Kia's local branch is still pursuing the sub-light Picanto with head office in South Korea, but admits at this stage it is looking unlikely to reach our shores in 2012. The Cerato small car is not due for an update until early in 2013, while popular models like the Carnival and Sportage will continue unchanged for the foreseeable future.
Vehicle type: Medium car. Timing: January
Kia’s striking medium sedan becomes significantly more accessible in 2012 with the introduction of the entry-level Optima Si. Priced from $30,490, it’s $6500 cheaper than the Platinum (previously the only variant available in Australia). Compared with the Platinum, the Si gets smaller front brakes, 17-inch alloy wheels (instead of 18s), cloth trim (instead of leather), six-way power driver’s seat (instead of eight-way with memory), and a chrome grille (instead of two-tone black chrome). Additionally, it misses out on HID headlamps, LED daytime running lights, static cornering lamps, LED taillights and rear fog lamps, sports bumpers, rear lips spoiler, smart key with push-button start, wood trim, four-way power passenger’s seat, front seat heaters, alloy pedals and scuff plates, mood lamps, panoramic sunroof, colour TFT instrument cluster screen, six CD changer, and the premium sound system with subwoofer.
Vehicle type: Light car. Timing: February
The three-door hatch and four-door sedan body styles will join the acclaimed Rio five-door early in the New Year. Pricing hasn’t been confirmed yet, but we expect the sedan to match the five-door and the three-door to be at least $1000 cheaper, potentially with a $14,990 starting price. Kia is yet to confirm if the new body styles will be offered in all three trim levels – S, Si and SLi – or a selection of those. Expect equipment levels to be equivalent across all three body styles.
Vehicle type: Medium SUV. Timing: August
Kia’s largest SUV will benefit from a revised chassis and a mild facelift during the third quarter of 2012 (2011 model pictured). Kia Australia says the Sorento’s suspension will be tweaked to improve it on-road behaviour and ride characteristics. The engines and transmissions will carry over unchanged, and prices are expected to remain similar to their current levels.