth, B-pillar-less estate that manages to look nearly as sporty and aggressive as a full-blown sports coupe. Instead of a long, straight roofline that meanders back to an upright tailgate, the Proceed's roofline drops in fastback style, giving the car a very sharp, aggressive look.
Kia matches that to muscular fenders and lateral strakes, creating a silhouette you won't soon forget. A "Lava Red" paint comprising 19 hand-applied layers of black, chrome-effect silver and red-tinted lacquer accentuates every millimeter.
"With many European drivers seeking alternatives to the traditional three-door hot hatch, we began thinking about a new [Cee'd] halo model," said Gregory Guillaume, Kia's chief European designer. "The extended hot hatch you see here could be an alternative for us. It's a third body type, one that retains the athleticism of the Pro Cee'd, but reworked and re-imagined to combine a striking new visual presence with a dash of real-world versatility."
The concept also finds new uses for light, wrapping the side glasshouse in a "Luminline" surround, brightening up as the driver approaches the car. This feature helps to emphasize the car's sporty shape, giving it a very purposeful look, day and night.
Up front, the Proceed borrows from the new Stinger, wearing a similar compact tiger-nose grille and intakes, albeit with more dramatic creases and folds mixed in. The car rides on 20-in six-spoke alloy wheels.
Interestingly, instead of the suicide doors that tend to complement B-pillar-less design, Kia uses half pillars to hinge the rear doors to, creating a normal forward-swinging rear entry. The company has dabbled in this type of structure before with the 2015 A1A Optima convertible SEMA show car, though that car had rear suicide doors.
Kia kept the world of tailoring and haute couture in mind when designing the interior, wrapping the four wave-shaped seats in hand-cut elastane, ruched and rippled for a unique (and weird) effect. If that's not odd enough, Kia also added an interior "memory bank" designed to summon the powerful sense of smell in engaging the driver. A shelf contains three individual scent bottles, one that smells of aged leather, one of an automotive garage and one of high-octane motorsport fuel.
The dashboard and steering column wear the same gorgeous Lava Red paint as the exterior, giving the impression of the hood stretching inside under the windshield. Also red is the floating center console, held in place by a carbon fiber spine that runs the length of the cabin. The console's aluminum controls are inspired by high-end audio gear.
With only four seats and we're guessing limited cargo space, the Proceed's fastback roof and compact proportions seem to cut into its people and cargo hauling versatility. But it's hard to think of a better-looking five-door estate – and we reckon it still has more space than the average coupe or fastback sedan, making a brilliant combination of sporty looks and everyday utility.
We hope to see the Proceed Concept give way to a production C'eed family flagship, and we hope that car doesn't lose the concept's brilliant looks or aggressive edge – but it can definitely lose the perfume box and feathery seats.