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Driven: Kia expands Cerato line-up with hatch, GT

New hatch, GT to boost Kia Cerato sales this year following 2018 supply issues

18 Jan 2019

KIA Motors Australia (KMAu) is expecting sales of the Cerato small car to bounce back after a troublesome 2018, with its new-generation hatch having now joined its sedan counterpart in showrooms alongside a pair of warmed-over GT variants.


Speaking to GoAuto this week at the Cerato hatch national media launch in Yering, Victoria, KMAu general manager of product planning Roland Rivero said supply issues impacted the model’s sales last year, which were down 0.6 per cent, to 18,620 vehicles.


“Last year was a messy one,” he said. “We could’ve done more, but … there were some union disputes that delayed the launch of the hatchback.


“We stopped building (previous-generation) hatches in July. So, we had a blackout period of almost six months.


“We stockpiled, and we were very responsible. But, in effect, no matter how hard you try to stockpile and pre-empt the next five months, it’s very, very difficult.


“It was good because the new sedan was doing very, very well, but a lot of customers just want a hatch.”


Mr Rivero said that the sedan, which launched in early June, was responsible for about 5000 of the Cerato’s sales last year, adding that he would like to see the model’s sales increase by about a third.


“I’d like to think we can start going for some closer to 2000 a month … if we had free supply, and just judging by the order take-ups,” he said.


“That’s the ambitious number that I’ve come up with; it’s not exactly the business plan that we’ve committed to KMC (Kia Motors Corporation).”


The Cerato finished 2018 as the fifth best-selling small car in the sub-$40,000 segment, trailing the Toyota Corolla (35,320 units), Mazda3 (31,065), Hyundai i30 (28,188) and Volkswagen Golf (19,076).


Mr Rivero said the Cerato should climb one rung up the ladder this year but was cautious about it cracking the top three, despite his hopes for 24,000 sales.


“We can definitely recover the number-four spot, which we lost last year,” he said. “Whether we’ll get to i30 figures, that’s a big call. Overtaking that car would be a big job.”


Mr Rivero added that the Cerato’s volume will feature “a healthy mix” of its two body styles and four grades – S, Sport, Sport+ and GT – now that the full line-up is in showrooms.


“I think the sedans look alright,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s hovering around the 70/30 (hatch/sedan) mark.


“It’s not just everyone buying a base model. It’s almost like 30 per cent S, 30 per cent Sport, 30 per cent Sport+.”


When asked if this means the GT will contribute 10 per cent of the Cerato’s sales, Mr Rivero said it could command a share of up to 15 per cent, with early dealer orders sitting at 20 per cent as they begin stockpiling vehicles.


As reported, the Cerato hatch features range-wide driveaway launch pricing, starting from $19,990 for the entry-level S grade with a six-speed manual transmission, while opting for a six-speed torque-convertor automatic unit adds $1500 to this cost.


Stepping up to the mid-range, automatic-only Sport and Sport+ variants costs $23,690 and $26,190 respectively, while the flagship GT grade checks in at $31,990 and is exclusively mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddle-shifters and Sport mode.


Non-GT variants are motivated by a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 112kW of power at 6200rpm and 192Nm of torque at 4000rpm.


Kia claims fuel consumption is 7.4 (automatic) to 7.6 (manual) litres per 100 kilometres, while carbon dioxide emissions are 167 (automatic) to 173 (manual) grams per kilometre, with both assessed on the combined cycle test.


The GT ups the ante with its 1.6-litre turbocharged unit that develops 150kW at 6000rpm and 265Nm from 1500 to 4500rpm while consuming 6.8L/100km and emitting 158g/km.


Standard equipment in the S includes 16-inch steel wheels wrapped in 205/55 tyres, front 280mm ventilated disc brakes, dusk-sensing halogen headlights, halogen daytime running lights (DRLs), heated side mirrors and a space-saver spare wheel.


Inside, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, DAB+ digital radio, an auxiliary input, a six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, a 3.5-inch multi-information display, one 12V power outlet, two USB ports, manual air-conditioning, cloth-trimmed seats with manual six-way adjustment for the driver, and Satin Silver interior doorhandles feature.


Advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) extend to a camera-based autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane-keep assist, cruise control, a manual speed limiter, driver attention alert, reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, hill-start assist and tyre pressure monitoring, plus six airbags (dual front, side and curtain).


The Sport adds 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 225/45 tyres, satellite navigation with live traffic, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear selector, and illuminated vanity mirrors.


Meanwhile, the Sport+ further includes LED DRLs, auto-folding side mirrors, keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate control, rear air vents, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather-appointed seats with front heating, soft-touch front upper door trims, radar-based AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection and adaptive cruise control, while blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are now standard from October 2018 production.


The S and Sport can be optioned with a $1000 Safety Pack that bundles in all of the Sport+’s additional ADAS features alongside a leather-trimmed steering wheel and auto-folding side mirrors, with its take-up rate currently at 26 and 20 per cent respectively.


Sitting at the top of the tree, the GT also features 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 225/40 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres, front 305mm ventilated disc brakes, LED headlights and tail-lights, a sports bodykit, dual exhaust tips and gloss-black side mirrors.


Inside, an eight-speaker JBL sound system, a 4.2-inch multi-information display, wireless smartphone charging, leather-appointed sports seats with front ventilation, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with two-way lumbar support and memory functionality, a perforated leather-trimmed flat-bottom steering wheel, alloy sports pedals and Brushed Silver interior doorhandles are added.


KMAu’s ride and handling team tweaked the GT’s sports-tuned electric power steering and suspension, which rides 5mm lower and includes an independent multi-link rear axle, to better suit Australia conditions. Non-GT grades instead feature a torsion beam.


Eight paintwork options are available, including one no-cost (Clear White) and seven premium hues, which attract a $520 premium. Sunset Orange is exclusive to the GT.


Measuring in at 4510mm long (+160mm), 1800mm wide (+20mm) and 1445mm tall (-5mm), the five-door hatch has changed in every dimension except wheelbase, which remains at 2700mm.


Cargo capacity is up 43L, to 428L, but can be increased to an unknown figure when the 60/40 split-fold rear bench is stowed.


2018 Kia Cerato hatch driveaway pricing

S $19,990
S (a) $21,490
Sport (a) $23,690
Sport+ (a) $26,190
GT (a) $31,990

*Excludes on-road costs

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