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Future models - Kia - cee'd

Kia steps up a gear

Incoming Kia: The pint-sized Picanto remains under Kia Australia scrutiny.

A broader range, including diesels galore, will lead Kia's refreshed market assault

16 Aug 2006

FRESH from its Magentis sedan launch last week, Kia is preparing a host of new models over the next 12 to 18 months, with affordable diesel models at the forefront of the South Korean offensive.

First up is the VQ Carnival, the long-awaited short (or regular) wheelbase version of the eight-seater Grand Carnival people-mover the previous distributor Ateco Automotive introduced in January this year.

To be priced from $32,990, the seven-seat VQ Carnival will be powered by a version of the 2.7-litre Delta V6 engine that has just been introduced in the new Magentis EX-L mid-sized sedan.

In this application it produces 138kW of power at 6000rpm and 247Nm of torque at 4000rpm. It will drive the VQ Carnival's front wheels via five-speed Tiptronic-style automatic gearbox.

Stability control will be standard in all VQ models, including the Grand Carnival.

"This will be Kia's heartland car," a spokesman told GoAuto.

Kia is also undertaking market research on the diesel version of the VQ Carnival.

The engine in question is a new 2.9-litre CRDi four-cylinder turbo-diesel unit pumping out 136kW at 3800rpm and 343Nm at 1750rpm.

According to the UK-spec version, the five-speed manual version averages 7.8L/100km while the five-speed automatic records 9.0L, with the 0-100km/h "sprint" taking 15.5 and 16.2 seconds respectively.

If the VQ Carnival diesel gets the green light, expect it here sometime in the middle of 2007.

"We would like to do it," says Kia Motors Australia director of marketing, Bill Gillespie.

Meanwhile, the company will follow Hyundai's lead by offering a front-wheel drive, 2.0-litre, four-cylinder automatic version of its Sportage light 4WD wagon, producing around 104kW and 184Nm.

To be released at the Sydney motor show in October, the 2WD Kia SUV is expected to sell well below $24,000. The current 129kW/241Nm 2.7-litre V6 automatic 4WD version - the sole Sportage on offer - retails for $26,950.

But that's not all for the Sportage, since Kia will commence importation of the 2.0-litre four-cylinder CRDi turbo-diesel model in the first quarter of 2007.

It produces 103kW at 4000rpm and 305Nm at 1800rpm. This engine is also slated for the newly released Magentis, sometime in the middle of the year.

In UK spec, this second-generation common-rail diesel averages 6.0L/100km for the six-speed manual and 7.3L for the four-speed automatic in the mid-sized sedan.

Just as impressively it can hit the 100km/h from zero dash in 10.4 seconds (manual) and 11.1 seconds (automatic).

The big Sorento SUV is also gaining diesel power sometime in the first half of next year - a 2.5-litre CRDi four-cylinder powerplant offering 103kW at 3800rpm and 343Nm at 1850rpm.

On the European fuel economy cycle it returns an impressive 7.7L/100km, or 8.4L for the five-speed automatic.

On the subject of frugality, the pleasantly styled pint-sized Picanto sub-B light-car is yet another Kia under scrutiny for Australia.

17 center imageLeft: Kia's Cee'd (top) and the SWB Carnival (below).

A smash hit in Europe, the littlest Kia has become a big player in the bottom end of the supermini hatchback segment abroad.

Currently it is offered in two twin-cam three-valve four-cylinder engine guises - a 45kW/ 86Nm 1.0-litre unit returning around 5.1L/100km, and a 48kW/97Nm 1.1-litre version, averaging 5.2L.

The latter offers a four-speed automatic as well as a five-speed manual gearbox, so is the Picanto more likely to arrive here. Acceleration is leisurely though - the UK cars take between 15 and 17.9 seconds to the 100km/h from standstill run.

"We've got one coming," reveals Mr Gillespie, adding that it is to undergo homologation research before a decision on its future in Australia is made.

Kia is also trying to figure out how to get the numbers to add up, since the Picanto must slot underneath the JB Rio range, which begins at $15,990 driveaway.

"We need to get the spec and price right," he says. "We'd love to get it here quicker." One European model that is still a long way off is the new 'Cee'd', Kia's most serious attempt yet at rivalling the likes of the VW Golf.

Said to be designed as a family car specifically for Europe, Kia's Cerato replacement was this week officially named the Cee'd.

"Our new C-segment model marks a major turning point in Kia’s history and is named cee’d for several reasons," said Jean-Charles Lievens, Senior Vice President of Kia Motors Europe.

"cee’d is a short, dynamic and innovative name. It’s unconventional, a name which breaks the automotive rules. It’s a surprising name for a car destined to surprise our rivals and delight our customers. I’m sure the name will get people talking about Kia and also be easy to remember.

"The ‘CE’ symbolizes that this model is made in the European Community and the ‘ED’ indicates this car is a European Design created especially with European consumers in mind. ‘Cee’d’ represents the ‘seed’ for abundant growth in Kia sales that the new model will undoubtedly ensure.

"Finally, we wanted to introduce a fresh name in line with Kia’s brand attributes – quality, trustworthy and dynamic," said Mr Lievens.

To help its cause, Kia has commissioned unusually clean and well-proportioned lines for its new small car, which goes on sale in Europe in December following its Paris motor show debut in September.

Besides a five-door hatchback, a 'sporty' three-door and versatile four-door wagon is also in the pipeline for European release, by the end of 2007.

A long wheelbase of 2650mm promises excellent cabin space, while a full range of four-cylinder petrol (1.4, 1.6 and 2.0) and diesel (1.6) engines have also been tailored to the ED.

Kia is dismissing the ED's chances of making it to Australia for now, as the sole production source so far is Slovakia, in Eastern Europe.

"We've put our position to Kia (in Korea) and it is being put under consideration," says Mr Gillespie.

"It would have to be brought and specified up against (the likes of) the AH Astra," he revealed.

GoAuto believes that the Cee'd will probably arrive locally by the end of 2007 or early 2008, as production for the small car ramps up elsewhere - probably in South Korea.

Meanwhile, a small facelift for the Sorento V6 petrol is due in October. Like the new Magentis and Carnival and Grand Carnival ranges, it too will receive stability control as standard.

What's coming from Kia:
VQ Carnival 2.7L August 2006
Sorento facelift October 2006
Sportage diesel March 2007
Sorento diesel May 2007
VQ Carnival diesel July 2007
MG Magentis diesel August 2007
Picanto August 2007
Cee'd small car December 2007

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