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Kia Cerato 2018 revealed in Detroit


Kia’s flagship Stinger performance sedan serves as the styling blueprint for the South Korean carmaker’s new-generation Cerato small car that has just been revealed at the North American International Auto Show.

Uncovered in its US-market Forte form, the Cerato sedan will hit Australian showrooms towards the middle of the year before the five-door hatchback version lands in the fourth quarter.

However, Australian-delivered cars will miss out on the new 109kW/179Nm 2.0-litre atmo four pot and continuously-variable transmission (CVT) combination revealed in Detroit as production of that particular driveline is sourced from Mexico and made exclusively for the US market.

Instead, local Ceratos will be powered by a carryover 112kW/192Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine paired with either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

Kia Australia will also continue to tweak suspension and steering settings for local conditions in the new-generation Cerato, as it has previously for its small car and other vehicles in its range.

Kia says that the increased proportions translates to increased legroom, headroom and storage capacity. Kia says that the increased proportions translates to increased legroom, headroom and storage capacity.

Speaking to journalists at the Detroit motor show by phone, Kia Motors Australia chief operating officer Damien Meredith said it was still too early to lock in pricing and specification for the upcoming Cerato.

“We will try very hard to have a Cerato in at $19,990,” he said. “Whether it be manual or auto we haven’t finalised our pricing strategy at this point in time.

“We haven’t finalised specs, but I think that the need to put AEB (autonomous emergency braking) into your base models is nearly compulsory. So whilst we haven’t made a decision, I think that the market expects it these days.”

Mr Meredith said that the inclusion of AEB will be a crucial factor in whether the new Cerato will come in under $20,000 like its predecessors.

“Do you go $19,990 without AEB or $20,490 with AEB?” he said. “I would probably say that as you get strong in the marketplace that you go $20,490, but let’s see what happens. But I make the point that I think the market demands that all levels of vehicles need AEB.

“There are two important factors: $19,990 is important but so is AEB. If we can get both, that would be fantastic. I am not quite sure we can do that.”

When it arrives in local showrooms, the Cerato will be available in four flavours – S, Sport, Sport Plus and a sportier GT variant expected to be powered by a 150kW turbocharged four-cylinder unit.

Comfort levels and handling characteristics are also expected to be boosted by the use of high-strength steel.

According to Kia, the look of the new Cerato draws inspiration from the Stinger for “a commanding road presence” aided by the wider-set headlights and a squat stance.

The sedan’s long bonnet and short overhangs also give it a sportscar visage, while the front end is dominated by the large ‘tiger nose’ front grille.

Overall, the Cerato has grown 81mm to measure 4641mm in length, while also being 18mm wider and about 13mm taller than before, which Kia says translates to increased legroom, headroom and storage capacity.

Inside, the Cerato gains a horizontally themed dashboard that includes an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen multimedia system, circular air vents and soft-touch materials throughout.

Comfort levels and handling characteristics are also expected to be boosted by the use of high-strength steel in the body construction to increase stiffness by up to 16 per cent.

Last year saw sales of Kia’s Cerato jump 42.9 per cent to 18,731, enough to beat out the Holden Astra (13,535), Honda Civic (14,672) and Volkswagen Golf (18,454) for fourth place in the sub-$40,000 small car segment.

With the release of the new-generation version, sales are expected to continue trending upward to challenge market leaders such as the Toyota Corolla, Mazda3 and Hyundai i30.

Is this the right styling direction for Kia’s new-generation Cerato small car? Tell us what you think in the comments below.