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Kia gets cracking for 2010

Test run: Kia Motors Australia is trying to get some LPG-powered hybrid Ceratos as ambassador cars for the 2009 Australian Open tennis tournament.

New models keep coming as Korea’s Kia reinvents itself on quality, safety and style

Kia logo26 Oct 2009

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

HOT on the heels of the redesigned Cerato, Soul, Koup and XM Sorento, Kia will continue its fresh model introductions into 2010 with at least three big launches scheduled for Australia.

These will include the long-awaited hatchback version of the TD Cerato sedan released in January, as well as a third-generation Sportage compact SUV and a completely redesigned Magentis mid-sized car.

However, Australia will continue to miss out on the European-built and focussed Ceed small car and Venga light-car/MPV cross, while the recently unveiled Cadenza large car is a left-hand drive-only proposition for the time being.

Yet a Kia insider claims that Australia has been key to the development of a hatch version of the TD Cerato as a result of the Ceed no-show.

It will be a two-box five-door shape with an Audi A3-esque appearance, according to Kia, with a look that will bear the clean surfacing hallmark of former Audi stylist Peter Schreyer – the person who is now overseeing all of Kia’s new designs.

It is expected to make an international debut within the next six months, along with the new-generation Hyundai Tucson/ix35-based Sportage and Sonata/i40-derived Magentis.

17 center image From top: Kia Ceed, Kia Venga and Kia Cadenza.

Kia is also investigating the possibility of expanding the just-released four-cylinder-only XM Sorento range with the new ‘Lambda II’ 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, delivering about 206kW at 6300rpm and 335Nm at 5000rpm.

A replacement for the ageing Rio light car, too, is waiting in the wings, but that will not arrive until sometime in 2011 at the earliest.

Meanwhile, the Hyundai Motor Company subsidiary is also trying to secure a small number of Cerato LPI Hybrid sedans as ambassador vehicles for the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne in January.

However, if they arrive, these will only be here to test the waters, as well as serve as a brand-building exercise for Kia, says Kia Motors Australia managing director Terry Im.

“The tennis is the time when Kia has the most customer inquiries,” Mr Im told GoAuto.

“It is the best time for Kia to showcase what we have.”

If there is a strong-enough demand for it, the Cerato LPI Hybrid might be made available during 2011.

Kia was going to enter one in the 2009 Global Green Car Challenge but decided to use the event to publicise the low fuel consumption of the new XM Sorento CRDi turbo-diesel.

Twinned with a similarly powered Hyundai Elantra LPI Hybrid, the Cerato version employs an 85kW 1.6-litre LPI ‘Gamma’ engine with a 15kW ‘mild hybrid’ electric motor slotted between the engine flywheel and CVT transmission.

In Korea, the Cerato LPI Hybrid returns a combined fuel consumption rating of 5.6 litres per 100km on a fuel that is less than half the price of standard unleaded petrol.

As we reported in early October, South Korea’s liquid petroleum gas is not the same as Australia’s, as it contains a different mix of butane and propane, but Kia is working with LPG suppliers to address this for the Cerato LPI Hybrid.

Kia’s new-model rollout
TD Cerato hatch Mid 2010
Mk3 Sportage Late 2010
Mk2 Magentis Late 2010
XM Sorento V6 petrol Late 2010
Mk3 Rio 2011
Cerato LPI Hybrid 2011/2012

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