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First look: Kia claims Cerato ace for space

A long time coming: The Cerato was developed over 40 months at a cost of about $500 million.

Kia’s new Cerato is set to take on Corolla and Astra in the small car segment

12 Nov 2003

KIA has released photos of the new four-door Cerato small car that is expected to go on sale in Australia by mid-2004, after its international launch at the Detroit motor show next January.

The five-door version will be unveiled at Geneva in March 2004 and make its sales debut later in the year.

Cerato, the replacement for the Spectra, will have a range of powerplants including a 1.5-litre and a 2.0-litre common rail diesel engine, although that is aimed at Europe and unlikely for Australia.

Other engine options more likely for here are 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre petrol versions featuring continuously variable valve timing technology.

Kia is confident the Cerato will gain a US NCAP five-star crash test rating. It also claims Cerato has class-leading dimensions in terms of interior space.

The tip is Cerato prices will start about the same level as the Spectra, which kicks off at $18,990. That should make Cerato very competitive against the main players in the small car category including the Toyota Corolla, Holden Astra and Ford Focus.

Developed over 40 months at a cost of about $500 million, initial sales targets for the Cerato are 250,000 units per year internationally, with 60,000 slated for its home market of South Korea.

Incidentally, Kia says the name Cerato is a Greek word for a form of horn that in mythology was an essential and indispensable representation of strength, endurance and triumph.

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