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After having been seen undisguised last week, the Kia Cerato facelift has made its debut in its home market of South Korea. The C-segment sedan boasts a new look, a more economical 1.6 litre engine and some tweaks to enhance the driving experience.

We’ve seen the new exterior design before, but let’s have a more in-depth look this time around. The more angular front end design incorporates a broader, slimmer “tiger nose” grille that’s mounted lower, while the headlights have also been made wider and sleeker. Lower down, the air intakes and fog lights have been streamlined, and BMW-esque air curtain intakes as seen on the new Optima also make an appearance here.

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At the rear, there are redesigned tail light graphics for both bulb-type and LED units (with the indicators and reverse lights that sit on the bottom edge instead of on top), along with a new, simpler black rear apron design. New two-tone wheel designs complete the aesthetic.

Fewer changes are apparent inside, with a flat-bottomed steering wheel, revised instrument cluster display graphics, redesigned switchgear, new faux carbon fibre pattern around the air vents and a smattering of chrome and gloss black highlights being the only discernible updates.

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More can be found under the bonnet – the domestic market 1.6 litre Gamma GDI four-cylinder engine is slightly less powerful than before (132 PS vs 140 PS, 161 Nm vs 167 Nm), but promises improved fuel economy of 14.3 km per litre, 0.3 km per litre better than before. It remains to be seen if our range of 1.6 litre and 2.0 litre MPI models will see similar improvements.

The six-speed automatic gearbox now includes a drive mode selector with three modes (Sport, Normal and Eco), while the processing unit of the speed-sensitive motor driven power steering (MDPS) has been upgraded from 16 bit to 32 bit, bringing increased steering responsiveness. Pricing of the new Cerato in South Korea starts from 15.21 million won (RM56,100), rising up to 20.95 million won (RM77,200).