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The new Cerato! 2025 Kia K4 hybrid sedan shapes up with Toyota Corolla, Hyundai i30 and Mazda 3 rival expected to land in Australia this year

Expect the K4 to follow the Rio/K3 as the next small model to take a premium step (Image: Gotcha Cars via Korean Car Blog).

Kia's shift into a more premium space shows it's come a long way since the brand we knew in the 2000s, but with it comes the replacement of its budget-friendly models into sleek, stylish small cars to rival Europe's offerings.

The Kia Cerato, a successful model for the brand historically, is the next of these to undergo metamorphosis, with what's likely to be called the K4 coming to replace it.

Rendered above by digital artists at Gotcha Cars for news site Korean Car Blog, this look at what to expect from the K4 shows a slightly larger small sedan with design cues from Kia's newest cars.

There's been a lot of secrecy surrounding the K4 as a Cerato successor, but aside from a series of spy shots seen in recent months showing that the above render could be fairly spot on, there are a couple of details we can count on.

For a start, the K4 will retain a petrol engine, having been spied getting around with all the necessary vents and grilles to cool a combustion engine, though we wouldn't be surprised to see the K4 go hybrid fairly soon into its lifespan.

It's not clear what those drivetrains will consist of, though the brand's 1.6-litre turbocharged engine is still in wide use for its models, while the Hyundai i30 Sedan Hybrid from Kia's sibling brand should be able to lend its electrified 104kW/265Nm drivetrain to the similar-sized Kia.

The K4 is also reportedly set for testing in Australia, all but confirming the next-gen small car will launch Down Under - although not until at least late in 2024, given it's not even been revealed yet.

The current Kia Cerato is available from $26,590 before on-road costs. The current Kia Cerato is available from $26,590 before on-road costs.

Local testing also means local tuning, something Kia has done for years with its cars sold here, meaning Australian cars will suit local roads and conditions better than they otherwise would.

It is all but certain that the Cerato name will be retired in favour of K4 for this generation.

The Cerato name isn't used in the US, where it's called the Forte, while the K4 name had been used on a similar car sold only in China between 2014 and 2020.