Kia introduces the new Kia Forte (Cerato)
Various concept cars from BMW, Volkswagen, Audi, Toyota, Chevrolet, Kia and more
Kia confirmed its status as a style driven manufacturer when it introduced the good-looking production Koup at the New York Motor Show. The Koup is a stylish, fun-looking two-door that will likely draw the attention of the younger car buyer demographic. To get inside the minds of younger customers, Kia is embarking on a pre-launch ad blitz that starts with a single commercial.
Below is the first commercial offering to show off the wares of the all-new Kia Koup. The commercial’s theme? Two. As in two doors. For many calling the vehicle the Koup is a fairly big clue that the Koup is, in fact, a coupe. But there is no denying the Koup looks as good in moving pictures as it does in photos. Check out the commercial below and judge for yourself.
Kia’s new crossover the Soul is already recording strong sales, just a few weeks after making its debut in major markets.
The quirky five-door Kia Soul is doing well in Europe and the US as the Korean manufacturer is working hard to keep up with demand.
Company officials in the North American markets are already working on plans to increase their orders by 20%, after sales of the Soul in the first two months following its launch beat predictions. Kia had planned on selling 40,000 Souls in the US and Canada in its first full year but are now looking at adding another 10,000 to that total.
And in Europe sales of the Kia Soul are around 13% higher than predicted in its first two months, in spite of the recession that has seen car sales in general slump by more than 35%.
Here in New Zealand consumer interest in the Kia brand is increasing, with dealers reporting that the launch of the Soul in April is driving significantly increased numbers of people into showrooms to see the highly styled model, even though the car industry locally reported its worst sales month in 34 years.
“All car brands suffered in April in New Zealand, including Kia, but we are fortunate that we have two exciting new models in the Soul and Cerato that are boosting enquiries with our dealers and although it is taking longer for deals to be closed we are confident of turning the increased interest into sales,” says Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand Ltd. “People are now talking about Kia in terms of ‘freshness’ and being a ‘design-led brand’, which is creating a real buzz that can only be good for us in the long term.”
Mr McDonald says that now Easter, the school holidays and the disruption of having two new models launching very close together are behind them, Kia dealers are back in the groove and May sales are already looking significantly better than April.
The 2010 Rio is the latest Kia model to receive an injection of design dna from Kia Motors’ German-based chief designer Peter Schreyer.
The new tiger nose grille that is the focus of the re-styled front of the new Rio which is just arriving in New Zealand showrooms. The five-door Rio hatchback is the first to appear and will be joined within weeks by the four-door Rio sedan.
The rear of the Rio has also received treatment, a new bumper complete with a plastic diffuser and exposed chromed tail pipe and new eight-spoke alloy wheels, body-coloured mouldings and re-designed side mirrors with LED turn signals built into the housing round off the exterior changes.
Inside, the 2010 has a brand new dashboard featuring a textured surface, plus new grey colours and upholstery materials. A revised centre stack with new audio system, redesigned instrument clusters with new orange-red lighting (including a trip computer) and new climate control knobs are also new.
The 1.6-litre CVVT (Constantly Variable Valve Timing) petrol engine has been kept and puts out 82kW of power and 145Nm of torque with an average 6.5L/100km fuel consumption for the 5-speed manual model — an automatic transmission is optional.
The 1.5-litre Common Rail Diesel (CRD) engine, which is among the most frugal power plants in New Zealand with an overall economy figure of 4.5L/100km, continues to be available in the new 2010 Kia Rio and comes with a 5-speed manual gearbox as standard.
One thing that has not changed with the new Kia Rio is the pricing, which starts at $21,990 for the 1.6-litre petrol, five-speed manual, five-door hatchback.
To find out more click here to visit the Kia website.
A significant aspect of this year’s Speedshow will be an exciting line-up of brand-new motor vehicles, says Speedshow organiser Keith Sharp.
“It’s great to have such a fantastic range of new cars to add yet another dimension to Speedshow,” says Sharp. “We’re thrilled to be showcasing the very latest models from Mercedes Benz, Ford, Mazda, Kia, Nissan, Suzuki, BMW, Peugeot, Chrysler and others at this year’s Speedshow which takes place at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland over the weekend of 19 and 20 September.
“It’s particularly exciting that several of the new vehicle distributors have elected to use Speedshow to debut their 2010 models, cars never before seen in New Zealand. And with all the vehicles actually for sale at the show, we could probably say the Speedshow motor show will be the country’s largest new car showroom for that one weekend.
“I’d love to say what these new models are, but obviously the fact these cars are being debuted at Speedshow means we can’t talk about them beforehand! Expect to see some very interesting and exciting new models in our dedicated Speedshow motor show.”
Speedshow ‘09 also includes the world’s fastest NASCAR, Roary the Racing Car in the new Speedshow 4 Kids area, fantastic new motorcycles from some of the world’s leading manufacturers, a wide array of motoring and motorsport-related exhibitors and the Batmobile from the original Batman movie courtesy of Warner Bros. Movie World on the Gold Coast.
Tickets are available from Ticketek and more information about the event can be found on www.speedshow.co.nz
Kia is about to push the design envelope again when it unveils an all-new small car at the Frankfurt Motor Show in mid-September.
The new Kia Venga is a 5-door car that claims it can squeeze the interior passenger space of a larger C-segment vehicle within the confines of a smaller B-segment footprint. Much like a mini MPV, although the Venga will not have the three rows of seats seen in traditional people-movers.
Instead, the extra space derived from the long wheelbase and tall cabin allows for additional passenger space for up to five and increased room for their luggage.
Based on the Kia No. 3 concept vehicle unveiled at the Geneva Auto Salon earlier this year, the Venga (Spanish for moving from one place to another) is as much about style as it is about function. The car was created at Kia’s European design studios in Frankfurt, under the guidance of top designer Peter Schreyer and will be built at the Slovakian factory for the market in Europe. Plans for its introduction in other markets around the world, including New Zealand, are yet to be announced.
The Venga is the next stage in a rapid style make-over launched by Kia Motors with the goal of creating 20 new vehicles over four years that display the new design-led focus of the company. Venga is the fifth brand new model to be released this year, following on from the Soul, Cerato, Koup and Sorento (the last two have yet to appear outside Korea), along with a refreshed Magentis.
All have been praised for their stylish good looks and the new Venga is no different, with the signature Tiger Nose grille sculptured into a shape that will certainly stand out on the road.
“It’s a remarkably good looking car,” says Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand
Ceratotherium isn’t a word you hear thrown around very often; it manages to avoid dinner party conversation and shop counter small talk. That’s because Ceratotherium is the scientific term for the White Rhino, from the Greek “cerato” meaning horn and “thorium” meaning wild beast. The new Kia Cerato also uses the term for horn, but is this naming significant in heralding in a new ideology for Kia or just a chance to blow its own trumpet? Whatever the case, Cerato is a fitting moniker because right now, Kia is head down and charging.
By offering more for less and helped by an increase in popularity for cheaper new cars the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group has recently overtaken Ford to become the World’s fourth largest carmaker. Kia’s role in this achievement has been pivotal and just as the horn is vital for a Rhino the Cerato is an important new model for the Korean brand.
The C-segment is hotly contested but Kia’s design-focused tactics with the Cerato is a smart approach. What’s first noticed with the Cerato is an overall exterior aesthetic that’s very modern. It’s not 2007, not last year, but styled for right now. Lead from the front by Kia’s tiger-nose front grille, this fresh-faced look is being adopted on all Kia models to help further brand identity. The grille is flanked by squinting headlights that are matched at the rear by Euro style taillights sitting between a built in rear spoiler and a chunky two-tone bumper. Broad shoulders a high rear deck and thick C-pillars work in unison to give the Cerato a purposeful, wedge-like profile. The higher spec SX variant, as tested, receives additional chrome detailing and front and rear fog lamps. Overall, it’s a sharp looker with clean lines and practical dimensions including a 415-litre boot capacity.
Attention has also been lavished on the interior resulting in a spacious and well-equipped cabin. Head and legroom for both rows of seats is good and the seating is generally comfortable assisted by a height adjustable driver’s seat. The switchgear and small display screen is simple in its layout and very practical. It’s a usable and well-presented interior but not without some small faults. Although fit and finish has been markedly improved, some of the interior plastics are left wanting. The silver door trim particularly was already showing signs of significant wear on its top layer of clear coating in our test vehicle. The instrument cluster is well illuminated in red and easy to read but quite dated in its appearance and does let down an otherwise agreeable cabin.
What isn’t dated is the Cerato’s standard equipment list that includes a six-speaker CD stereo with iPod compatibility, steering wheel mounted cruise and audio control buttons, power windows, remote central locking, and a 60:40 split folding rear seat. The SX version adds a full leather interior including steering wheel, trip computer, 17-inch alloys, climate air-con and reverse parking sensors.
Under the Cerato’s sheet metal lays a 2-litre 4-cylinder heart producing a solid 116kW of power and 194Nm of torque force. This is a strong engine within the segment and makes use of continuous variable valve timing to improve power and fuel economy. It returns an impressive 7.9l/100km on the combined cycle a figure assisted by the Cerato’s slippery exterior styling creating a low co-efficient drag figure of just 0.29. It’s a capable power plant round town or open road but taking 10.5 seconds to reach 100kph it’s no stampeding beast. That said, it revs up reasonably freely and the generous torque figure allows it ample flexibility.
Without a manual option available in NZ, the Cerato’s motor is teamed up to a four-speed automatic box that does the job but is the power train’s weakest point. The four-speed unit suffers from being one gear ratio short and has a tendency to kick-down gears hastily. The changes are smooth enough and performance is only slightly blunted but a five- or six-speed transmission would have boosted overall drivability.
In handling terms the Cerato offers decent grip and changes direction with little fuss. If pushed it displays some controllable under steer but most Cerato owners won’t be so vigorous as to get into real trouble. Ride quality is good with its long-wheelbase and soft springs soaking up most bumps and divets in the tarmac. The cabin remains quiet during cruising with little engine and wind noise entering and tyre roar only becoming intrusive on coarse chip road surfaces.
Safety equipment is impressive as standard kit and includes six airbags (front, side and curtain), an Electronic Stability Program (incorporating ABS and Traction Control), front active headrests and seatbelt pretensioners.
Unlike its namesake animal the Cerato is no Land Rover crushing battering ram, but instead has elegance to its styling and a comfortable ride quality. The Cerato’s strength comes with what it can offer for the price; the equipment list is long, it’s roomy and quiet inside and has adequate power for most situations. There are some compromises in terms of some cheap interior trim and an antiquated automatic transmission but those sins are forgivable.
Kia is fighting a winning battle against badge snobbery by simply making better cars while minimising the cost to the consumer, this is backed up by an engaging new styling focus. The Cerato is the right instrument to push Kia sales even further ahead so if you’re hunting down a new 2-litre sedan be sure to get on the its trail.
Click through to the next page for a list of specifications
Price: from $28,990, SX from $33,990
What we like:
- Modern styling
- Spacious and comfortable
- Improved fit and finish
What we don’t like:
- Four speed auto transmission
- Interior trim quality
Words and Photos: Adam Mamo
Kia Cerato SX – Specifications
Engine type 2.0L DOHC CVVT
Petrol Displacement (cc) 1998 cc
Compression ratio 10.5
Max. power 115 kW @ 6200 rpm
Max. torque 194 Nm @ 4300 rpm
Fuel economy (combined cycle) 7.9L / 100km
Co2 emissions (g/km) 186
Gear Box 4 speed automatic with sequential sport shift
Front suspension MacPherson Strut
Rear suspension CTBA (Coupled Orison Beam Axle)
Tyres 215/45 R17
Braking system Ventilated front discs, solid rear discs
Alloy wheels 17″ alloy
Full size spare wheel and tyre
Steering system Power assisted rack & pinion
Minimum turning radius kerb to kerb (m) 5.16
Overall length 4530 mm
Overall width 1775 mm
Overall height 1460 mm
Wheelbase 2650 mm
Luggage capacity 495 litres
Kerb weight min. / max 1294 / 1359 kg
Fuel tank capacity 52 litres
Towing capacity – unbraked (kg) 400
Towing capacity – braked (kg) 1200