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Motoring News

KIA BRAND MAKES ITS MARK, BUT . . .

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Cerato Sport

KIA BRAND MAKES ITS MARK, BUT . . .

By DEREK OGDEN

Cerato Sport + . . . no substitute for performance.

Is it not unchallengeable that a car with a name like a wood-fired Italian pizza – Cerato – should come in for some spicing up, especially if it takes on a ‘sport’ suffix?

The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating and in the case of the upgraded small hatch and sedan from Kia it sadly falls short of sporting expectations. In line with its recent rebranding, Kia has juggled, sort of, what had become its best-selling vehicle.

Four models – S, Sport, Sport + and GT – are carried over, with S and Sport gaining an optional Safety Pack at $1000, which consists of autonomous emergency braking with cyclist detection, enhanced solid rear disc brakes, blind sport warning, rear cross-traffic alert and power folding mirrors.

Thrown in for the S are a premium steering wheel and shift knob, bringing it in line with Sport.

The S, Sport and Sport are powered by the carryover 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine producing 112 kW and 192 Nm, while the GT continues with the 1.6-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder motor with 150 kW and 265 Nm.

The six-speed manual transmission has been deleted, replaced by a six-speed automatic, driving the front wheels. The GT stays with the seven-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT).

Prices start at $25,990, drive away, for the entry-level S, $27,990 for the Sport, $31,960 the Sport+ and $36,990 for the GT. All apply to sedan and hatches. Premium paint adds $520.

Seven years on, Kia’s seven-year warranty, seven-year fixed price servicing and seven-year roadside assist still applies. On test was the Cerato Sport + hatch.

STYLING

Cerato Sport

Cerato Sport

If the designers’ intention is to present a platform for the company’s rebranding, the new Cerato upgrade works, with a stylised version of the name ‘Kia’ literally front and centre of the bonnet.

Thereafter, subtlety takes control, with a new headlamp design extending the grille pattern out to the car’s flanks, the reworked front bumper adding a sleek sporty character.

Front foglamps are slotted into the restyled air intake grille, sharpening the looks up front. In profile the Cerato Hatch is a model of restraint, with one exception, a new 17-inch alloy wheel design, differentiating the Sport and Sport + from the rest of the range.

It’s as you were at the rear, with the exhaust the only change, being concealed for an up-to-date hatchback appearance.

INTERIOR

Cerato Sport

Cerato Sport

Sport+ retains leather-appointed seats, heated upfront, that are comfortable without being supportive in a lateral context.

Other carryover features include electrochromic mirror, and power exterior folding mirrors, soft-touch trim, illuminated glovebox and passenger-side seat-back pocket.

Luggage space in the hatch is unchanged at 428 litres, expanded to 741 litres with 60:40 seat backs folded.

INFOTAINMENT
New features across the Cerato range are highlighted by a 10.25-inch audio-visual unit with LCD screen. Built-in satellite navigation, with ten-year MapCare and SUNA traffic updates, also allows access to DAB digital radio, voice recognition, wired Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, plus the dial-up soothing Sounds of Nature.

To maintain occupant aural pleasure all round, a rear-seat sleep mode can be called on to limit the speaker level in the back for occupants to enjoy a more restful environment.

A 4.2-inch TFT LCD cluster is standard across the model range setting out information such as drive mode – normal, eco, sport, smart – average and instantaneous fuel consumption, trip meter and odometer, plus fuel range, lane keep assist status driver attention level and compass bearing.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The Kia Cerato Sport + upgrade does not go as far as the powertrain, with the carryover 2.0-litre MPI four-cylinder engine, producing 112 kW and 192 Nm, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, driving the front wheels.

There is no longer a manual option.

SAFETY
Active safety is high on the list for the Cerato, with anti-skid braking and electronic stability control, plus autonomous emergency braking programmed for pedestrian and cyclist.

All models feature lane keep assist, now with lane follow assist added, lane departure warning and driver attention alert. Sport + and GT blind spot detection is standard with the addition of blind spot collision avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist and safe exit warning.

Across the range are parking sensors (front and rear), high beam assist and reversing camera.

DRIVING
As mentioned previously, performance is where the Cerato, with sporting pretensions, is wanting. The Sport and Sport + 2.0-litre claiming a mere trot from zero to 100km/h in around 10 seconds. It’s left to the GT with 1.6-litre its turbo power to carry the sporty flag, with the same speed from a standstill coming up in roughly seven seconds.

Fuel consumption is claimed to be 7.4 litres per 100 kilometres in the combined urban / highway cycle, while on test the Sport + Hatch recorded 11.9 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 5.6 litres per 100 kilometres on a highway run.

Ride and handling remain pleasantly unchanged, with the Sport + keeping the tried-and-true McPherson Strut front end and couple torsion beam axle at the back tuned especially for Australia by our own engineers.

Steering is also a carryover motor-driven power system providing quick response from good feedback. All models utilise ventilated front discs.

SUMMARY
Sorry for resorting to semantics, Kia, but my idea of a car tagged with the word ‘sport’, especially a hatchback, is generally a ‘hot’ act. Unfortunately, the Cerato Sport +, as a performer, left me cold.

AT A GLANCE

MODEL LINE-UP
Kia Cerato S: $25,490
Kia Cerato S Safety: $26,490
Kia Cerato Sport: $27,590
Kia Cerato Sport Safety: $28,590:
Kia Cerato Sport +: $30,640
Kia Cerato GT: $35,290
Note: These are driveaway prices and include all government charges and dealer delivery costs.

SPECIFICATIONS (Kia Cerato Sport + 2.0L 4-cylinder petrol, 6sp automatic, FWD Hatch)

ENGINE:
Capacity: 1.999 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 112 kW
Maximum Torque: 192 Nm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.4 L/100km

DRIVELINE: Six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4510 mm
Wheelbase: 2700 mm
Width: 1860 mm
Height: 1440 mm
Turning Circle: N/A
Kerb Mass: 1320 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 50 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Seven years / unlimited kilometres

RATINGS
Looks: 8/10
Performance: 5/10
Safety: 6/10
Thirst: 7/10
Practicality: 7/10
Comfort: 6/10
Tech: 8/10
Value: 8/10
Overall: 6.9/10

Local News

Zeekr: China’s Luxury EV Brand Sets Sights on Australian Market in 2025

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Zeekr 009

Zeekr: China’s Luxury EV Brand Sets Sights on Australian Market in 2025

 

Zeekr, China’s latest electric vehicle (EV) brand, is set to make its debut in Australia in 2025 with two models leading the charge: the Zeekr 009, a spacious family-oriented vehicle boasting over 800km of range, and the Zeekr X, a compact SUV aimed at competing with established models like the BMW iX1 and Volvo XC40 Recharge.

As a subsidiary of the renowned Chinese conglomerate Geely, Zeekr has rapidly emerged as a key player in the EV market. The brand’s affiliation with Volvo and Polestar underscores its commitment to luxury and innovation. With a focus on quality and performance, Zeekr aims to redefine the electric vehicle landscape in Australia.

The Zeekr 009, available in both six- and seven-seater configurations, promises exhilarating acceleration akin to a sports car, thanks to its dual electric motors generating a combined output of 405kW and 686Nm of torque. Equipped with a cutting-edge battery system, this model offers an impressive range of up to 800km, setting a new standard for long-distance travel in the EV segment.

Complementing the Zeekr 009 is the Zeekr X, a compact SUV designed for urban mobility and versatility. Offering a range of 500-560km on the Chinese testing cycle, this model combines efficiency with agility, making it ideal for navigating city streets and suburban landscapes. With its sleek design and advanced technology features, the Zeekr X is poised to attract discerning drivers seeking an eco-friendly yet stylish driving experience.

Zeekr’s expansion strategy includes the establishment of a new manufacturing facility in Thailand, signaling its commitment to global growth and accessibility. With plans to introduce the Zeekr 009 and Zeekr X to the Thai market in Q3 of this year, the brand is on track to launch in Australia shortly, thereafter, providing consumers with a compelling alternative in the EV market.

While pricing and specifications for the Zeekr 009 and Zeekr X in Australia are yet to be finalized, both models are expected to offer premium features and performance. With its competitive pricing and innovative offerings, Zeekr aims to carve out a significant presence in Australia’s rapidly evolving automotive landscape.

 

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Local News

Geely’s Revolutionary Riddara RD6 Electric Ute to Hit Australian Roads

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Geely Riddara RD6 electric ute

Geely’s Revolutionary Riddara RD6 Electric Ute to Hit Australian Roads

 

Geely, renowned for its innovation in the automotive industry, is poised to make waves in Australia with the impending arrival of its groundbreaking electric utility vehicle, the Riddara RD6.

As anticipation builds among automotive enthusiasts and eco-conscious drivers alike, Geely’s decision to bring the Riddara RD6 to Australian shores marks a significant milestone in the country’s transition towards sustainable transportation.

With its sleek design, cutting-edge technology, and eco-friendly credentials, the Riddara RD6 represents a new era of electric vehicles tailored to meet the diverse needs of Australian consumers.

The story of Geely’s Riddara RD6 begins with a vision to revolutionise the utility vehicle segment, blending practicality with sustainability. From bustling city streets to rugged outback terrain, the RD6 promises to deliver unmatched performance and versatility, powered solely by electricity.

Equipped with advanced battery technology and state-of-the-art electric drivetrain systems, the RD6 boasts impressive range and charging capabilities, ensuring drivers can embark on their journeys with confidence, all while minimising their environmental footprint.

Geely Riddara RD6 Electric Ute Interior

Geely Riddara RD6 Electric Ute Interior

But the Riddara RD6 isn’t just about sustainability—it’s also about innovation. Geely has integrated a host of smart features and connectivity options into the vehicle, providing drivers with a seamless and intuitive driving experience.

From interactive touchscreen displays to advanced driver-assistance systems, the RD6 is designed to keep drivers informed, entertained, and safe on the road.

Whether navigating city streets or exploring remote landscapes, drivers can rely on the RD6 to deliver performance, comfort, and peace of mind.

As Geely prepares to launch the Riddara RD6 in Australia, excitement is building among consumers eager to embrace the future of transportation. With its blend of cutting-edge technology, sustainable design, and practical utility, the RD6 is poised to make a lasting impression on the Australian automotive market.

With Geely’s commitment to innovation and sustainability, the arrival of the Riddara RD6 signals a bold new chapter in Australia’s automotive landscape—one driven by progress, innovation, and a commitment to a cleaner, greener future.

 

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Kia Unveils Australian Details for 2024 Kia EV5: Midsize Electric SUV

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2024 Kia EV5

Kia Unveils Australian Details for 2024 Kia EV5: Midsize Electric SUV

 

Kia is set to launch its highly anticipated Kia EV5 medium-sized electric SUV in Australia this June, offering striking design and surprising affordability. The introduction of the EV5 may pose a significant sales challenge to Tesla’s popular Model Y, given its competitive pricing and impressive features.

According to Damien Meredith, Kia Australia boss, the EV5 will be the brand’s most affordable EV yet, with prices expected to start “in the 50s.” This price positioning places the base EV5 model in a favourable position compared to its entry-level rivals, including the Tesla Model Y, Toyota bZ4X, Subaru Solterra AWD, and Ford Mustang Mach-E.

The EV5 will be available in three variants – Air, Earth, and GT-Line – offered in both standard and long-range forms. The entry-level EV5 Air will feature a single electric motor, front-wheel drive, and a 64.2kWh lithium-ion phosphate (LFP) battery, sourced from China’s BYD for enhanced fast-charge capability and long-term battery durability.

Equipped with a 160kW/310Nm electric motor, the EV5 Air is expected to deliver a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 8.5 seconds and a claimed NEDC range of 490km. The long-range variant will feature the same electric motor but with a larger 88.1kWh LFP battery, offering 36% more range and a slightly slower acceleration time of 8.9 seconds.

For those seeking additional power and performance, the dual-motor EV5 AWD variant, available in GT-Line form, will feature combined outputs of 230kW and 480Nm. With a brisk 0-100km/h time of 6.1 seconds and a range of 620km, the AWD variant offers a compelling blend of performance and efficiency.

With its comfortable and pragmatic design, the EV5 aims to provide a more comfort-oriented alternative to Kia’s sportier EV6 lift back. Positioned as a true SUV, the EV5 offers spacious interiors and a versatile driving experience, appealing to a wide range of consumers.

Designed to set its own identity within Kia’s electric vehicle line-up, the EV5 showcases a distinctive SUV-first look, setting the stage for future electric models from the brand. With its competitive pricing, impressive features, and striking design, the Kia EV5 is poised to make a significant impact in the Australian electric vehicle market.

The 2024 Kia EV5 electric SUV is estimated to be priced from less than $70,000 drive-away – cheaper than a Tesla Model Y, Australia’s top-selling electric car – when showroom arrivals begin in June.

 

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