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Facelifted small car emerges in hatch and GT forms, with new technology, revised styling and carryover turbo power.


The 2021 Kia Cerato GT hatch has been officially revealed, ahead of its Australian launch in May.

Following first official images of the standard Cerato sedan released last week, and multiple leaked photos published in recent weeks, Kia has officially taken the wraps off its facelifted small hatchback in its home market of Korea in range-topping GT guise, where the model is badged as the K3.

On the styling front, both sedan and hatch body styles share the same updated front-end, with a slimmer grille, new LED headlights (with six-bar daytime-running light signatures), Kia’s new logo, and a reshaped lower intake design.

However, whereas the four-door gains a new rear bumper design and revised tail-light signatures, the hatch model retains its predecessor’s rear-end styling, with the sole change being the addition of the new Kia logo unveiled earlier in 2021.

GT models differentiate themselves from standard Cerato variants through a red-accented front grille, red detailing on the lower front bumper intakes, GT badging front and rear, black mirror caps, a unique rear bumper with dual exhaust tips, and 18-inch alloy wheels with a central red accent.

Inside, the facelifted hatch benefits from the same technological upgrades as the sedan, headlined by a new 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen with satellite navigation, over-the-air map updates, and touch-sensitive shortcut buttons.

However, those features will be limited to flagship models, with an 8.0-inch touchscreen and a 4.2-inch driver information display fitted to lesser model grades in Korea.

New for 2021 is an electric parking brake, while other available interior features include a six-speaker Krell premium sound system, heated and ventilated leatherette seats, wireless smartphone charging, dual-zone climate control, remote start (from the key fob), and a sunroof.

Images show GT variants gain unique black leather seat trim with red stitching and piping, patterned red ambient lighting elements in the upper doors, a flat-bottomed sports steering wheel, metallic pedals, and paddle shifters.

Korean-market K3 GT models can be optioned with a sunroof – something not currently available on the Cerato GT in Australia – though whether it will make its way to locally-delivered models remains unclear.

Mirroring its sedan sibling, the Cerato hatch benefits from an upgraded suite of active safety technologies – headlined by Highway Driving Assist, combining adaptive cruise control (with stop-and-go) and lane-following assist to accelerate, brake and centre the vehicle within its lane on freeways.

Other features on offer include autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, driver attention monitoring, safe exit warning, rear occupant alert, automatic high beams, a reversing camera, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, with the latter pair capable of detecting and braking for obstacles.

Powering the flagship GT is a carry-over 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, sending 150kW and 265Nm to the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission only – no manual gearbox is available.

18-inch wheels wrapped in 225/40 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres are standard, along with independent multi-link rear suspension, performance front brakes, and an ‘electronic sound generator’ that pipes faux engine sound into the cabin – all shared with the outgoing model.

Entry-level models in Australia are expected to retain a 112kW/192Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, though it’s possible the current six-speed automatic transmission could be replaced by a CVT automatic, as per the Kia Seltos.

The 2021 Kia Cerato sedan and hatch will go on sale in Australia in May 2021.

While local pricing and specifications have yet to be confirmed, prices of the flagship GT in Korea have increased by around 3.5 per cent – suggesting a price rise in Australia of around $1000 to $1500.

Stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest Kia Cerato news.


Below: The current Kia Cerato GT hatch