Kia Australia Revs Up Picanto, Cerato

The tiny Picanto has had a GT added to its name and is now fitted with a three-cylinder, 1.0-litre turbo engine that produces 74kW of power and 172Nm of torque, driving through the front wheels via a 5-speed manual gearbox.

The Picanto GT has been suspension-tuned for Australia by Kia’s local in-house ride and handling team, who were able to build off the basic Picanto’s Macpherson front strut and u-shaped rear torsion beam architecture to make the ride more dynamic. Through a more aggressive tune for the shock absorbers and a stiffer spring rate, the team said it was able to provide greater body control with better road feedback and improved ride comfort.

Changes to the steering mapping are said to give a quicker response and enhanced stability when under load, while lower-profile 195/45 R16 tyres improve both grip and predictability when pushing towards the limit.

The GT shares all the features of the current-generation Picanto, including the stiff body shell composed of 44 per cent advanced high-strength steels.

Kia has also added more sportiness to its Cerato sedan and hatch, installing a 1.6-litre turbo engine along with a ride and handling package providing, what the company says, it its most focused drive to date in Kia’s small car garage.

The Cerato GT has a “subtle yet distinctive” body kit, dual exhausts, paddle shifters, alloy sports pedals and a flat-bottomed leather sports steering wheel.

Its four-cylinder 1.6-litre turbo engine produces 150kW at 6000rpm and 265Nm of torque from 1500-4500rpm, all sent to the front wheels through a 7-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox. Sport mode is accessed by tipping the gear lever across to the driver, with aggressive gear shift characteristics and sharper steering maps.

The Picanto GT 5-speed manual is currently priced at $17,990 drive away, while the Cerato GT in either hatch or sedan is available now at $31,990 drive away.