Claimed to take styling inspiration from the Stinger but with a few nods to the Optima on first glance, the Cerato measures 81 mm longer, 18 mm wider and 13 mm taller than the outgoing model and according to Kia, now comes "prepared to take on the toughest the segment has to offer".
Inside, the Stinger influences continue with what Kia refers to as a "aeronautically inspired" design, with the highlight being the eight-inch freestanding touchscreen infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth. The connected items further include a wireless smartphone charger and on top spec models, a 320-watt Harman Kardon sound system.
As for safety, and again depending on the model selected, the Cerato will offer items such Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning Lane Keeping Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control as either standard or optional.
While it remains to be seen with which engines the Cerato will launch locally, the Forte will go on sale later this year powered by a single 2.0-litre normally aspirated petrol developing 110 kW and 180 Nm of torque, hooked to either a six-speed manual or a brand new CVT fitted with a segment first chain type belt claimed to crack down on the rubber band-like feel associated with the 'box. Dubbed Intelligent Variable Transmission, the 'box is said to improve on fuel consumption by three miles per gallon compared to the outgoing Forte, meaning a claimed US figure of 35 mpg or 6.7 L/100 km.
The Cerato is expected to debut in both sedan and hatch guises later this year with Kia South Africa yet to reveal exact details.