The all-new Kia Rondo will launch locally in May 2013 with a 1.7-litre turbo diesel engine, in addition to a more powerful 2.0-litre petrol engine.
The Kia Rondo's turbo diesel engine, shared with the Hyundai i40, produces 100kW of power and 330Nm of torque. The petrol engine, also shared with the i40, is a direct injection unit producing 130kW and 211Nm, significantly up on the 106kW and 189Nm of the outgoing, non-direct-injected 2.0-litre Rondo.
Both petrol and diesel engines mate with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Currently a slow-selling model, Kia Australia PR manager Kevin Hepworth hints that volumes may grow with the new model – known as the Carens in some markets.
“It [the new Rondo] looks like a large five-door hatch. It doesn’t drive around screaming ‘look at me, I’ve got kids coming out of my ears’.
“Marketed properly and not dismissed out of hand because it is a small people mover … it could be a very interesting car for Australia.”
The new Kia Rondo will be “priced off the current Rondo”, which means between $26-32K for the petrol models. It is expected that the diesel surcharge will be $3000 in line with the premium between Sportage petrol and diesel models.
The Rondo won't, however, mark the start of an expansion of a diesel-engined Kia passenger car line-up. According to the Kia PR boss, the prospects of the Cerato (pictured below) and Optima scoring a turbo diesel engine in the near future are slim, despite diesel engines being fairly popular in their Hyundai i30 and i40 equivalent rivals.
While Hepworth says that “diesel engines in passenger cars is a discussion and will [continue to] be a discussion” he cautions that “a lot of it [the decision] comes down to availability … diesel is the least available of the engines around.”
Kia Australia is allocated a certain number of diesels per year, and according to the PR boss, the Sportage and Sorento SUV models already strain that supply.
If Kia’s diesel passenger car range was expanded, Hepworth says that “I would think the five-door [Cerato hatch] would be the model to put the diesel into.
“Would it be nice to have one? I suspect it would. [But] you would have to pick your model correctly."
While the Pro_Cee'd is available with a diesel engine in Europe, Kia Australia will bring only the turbocharged flagship Pro_Cee'd GT to Australia as it is destined as a ‘halo’ car to sit above the Cerato.
Although the Optima – a chance at getting a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine – is available in some markets with the same 1.7-litre turbo diesel engine used in the Hyundai i40 and forthcoming Rondo, Hepworth says “it [diesel] is not a point of discussion as far as I’m aware of”.