The warm hatch market seems to be expanding so when given a chance to drive two competitors back to back I jumped at the chance.
If your a regular reader you will know that i try to stay away from comparisons but after driving both these cars back to back I couldn’t resist to do a proper comparison.
Entrant number 1 was last seen on Australian shores wearing Opel badges but disappeared when Opel shut their doors after 12 months and left, the GTC is back but this time it’s wearing Holden badges.
There is no doubting the GTC is certainly a good looker the mix of swooping lines and 2 door coupe shape make sure the GTC looks good from any angle I specially like the 3/4 view.
When entrant number 2 was released it signaled Korean manufacturer Kia was getting serious about the warm hatch segment and although it’s parent is based in Korean this car comes straight from Europe.
The Pro_Cee’d GT just looks like it means business from any angle and I lost count of the comments I got during the week on just how good it looked.
This proved to be the hardest criteria to judge as it’s basically based on my tastes and what I think looked better so other people might have a completely different view.
I love the way the Astra looks but it’s looks are more understated and reserved compared to the Pro_cee’d GT and that’s why I went with the GT, while the GTC looks great the GT just looks more aggressive and sporty.
While the on the side the Astra looks great the inside it’s starting to look a bit dated, the seat where comfortable but didn’t offer a lot of support when cornering.
The leather bound steering wheel was comfortable to hold, the instrument panel while functional just looks old the The dials where well lit and easy to read in any light but the red LCD screen in between just looks a bit old for me.
the centre stack is home to the Mylink system which works excellent and offers full bluetooth connectivity, is not a otuch screen like most other Holdens on the market is very fiddly and not as user friendly as a touch screen. The other thing most people found daughting was the amount of buttons on the centre stack which just made it look too busy.
Rear seat legroom wasn’t too bad and being a hatch there was a decent amount of boot space.
The fit finish was rather good and the interior does look good and is functional but it just looks a touch dated.
The Pro_Cee’d GT on the other hand looked look great on the inside, the Recaro front seats where not just comfortable but offered excellent amount of support during cornering something you want from a car that’s excels at cornering. The Leather bound steering wheel was comfortable to hold and the perfect thickness for me.
The instrument panel is well lit and easy to read in any light, the 3 gauge set up looks extremely good with the rev tacho on the left speedo in the middle and fuel gauge on the right.
The one thing I did love was that the the multi coloured centre dial with a touch of the GT button on the steering wheel and gives the Pro_Cee’d a more modern look.
The dash is well shaped and the centre stack is home to multi media system which offered full Bluetooth connectivity and satnav as well but being a touch screen was much more easier to use and user friendly then the Astra’s.
Rear leg room and boot space where also very adequate.
While the Astra’s interior is looks good and is well put together it’s let down by it’s dated look and the fiddly multi media system, the Pro_Cee;d GT on the hand not only looks great on the inside the recaro front seats offer more comfort and support and the multimedia system is a lot more user friendly.
Winner: Pro_Cee’d GT
Under the bonnet the Astra is powered by a 1.6L turbo charged 4cyl engine pushing out 147Kw and 230Nm of torque and what a little cracker of an engine it is.
There a slight hesitation off the mark but the Astra is quick to gather up it’s hem and will easily spin to red line and any gear, the engine is very tractable and has more then enough go to keep up traffic.
Fuel economy though it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped although the stop start system did help save some petrol in traffic, during the week I had the car I returned and average of 10.5L/100km.
On the road and the Astra is wonderfully set up car the steering offers great feel and is well weighted, the suspension seemed to do and decent job of absorbing the bumps and there bang crashiness transmitted through the cabin even on bumpy roads.
The Pro_Cee’d GT is powered by the same 1.6L turbo charged 4 cylinder engine you find in the Veloster turbo and develops 150Kw and 265Nm of torque.
This is a cracker of an engine as well, and will also spin happily to red line in any gear, like the GTC’s engine it’s extremely tractable and easily keeps up in traffic.
The Pro_Cee’d is geared a little higher then the GTC and has a an extra 35Nm of torque is noticeable in the fact it a little more spritely off the mark, although the slight down side is it rev’s a little higher on the freeway in 6th gear.
Fuel economy was surprising despite being geared slightly higher and lacking the GTC’s stop start system, I finished the week averaging 9.8L/100km
On the road the Pro_Cee’d is a touch more stiffly sprung then Astra which is transmitted into feeling the bumps on the road touch more but never to the stage of being uncomfortable and it’ surprisingly rode rather well and absorbed the bumps.
But this is a warm hatch comparison so I was more interested on how well both cars handled when pushed a bit more, both cars excel in corners and this part of the test was rather closer than you think.
The Astra’s steering is well weighted and offers a great amount feel throw it at a corner and you know where the front wheels are going to be pointed at any time.
Same can be said about the Pro_Cee’d as it really loved cornering as well, the steering is sharp and it has plenty feel, both cars felt rather stable during cornering.
Although the slightly lower gearing in the Pro_Cee’d made it comes out of corners with a touch more pace.
This was damn nearly a tie with both cars being extremely fun to drive specially in corners, but Pro_Cee’d’s slightly taller gearing and the extra support from the Recaro seats made it a slightly better place to live specially when your having fun.
Winner: Pro_Cee’d GT
Safety wise both cars have received a 5 star safety and feature a long list of safety features but the Pro_Cee’d also comes with a rear view camera so it receives full marks from me.
Winner: Pro_Cee’d GT
No surprise with the Pro_Cee’d GT winning every test here that it comes out on top and is one of the best warm hatches on the market and offers a more complete package over the GTC. It’s interior feels more modern, it’s multimedia system is easier to use and the Recaro front seats offer you more support specially while cornering.
The result is not the say the Astra GTC is bad car because it isn’t, in fact the GTC is rather nice car it’s interior while looking a touch dated is functional, comfortable and the fit and finish is great. It just feels a little let down a few things compared to the GT and the overall package just wasn’t as good.
2 door hatches typically have limited rear vision through the the rear windows and the lack of a rear vision camera was also another thing that put the GTC behind.
Both cars offer decent performance and handling and really if you are in the market for a warm hatch you should certainly have a look at both and make your mind up which one you like better but if I was putting my own money down then I would be going for the Pro_Cee’d GT.
For more info on the Kia Pro_Cee’d GT visit their web site http://www.kia.com.au, for more info on the Holden Astra check out their website http://www.holden.com.au thanks to both Kia and Holden for lending me both these cars.
Holden Astra GTC Sport
Price: From $29,990
Engine: 1.6L turbo charged 4 cyl 147Kw 230nM
Transmission: 6 speed manual
Perforated leather appointed Mondial trim, Heated front seats, Alloy sports pedals, Dual zone climate control, Leather sports steering wheel, Sports body kit, Satellite Navigation, Front and Rear Park Assist, Projector headlamps, Rain sensing wipers, Start/stop (MT only), Holden MyLink Infotainment System, 19-inch alloy wheels LED tail lamps.
Kia Pro_Ceed GT-Tech
Price: From $34,990
Engine: 1.6L turbo charged GDI 4cyl engine 250Kw and 265Nm
Transmission: 6 speed manual
Smart key with push button start, Recaro front seats (leather & suede), Side skirt, Rear spoiler, HID type front headlamps with washers, Static cornering lamps, Privacy glass (rear windows and tailgate), Premium steering wheel & shift knob, 7″ Supervision LCD instrument cluster (dual mode – normal / GT), Alloy sports pedals, Panoramic sunroof, 7” full touch colour LCD screen, Satellite navigation multimedia system with traffic information (SUNA™) , Bluetooth® functionality, front and rear parking sensors, Rear view camera with parking guidelines, Quad LED daytime running light (DRL), Dusk-sensing automatic headlamps.