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The new Kia Cerato hatch has been unveiled at today’s Chicago auto show with the surprise announcement of its availability with a turbocharged engine.

The new Kia Cerato hatch, which follows the unveiling of the sedan at the Los Angeles auto show in November, is destined for an Australian release in early July but questions remain over the range of engine choices set for Australia.

So far the two confirmed engines for Australia-bound hatches are the same as the sedan, the existing 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol with 115kW of power and 194Nm of torque and a new 2.0-litre direct-injection petrol engine with 129kW of power and 209Nm of torque.

Confirmation of a turbocharged Cerato hatch for the North American market powered by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder producing 150kW and 264Nm of torque does not necessarily mean it will make it to Australia, however.

Speaking with CarAdvice at the Chicago auto show, Kia Australia’s national public relations manager, Kevin Hepworth, said it’s “something that will be looked at but at this stage [there are] no plans to bring turbocharging to the hatch”.

It all seems to depend on whether or not Kia Australia will get the thumbs up for the turbocharged pro_cee’d GT hot hatch. If not, it’s likely that a Cerato variant will get the turbocharging option. Whether that’s the yet-to-be-unveiled coupe or the hatch is unknown.

Interestingly, the Cerato turbo hatch is available in both six-speed manual and auto, unlike the manual-only Slovakian-built pro_cee’d GT.

From the outside the new Kia Cerato hatch is certainly a looker. Although very much like the sedan from the front, the rear end has its own unique style, regardless of shape, which adds further character to the Korean-designed hatch.

Key features of the turbocharged and high-spec naturally aspirated models include 18-inch alloy wheels (225/40R18 tyres), dual chrome exhaust tips, LED tail-lights, alloy sport pedals and carbonfibre-style accents for the front and rear seats.

Although yet to be confirmed for the Australian market, other optional features available to North American customers include HID headlights, navigation system with HD radio, sunroof, heated steering wheel, 10-way adjustable power driver’s seat, heated front seats and cooled driver’s seat, heated rear outboard seats, leather upholstery, smart key with push-button start, electrochromatic rear-view mirror and dual-zone climate control.

The new Cerato hatch is likely to be undergoing Kia Australia’s localisation program at this very moment, which will see its suspension set-up optimised for Australian roads. The work will be conducted on the hatch’s McPherson strut front set-up and multi-link rear design.

The Kia Cerato range will launch in April with the sedan, followed by the hatch in July and finally the Cerato Koup in late 2013 or early 2014. Prices are expected to start below $20,000 for the entry model manual hatch and sedan.




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