UPDATE, 21 April 2021: Kia has revealed the updated Cerato sedan in more detail, releasing an array of new images and details.
We've updated our original story with the new information, removing outdated details and spreading new photos of the Cerato sedan throughout. Additional photos can be found in the full gallery, accessed by clicking any image in the story.
For full details on the updated Cerato hatch, along with the GT performance flagship, click here to read the full story.
15 April 2021: The 2021 Kia Cerato has been officially unveiled, ahead of its Australian launch in May 2021.
Revealed in Korea as the K3 – in sedan guise only, with photos of the hatch reported here – the updated Cerato will reach South Korean Kia dealers later in April 2021, with revised exterior styling, new interior technologies and additional active safety features.
As revealed in multiple factory and workshop leaks in recent months, the facelifted small car scores a new front-end design, with slimmer LED headlights featuring dual-row LED daytime-running light signatures, connected by a thinner interpretation of Kia's corporate 'tiger nose' grille.
The brand's new logo features above the upper grille, while the lower bumper has been redesigned with a new look reminiscent of the new-generation K5 mid-size sedan (though Kia instead opts to draw design parallels with "the wing of a fighter").
At the rear, the tail-lights gain a new LED lighting signature claimed to deliver a three-dimensional effect, while the lower valence has also seen an update, carrying over many of the design motifs seen up front.
New 17-inch alloy wheels fill the arches, while Korean buyers can opt for a new Mineral Blue exterior colour.
Images of the flagship GT have been released in hatchback guise – read that story here – showing red accents and GT badging inside and out.
Inside, a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen with satellite navigation sits atop the dashboard, while a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster sits behind the steering wheel for the first time.
However, those features will be limited to high-grade models, with entry-level cars set to pick up a 4.2-inch digital driver display and an 8.0-inch infotainment screen.
Touch-based shortcut buttons sit below the touchscreen, while a new brown leather interior colour can also be seen. Kia's new logo also sits in the centre of the steering wheel.
Other interior features include dual-zone automatic climate control, an electric parking brake (replacing the current manual lever), over-the-air infotainment updates, and a wireless smartphone charging pad.
An expanded suite of active safety technologies are available, headlined by Highway Driving Assist, combining the adaptive cruise control and lane-following assist systems to accelerate, brake and centre the Cerato in its lane on freeways.
It joins autonomous emergency braking with cyclist detection, safe exit warning, driver attention monitoring, a reversing camera, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, with the latter pair capable of both detecting and braking for obstacles.
There's also hill-hold assist, a remote start function (activated from the key fob), and rear occupant alert, the lattermost reminding drivers to check the rear seats upon exiting the vehicle.
Under the bonnet, a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine will be retained in the flagship GT, with outputs pegged at 150kW and 265Nm. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic remains the only transmission choice.
The current GT's combined fuel economy claim of 6.8L/100km should also carry over, as the engine won't be upgraded to Hyundai/Kia's newer, more efficient SmartStream family, as fitted to the Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line.
The remainder of the range is likely retain its 112kW/192Nm 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder, though whether it will swap its six-speed automatic transmission for a CVT auto (as per the Kia Seltos small SUV) remains unclear.
The 2021 Kia Cerato will launch in Australia in May 2021.