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Kia’s next Cerato uncovered

Sleek sedan: The styling of the next generation Kia Cerato sedan is a departure from the current model.

Vital new Kia small car surfaces in Seoul ahead of 2013 Australian launch


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30 Jul 2012

KIA Motors has unveiled complete exterior shots of its forthcoming new-generation Cerato, just days after releasing sketches that pointed to a dramatic redesign of the all-important small car.

Set to be launched in South Korea around September as the K3 – and dubbed Forte in other markets – the third-generation Cerato will not surface in Australia until at least the second quarter of next year, following its international debut at the Los Angeles auto show in November.

The sleek four-door sedan is the only YD-series body style to have been revealed.

Exposing a thorough departure from the look of the current TD sedan range released in early 2009, the new model shares similar visual themes with Kia’s well-received Optima mid-sizer and Rio light car.

As GoAuto reported last week, a hatchback will follow about six months later, after a possible introduction at the next Detroit motor show in January, replacing the existing five-door model released just two years ago.

A replacement for the striking Koup has also been confirmed for this series. Expect to see that at the New York show in April next year, some four years after the current model’s debut.

Further information, including interior styling and drivetrain details, have been kept under wraps, though Kia says the newcomer is larger and wider than today’s version, with a longer wheelbase.

“There is nothing technically being revealed to us at this stage about the Cerato,” said Kia Motors Australia PR manager Kevin Hepworth.

Mr Hepworth said the new Cerato will undergo similar suspension and steering ‘localisation’ testing as the existing Rio and Optima to create more favourable ride and handling characteristics for the Australian market.

Kia’s latest iteration of its global bestseller has been predominantly developed in Germany alongside the second-generation Hyundai i30 launched in June, as well as the more sophisticated but Europe-only Ceed hatch.

This means it shares most of the Hyundai’s all-new architecture, including a MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear set-up, electric power steering, and NU-series direct-injection four-cylinder petrol engines.

However, the advanced 110kW/178Nm 1.8-litre engine found in the latest i30 will probably be overlooked in favour of the 2.0-litre Theta II unit found in some Optima models overseas, producing around 120kW and 200Nm, driving the front wheels via six-speed manual and automatic transmissions.

Turbocharged and naturally aspirated versions of the 1.6-litre powerplant from the related Hyundai Veloster coupe may also make their way to Australia later, but diesel engines are apparently off the agenda.

Despite the European connection, Kia will build the Australian-market Cerato in South Korea to keep costs down.

When it does arrive, the next Cerato will complete Kia’s design-led reinvention for its passenger vehicles. It is the company’s first C-segment small car with styling completely overseen by former Audi designer Peter Schreyer.

Design work was reportedly carried out in Frankfurt and Kia’s Namyang Design Centre in South Korea.

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