When an automaker decides to launch a new station wagon in Europe, it’s usually a pretty safe assumption that we won’t see it in North America. Kia’s new ProCeed, scheduled for a public debut at the Paris Motor Show next month, is the latest example of this relentless phenomenon.
Still, while we’re still annoyed we have to go without yet another Eurowagon, maybe this one wasn’t for us.
We should first admit that we were immediately taken in by the ProCeed concept’s styling. The back half of that exercise in design assuredly gave the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo a run for its money. But the production model ProCeed had to make some necessary compromises. While still attractive, Kia made some sacrifices to sleekness in order to maximize cargo capacity.
This left 21 cubic feet of “trunk space,” despite the tapered, shooting brake roofline. There are also a lot of clever and customizable storage solutions, like rails, dividers, and cubbies intended to keep things from rolling around while you toss your estate car into a corner. And if you need more space, the rear seats can be folded down to accommodate larger items. Either way, it should be enough to best the Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake — which appears to be the vehicle it was targeting all along.
However, the 2019 ProCeed wouldn’t have anything like that to compare itself to in the United States. Mercedes only sells the E-Class Wagon here, leaving the Kia to compete with a swath of higher-end European imports, the Buick Regal TourX, Subaru Outback, and a couple of Volkswagen… er… wagons. Of course, the ProCeed would probably lose the majority of its customers from people interested in small utility vehicles.
That’s true regardless of where you live, but Americans (and Canadians) are inclined to want bigger vehicles with bigger engines. That really only leaves the 1.6-liter gasoline unit, borrowed from the sporty Ceed GT, with 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. The little 1.0-liter turbo would be deemed insufficient for a vehicle this size, while the 1.4-liter would only make a fraction of consumers happy. There’s also a 1.6-liter diesel, but it’s a diesel and the ProCeed is not a truck. All engines mate to a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch, with the GT version only available with the DTC.
We do like that Kia kept the ride height lower than other mainstream wagons, all of which appear to be inching themselves toward crossover status. The automaker seems to be placing an emphasis on dynamics without completely ignoring utility, which should be the point of a wagon. But it may not be what the North American market needs right now. We’re just happy that long tops seem to be making a comeback somewhere in the world.
Details should continue to reveal themselves as the model moves toward its Paris debut. The 2019 Kia ProCeed is expected to go on sale in Europe at the beginning of next year. Kia currently has no plans to bring it to the United States, and we don’t really see that changing.