New Kia Cerato to start under $20,000

The all-new Kia Cerato range is set to get a three-stage Australian launch this year with the sedan, hatch and coupe models all arriving at different times. The entry price is set to stay under $20,000 to remain competitive with a number of new Japanese small-car rivals.
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The already unveiled Kia Cerato sedan will reach Australian showrooms in the second half of April ahead of the hatch (which is being unveiled at the Chicago auto show tomorrow) in July. The coupe (Cerato Koup) is looking likely for a December launch, or January 2014 at the latest.

At this stage entry-level models of the sedan and hatch are expected to carry over the current 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 115kW of power and 194Nm of torque, with higher-grade variants to be powered by a 129kW/209Nm direct-injection 2.0-litre petrol unit. Kia will offer the choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions with both engines.

It’s likely the Cerato Koup will only get the top engine tune but that is yet to be confirmed. It also depends on whether or not Kia Australia will get the go-ahead to bring the pro_cee’d GT, which may determine the possibility of a turbocharged Cerato Koup instead.

Asked whether or not the Kia Cerato Koup, which is set to be unveiled at the New York auto show in late March, could potentially steal sales from the pro_cee’d GT, Kia Australia’s national public relations manager, Kevin Hepworth, said the Cerato Koup and the turbocharged pro_cee’d GT were likely to appeal to the different buyers.

“[They are] different cars with different markets for them," Hepworth said. "Some people like the style of the coupe and are not necessarily concerned about a turbo engine. Lots of people have bought the current coupe on the looks.”

There will be three variants of the Cerato sedan and hatch (S, Si and SLi) with the base model to start at under $20,000 to compete with the new Toyota Corolla and Nissan Pulsar. The current six-speed manual Cerato S sedan and hatch start at $19,390 before on-road costs. Although Hepworth would not confirm the entry price, he said Kia would be pricing the entry Cerato “for whatever the market dictates is the entry point in that model range.

"It will be absolutely price competitive and value-plus for the segment.”

The new Kia Cerato range is likely to gain more equipment without a significant, if any, price rise.

“[We] intend to continue doing what we are doing, which is load the cars with the best available fruit that there is,” Hepworth said.

The new Korean-built Kia Cerato range still misses out on a diesel model, which Hepworth says is currently not on the agenda as sourcing diesel engines for passenger cars from Korea is not viable.

“Diesel engines for small cars are built in Europe and diesel is something that we haven’t at this stage looked at [but] it’s a possibility. There are a lot of complexities in getting a diesel engine, it’s something that is looked at on a regular basis. If circumstances allow, it would certainly be an opportunity.”

There are currently no plans to bring a turbocharged version of the Kia Cerato hatch to Australia.