Is this the new Cerato hatch?
The new-generation 2018 Kia Ceed has been revealed today, and no we haven't forgotten an apostrophe: Kia's dropped it, to the delight of grammar prescriptivists around the world.
As expected, the new Ceed wears front-end styling largely identical to the 2018 Kia Cerato sedan revealed in January. Shared elements include the headlights, bonnet and front guards, while the pillars and both front and rear doors appear to be cut from the same sheet metal.
Standout differences, apart from a hatch-specific rear end, include a more familiar chrome-wrapped grille design - in place of the top-and-bottom trim of the Cerato sedan shown in Detroit - and a different look to the air dam and fog light bezels.
At the rear, as revealed through spy photos earlier this year, the Ceed hatch joins the Stonic SUV in wearing a look inspired by the larger Optima Sportswagon, with long tail lamps and a stepped design to the hatch lid.
Moving into the cabin is where we see a more distinct departure from the Cerato, with an interior design unique to the Ceed.
Where the Cerato features rounded corner vents and a bottom-heavy dash designs, the Ceed gets square, high-mounted vents integrated into masses of gloss black and silver trim.
Above: the new Ceed hatch interior
The differences continue with the infotainment housing, the transmission housing and centre console, and exposed versus slide-covered cupholders. The Ceed also gets a more premium look to its door grabs and handles.
Why Kia continues to offer one product for Europe and another for the rest of the world is anybody's guess.
The company says it allows its European and North American design studios the freedom to work to each market's tastes and expectations, and it's likely some amount of focus-group testing is involved in the process.
Likewise, the cars are built at different plants, with different supply chains.
Above: the Cerato sedan's cabin, revealed in Detroit
Under the skin, the Ceed rides on what the company is calling its new 'K2' platform, which is also the badge worn by the Chinese market's version of the Kia Rio. Odd stuff, but then so is Ford sticking the Endura engine name on our version of the Edge.
The new Ceed's wheelbase remains unchanged at 2650mm, but overall length has not been confirmed. As a point of comparison, the new and old Cerato both have a 2700mm wheelbase.
Engine options for this European offering will include a new 1.6-litre diesel with 84kW and 100kW tunes, with a claim that its emissions compliance will "go beyond" Euro 6 regulations.
Petrol engines include Kia's 88kW turbo 1.0-litre three-cylinder, a 73kW naturally-aspirated 1.4-litre mill and a 103kW 1.4-litre turbo four to replace Kia's older naturally-aspirated 1.6-litre engine.
A six-speed manual will be offered across the range, with a seven-speed dual-clutch auto option for the 1.4 petrol and 1.6 diesel engines.
Above in red: the new Cerato sedan, shown in American 'Forte' guise
The Ceed will go on sale in Europe in the second quarter. Australia will see a new Cerato hatch later this year, but it remains to be seen just how much it will have in common with the car shown here.
We could see the Ceed here in this exact form, or we might get the same exterior design but with the Cerato sedan's dash. Perhaps Kia Australia will adopt the Ceed name for its hatch and leave the Cerato badge to the sedan… we'll know for sure, in late 2018.
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