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Buyers hunting in the small-car market next year can expect to find, among the dozens of options on offer, a comprehensively refreshed 2016 Kia Cerato range.

The current Cerato, revealed early in 2012, introduced a look that veered away from the anticipated ‘mini Optima’ styling hinted at during a presentation made to media at Kia’s Namyang development centre in 2011. (These images, although not official, are very similar to the sketches we saw in Korea.)

Now, as a number of sharp new models begin appearing in the global Kia range, the small Cerato’s rounded styling has made it something of an anonymous anomaly in a line-up that focuses on sporty and aggressive styling.

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Above: although not official, these speculative sketches from 2011 could preview what’s to come for the updated Cerato.

The extent of the 2016 Cerato’s styling update is still to be revealed, but, speaking with CarAdvice today, Kia Australia communications manager Kevin Hepworth confirmed that a significant makeover is on the cards.

“This will be an almost new car, it’s a significant change,” Hepworth said. “There’s some big metal changes to it, front and rear. It’s quite significant.”

“We’ve got a very busy start to next year; Picanto, Sportage (revealed today), and then we’ll have Cerato. And while the other two are new models to Australia, Cerato is what we call a ‘product enhancement’, with big interior and exterior changes.”

Timing for the updated Cerato’s arrival is still to be confirmed, although Hepworth confirmed it will follow the Picanto and Sportage, both of which are due in the first quarter of 2016. For the Cerato, a “mid to late second quarter” launch is expected.

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Above: the Novo concept, revealed in April this year.

The third-generation Cerato’s new looks will see it through to the launch of an all-new replacement, which is expected to draw its styling inspiration from the very Optima-like Novo concept that debuted in April.

A launch date for the next-generation Cerato is still to be confirmed, but, with the facelifted model likely to get a few years in the spotlight, a late 2018 launch could be on the cards.

In the meantime, watch for the refreshed Cerato hatch and sedan to debut in the coming months.

Sales of the current Cerato have picked up in 2015, after a relatively quiet showing in 2014. Figures at the end of July show the small hatch and sedan on 6191 sales year-to-date, compared to 3903 at the same point last year.

More: Kia Australia to close sales gap to Hyundai




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