Triple strength

Kia’s next Cer­ato has two, four and five-door ver­sions

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

The car was de­signed in Los An­ge­les and is badged as the Forte for Amer­ica. Only those badges and the fi­nal tweak­ing will change for Aus­tralia

‘‘ The sedan will be in April, fol­lowed by the five-door— prob­a­bly in July— and the twodoor Koup late in the year,’’ con­firms Kevin Hep­worth of Kia Mo­tors Aus­tralia.

‘‘ The Cer­ato is our vol­ume car. The sedan is one of our main fleet cars and the hatch is the top-sell­ing model. Even in runout at the moment the old car is sell­ing strongly.’’

He can­not talk about Cer­ato pric­ing, which cur­rently starts just a lit­tle un­der $20,000 for sedan and hatch alike, but is not fore­cast­ing any dra­matic change for cus­tomers. ‘‘ We’ve got no idea on price at this stage. But it will be typ­i­cal Kia, so if there is an in­crease at all it won’t be big,’’ Hep­worth says.

The em­pha­sis in LA is on the car’s de­sign, in­clud­ing a sig­nif­i­cant up­grade in cabin qual­ity and ex­tra stan­dard equip­ment at all lev­els. But the third-gen­er­a­tion car is also longer, lower and wider than the one it will re­place.

The styling is bold and, in some ways, the Cer­ato looks like a shrunken Op­tima. In­side, it looks good and the Amer­i­can models are promised with ev­ery­thing from Blue­tooth stream­ing and fan-forced seat cool­ing to satel­lite ra­dio and an LCD dash­board dis­play.

None of the equip­ment, or a me­chan­i­cal package with two en­gines and six-speed man­u­als and au­tos for the US, is con­firmed yet for Aus­tralia.

‘‘ It’s largely about the de­sign at the moment,’’ says Hep­worth.

‘‘ And tim­ing is im­por­tant, be­cause last time we didn’t have a hatch un­til 18 months from the end of the model. At the moment the en­gines look like a carry-over 2.0-litre from the ex­ist­ing model.

‘‘ But the ride-and-han­dling team have got to the car quite early and done sig­nif­i­cant work. We have the tim­ing, we have a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion of models, and it’s a style-driven ve­hi­cle.’’

Spaced out: The LAde­signed Forte is our next Cer­ato

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