Kia Australia has quietly introduced new variants of the Cerato and Picanto, both adding manual transmissions to popular trim levels.
The new Cerato Sport manual and Picanto GT-Line manual have been added for the 2020 model year, offering stick shift versions of each grade for the first time and reducing their respective pricing compared to the current automatic offerings.
In the case of the Cerato, the six-speed manual Sport is listed at $22,990 plus on-road costs, a $2600 saving compared to the equivalent six-speed automatic. As with the wider range, though, Kia Australia is offering sharp drive-away deals, with the Cerato Sport manual currently being advertised for $22,490 drive-away – $2000 less than the auto.
Above: Kia Cerato Sport automatic shown
Standard equipment includes autonomous emergency braking with forward collision warning, lane keep assist, front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera, 17-inch alloy wheels, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen navigation system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Power comes from a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine making 112kW at 6200rpm and 192Nm at 4000rpm, with drive sent exclusively to the front wheels.
Like the auto-equipped Sport, the manual version can also be had with the $1000 Safety Pack 1, which brings pedestrian and cyclist detection to the AEB system by adding a radar sensor, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and electric folding exterior mirrors. Manual models with the Safety Pack miss out on the adaptive cruise control function of auto variants.
As for the Picanto GT-Line, the new manual option brings a five-speed manual option to the previously auto-only trim level. The entire Picanto range (bar the turbocharged GT) now offers both manual and automatic transmissions.
Priced from $15,690 plus on-road costs, the Picanto GT-Line manual is identically specified to the popular automatic version, meaning standard kit includes autonomous emergency braking with forward collision warning, a 7.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rear-view camera with dynamic guidelines, the GT-Line exterior package (body kit, contrast body accents), 16-inch alloys, LED daytime-running lights, leatherette seats, alloy sports pedals, and 'premium' leather-look trim for the steering wheel and shift knob.
Under the bonnet is a 1.25-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine outputting 62kW at 6000rpm and 122Nm at 4000rpm.
Like the Cerato, the Picanto is being advertised with ongoing drive-away pricing on the Kia Australia website.
The GT-Line manual is shown from $17,290 drive-away, a $1000 saving compared to the four-speed automatic model.
Kia's move to add more manuals comes at a time where manufacturers are ditching three-pedal models. In the small car class the Cerato competes in, rivals like the Ford Focus, Holden Astra, and Volkswagen Golf have recently dropped their price-leading manual versions.
At the same time, sister brand Hyundai continues to offer a range of manual versions for the related i30 hatchback, while the new Mazda 3 continues to feature a manual as standard for every trim level.
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