At the North American International Auto Show today, Kia unveiled their latest generation Cerato – known in the US as the Forte – bearing a new design language with more than just a hint of the Kia Stinger’s influence. Based on the same underpinnings as that of the recently released Hyundai Elantra, the Cerato looks to move more upmarket with higher levels of refinement all round.
The design language adopted for the new Cerato takes from the as-yet unreleased (in South Africa) Kia Stinger sportback sedan, with a move towards a cab-back stance featuring a longer bonnet and short rear deck-lid, and a bold face featuring the latest tiger-nose grille design. The design adjustment creates a sleeker, lower appearance, accentuated by creases on the bonnet and headlights reminiscent of those found on the Stinger.
Inside, the cabin design moves upmarket with aeronautically inspired styling including circular air vents and a soft touch dash with a wing-like aluminium blade design. A new colour infotainment system features on a bold standalone 8-inch touch screen system. The interior also offers more space than the previous Cerato, thanks to extra width (18mm) and length (81mm).
The underpinnings of the Cerato have been reinforced from previous generations with a new chassis that features extensive use of high strength steel for enhanced rigidity – 16% stiffer than before. This rigidity should see it not only improve under crash testing, but it should potentially assist handling too. Electric power assisted steering also features, with a system that has been recalibrated for enhanced feedback, while reworked suspension geometry is said to aid nimbleness.
On the powertrain front, the American Forte has been released with a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated Nu engine that develops 109kW and 179Nm. It’s paired with a Kia-developed continuously variable transmission (CVT). Locally, expect the engine line-up to potentially mirror that of the recently released Hyundai Elantra – a 1.6-litre NA engine (93kW, 155Nm), a 2.0 NA engine (115kW, 195Nm), and a potential 1.6-litre turbocharged motor developing 150kW and 265Nm. Of course engine line-ups will be finalised closer to the time.
The new Cerato also features enhance technological offerings, including new technology such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality, a 320-watt Harman Kardon sound system, and Kia’s suite of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). ADAS comprises blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, forward collision avoidance, and adaptive cruise control. The new Cerato will also feature either HID projector or LED headlights (full specification to be determined locally).
We’ve reached out to Kia Motor South Africa for an estimated arrival on local shores, and they have indicated that whilst nothing in confirmed, with current production timelines we can expect to see the Cerato sedan arriving late in 2018. The final engine line-up and specification will be released locally closer to the launch date.