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First look: Kia previews new Cerato

Lighting it up: The angular tail-light design in this rendering of the new Cerato is clearly influenced by the larger Optima sedan.

First sketches of Kia’s vital new Cerato emerge ahead of global debut in November


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23 Jul 2012

24/07/2012KIA has released first official sketches of the vital new Cerato small sedan four months ahead of its public debut at the Los Angeles motor show in November.

The Korean company today sprung two detailed renderings previewing the exterior design of its crucial new model, which is due to hit local showrooms by March next year as a replacement for the current Cerato – Kia Australia’s top-selling model this year.

The new Cerato will debut in Australia as a sedan, with a five-door hatchback expected to emerge around six months later, and a two-door coupe (a replacement for the current Kia Koup) also confirmed for production.

Kia will roll out the three Cerato model bodystyles considerably faster than the 18-month timeframe of the current generation.

The Cerato will be one of two Kia models to be launched at motor shows this year, with the new-generation Rondo compact people-mover expected to be revealed in Paris in September.

Kia says the new model will be longer and wider than its predecessor, but will sit lower and feature “futuristic and dynamic styling”.

Both sketches indicate the next Cerato will have more aggressive proportions than the current model, with a sharply-raked windscreen, high waistline and pronounced scalloping on the doors.

The sporting intent in the design is further emphasised by bonnet bulges above both front wheels, a low coupe-like roofline and macho flared arches covering the large alloy wheels.

GoAuto understands the renderings are accurate reflections of the final design, with the signature ‘pinched’ grille and angular head and tail-lights (which appear to have taken inspiration from the Optima sedan) a sure bet to carry through to the final design.

Believed to be based on the same architecture as the recently released second-generation Hyundai i30, the new Cerato’s body is said to house a more tactile and spacious cabin.

Kia chief designer Peter Schreyer told GoAuto in March that the new cabin had “improved even more than the exterior”, and would offer reduced levels of noise, vibration and harshness.

Expect the interior design to mirror that of the Europe-only Cee’d hatch and wagon premiered at the Geneva motor show in March this year, with a more driver-oriented instrument fascia and heavier use of soft-touch plastics than the current model.

Kia is closely guarding further information, but the Cerato could share a four-cylinder petrol engine with the i30, which is sold in Australia with a 110kW/178Nm 1.8-litre unit.

Another option is the 103kW/166Nm 1.6-litre direct-injected unit used in the Cee’d (and the Hyundai Veloster), matched to six-speed manual and dual-clutch automatic transmissions.

Coupe versions are also tipped to potentially get the 155kW turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine from the forthcoming Veloster Turbo, giving the company its first legitimate sportscar.

The new Cerato – which is also badged as the Forte in some markets – will hit showrooms in its home market of Korea later this year badged as the K3, in-line with Kia’s domestic naming policy.

Last year, the Cerato/Forte was Kia’s global best-seller, with more than 445,000 units delivered.

In Australia this year, Cerato sedan and hatch sales increased 52.8 per cent to the end of June, to 4150 units.

Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer Tony Barlow said the company was eagerly awaiting the new-generation model.

“The Cerato is, and will continue to be, a very important model in the Australian line-up,” he said.

“We are certainly looking forward to the new generation which clearly continues Kia’s dramatic styling progression.”

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