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Future models - Kia - Cerato - GT

Kia Cerato GT looms for 2019

Sporting future: Kia launched the new-gen Cerato in sedan guise last week, but a sportier flavoured GT is on the way.

Image-enhancing Kia Cerato GT flagship to offer turbo performance and IRS

Kia logo11 Jun 2018

KIA is set to boost the new Cerato’s appeal next year with a series-first turbocharged warm hatch with independent multi-link rear suspension, bringing significantly improved performance as well as handling compared with the regular variants.

 

The Cerato GT, as it is expected to be called, is set to be powered by a variation of the 150kW/265Nm 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol engine from the SR versions of Hyundai’s closely related i30 and Elantra.

 

Crucially, the newcomer would address the two biggest hurdles that held back Kia’s previous attempt at a sub hot-hatch model – the European-sourced Pro_cee’d GT three door that launched in late 2013 – namely the option of a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and the choice of four-door sedan or five-door hatch body styles.

 

Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the fourth-generation Cerato in Adelaide last week, Kia Motors Australia (KMAu) product planning manager Roland Rivero said that work has already commenced to ensure that the package is right for the Australian market.

 

“Our current (Cerato) flagship is the Sport+, but that’s only the current flagship for the time being,” he said. “Very soon there will be a halo warm hatch variant to come, that will feature independent rear suspension, a 1.6-litre turbo and a completely unique suspension tune that we believe will enhance the Cerato brand.

 

“We’re looking at bringing in a seven-speed dual-clutch across the GT range… and we wouldn’t restrict it to just a hatch either.”

 

Mr Rivero added that the GT would not only evoke the old Pro_cee’d GT with extensive chassis modifications designed to appeal to performance-orientated drivers, it would also build on the momentum created by the addition of sportier versions of the standard Cerato variants – specifically the previous-generation limited-edition Sport and Sport+ released in concert with Kia’s ongoing Australian Open tennis championship sponsorship in 2016.

 

“Anybody who misses the Pro_cee’d GT of old will appreciate what we’ve brought to the package,” he revealed. “Graeme Gambold (KMAu technical advisor) and I spent some time in Namyang (Kia Motors’ research and development headquarters in South Korea) doing our initial tune, and we’ll spend a bit more time here in Australia fine-tuning it more.

 

“With the Sport and Sport+, what’s worked for us is that we walked away from a more-luxurious to a sportier-looking model, helped by the extra character that the lower-profile tyres and 17-inch alloys gave them.

 

“So, the way we tune our cars more for handling than ride comfort, as a formula for Cerato Sport initially as an AO edition and then an ongoing trim proved very successful, so we were very inclined, along with our dealer network, to continue that formula with the BD generation.”

 

Along with the Cerato, the Picanto micro is set to score the GT badge with a new 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo and dual-clutch gearbox upgrade to sit above the successful GT-Line, while the Rio light car will also gain the latter powertrain in an upcoming GT-Line version.

 

The company offered a turbo version of the previous Cerato in two-door Koup guise for three years from 2013, with the Pro_cee’d GT’s 150kW/265Nm 1.6-litre turbo driving the front wheels, but without the multi-link rear end and a six-speed torque-converter auto as an alternative to the standard six-speed manual.


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