Blown this way

Tur­bocharg­ing will take Kia’s petrol cars to the next level

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - CHRIS RI­LEY chris.ri­

TURBO power is coming to the Kia range. And, af­ter Cars­guide’s test drive in the United States, we reckon it can’t come soon enough.

The car we drove was the stun­ning Op­tima, fit­ted not with the usual 2.4-litre en­gine but a more pow­er­ful, 2.0-litre turbo.

It pumps out just over 200kW of power and is much more sat­is­fy­ing to drive, with con­sid­er­ably more torque that kicks in much ear­lier in the rev range— 250Nm at 4250rpm ver­sus 365Nm at a low 1750rpm.

Kia has over­come the en­gi­neer­ing ob­sta­cles to build­ing a right-hook ver­sion, which is start­ing to roll off the pro­duc­tion line. Op­tima is due for an up­grade shortly, so the tim­ing couldn’t be bet­ter.

The maker has been look­ing at tur­bocharged en­gines for some time and, a spokesman says, there are sev­eral op­tions — not just the Op­tima.

One of those is a turbo ver­sion of the cool, two-door Cer­ato Koup.

A new Cer­ato ar­rives in Aus­tralia from early in the new year, kick­ing off with the sedan, then the hatch­back and fi­nally the coupe.

A spokesman says the 150kW tur­bocharged en­gine from the Hyundai Veloster would slot straight into the Koup. Kia is owned by Hyundai and the two share much of their ar­chi­tec­ture.

But be­fore giv­ing ei­ther op­tion the green light, Kia would first have to put to­gether a busi­ness case for ap­proval by head of­fice in Korea.

‘‘ A tur­bocharged Koup may not be a best seller but it would cre­ate im­por­tant in­ter­est for our brand,’’ the spokesman says. No one has seen the new Koup as yet, which won’t make its de­but un­til later next year— but the sedan showed its face at the Los An­ge­les mo­tor show.

The Kia equiv­a­lent to the Hyundai Elantra, it is cast in the same mould as the Op­tima, with sleek sporty lines and the sig­na­ture face penned by de­sign chief Peter Schreyer.

Longer, lower and wider, the sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Cer­ato will use Kia’s six-speed auto, which de­liv­ers an ideal com­bi­na­tion of power and econ­omy. Ad­justable elec­tric steer­ing, in place of the hy­draulic set-up, al­lows the driver to set the as­sis­tance level.

Kia Aus­tralia has just about fin­ished tuning the ride and han­dling to meet lo­cal tastes.

An­other turbo op­tion is the gor­geous, highly specced Proc’eed GT hatch from Europe.

Asked whether Kia would in­tro­duce an en­tire line of sporty ve­hi­cles, much like Hyundai’s re­cently an­nounced SR range, the spokesman says there are no plans at this stage be­cause the brand does not sell enough cars here to sup­port such a move.

Punchy: The Op­tima is a stun­ner, more so

in turbo mode

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