Kia Australia is keeping hot hatch hopes alive, despite having already discontinued former performance-skewed models like the Pro_cee’d GT and Koup Turbo.
With the next-generation Cerato however the hope remains that Kia Australia will be able to add a sport halo-model to the range
While the brand won’t be getting its own version of Hyundai’s i30 N hot hatch, that won’t stop Kia from giving the new Cerato a performance upgrade thanks to its local tuning program.
The new Cerato is tipped to be unveiled at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show in January and go on sale in Australia by the middle of the year, starting with the sedan in June or July with the five-door hatch following a month later.
Beneath the surface the new Cerato will share its underpinnings and key mechanical components with the new Hyundai i30 that arrived in 2017, which is available with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol, 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol and 1.6-litre turbo diesel as well as both torsion beam and multi-link independent rear suspension setups.
Kia Australia chief operating officer Damien Meredith confirmed that the local operation is working to secure the more advanced independent rear suspension system, for at least the higher grade models, to enable its local ride and handling program to tune a sporty version of the new Cerato.
“It’s in our product plans,” Meredith confirmed.
He explained that although potential range-topping Cerato won’t be direct replacement for the Pro_cee’d GT three-door hot hatch it is likely to powered by a version of that car’s 150kW/265Nm 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine, instead of the 184kW/353Nm 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine found in the i30 N.
The new Cee'd will be built in Europe while the Australian-bound Cerato will be sourced from Korea.
Kia Australia will continue to balance the Cerato range with value pricing for the entry-level model, most likely using the same 2.0-litre non-turbo petrol engine and torsion beam rear suspension as the Hyundai i30 Active.
Meredith said the company is aiming to have a $20,000 drive-away price for the cheapest model in new Cerato line-up, holding it at the same level as the current offer for the current generation car.
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