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Many were convinced that the Kia Cerato and Naza Forte would be sold alongside each other in Naza Kia Malaysia’s new two-pronged assault on the C-segment market. They would be wrong. The new Cerato completely replaces the older (and cheaper) Forte here, as it does in all markets elsewhere.

Here we have them side-by-side for your viewing pleasure. New versus old, if you like. No doubt the Forte was a looker. Still is, most would agree. It’s just as edgy and characterful now as it was four years ago, but you’d have to admit the fresh new Cerato is something else yet again.

These two look nothing alike, though. You wouldn’t have guessed that one is directly replacing the other, if not specifically told so. There is a small family resemblance around the easily identifiable Tiger nose but elsewhere, the larger Cerato is definitely comfortable in its own skin.

It’s in the interior where the biggest gains are at its most obvious. From the grade of leather used on the steering wheel and seats to the choice of soft-touch plastics everywhere else in the cabin, there’s a quantum leap in quality and ambience.

The Forte’s interior wasn’t bad in any way; it was a revelation when it was launched in 2009. But the few years that have passed haven’t been kind to it, and with the Cerato, Kia has moved its game far forward. It’s more grown up in there, and perceived quality has been improved too.

As with the exterior, some may still prefer the older Forte’s more traditional approach. But it’s not until you put them side-by-side that the stark generational differences become so apparent, that there’s no going back.

So what do you think? You’ve already read our in depth launch report and reviews of the new Kia Forte – both from its international press drive in Dubai and more recently one with a more local flavour. Is the new Cerato upmarket enough to justify its new price range?

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