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It appears that the dormant C-segment sedan market is getting a bit of a shakeup this year – the new Honda Civic was introduced in June, and the Toyota Corolla Altis should be due for an update soon. Now, Kia appears to be joining the party with the facelifted Kia Cerato, which has appeared in showrooms.

The Cerato has always been seen as a budget alternative to the two Japanese heavyweights, but sales advisors have mentioned that the refreshed model could see a slight price hike across the three 1.6 KX, 1.6 and 2.0 litre variants. The current models are priced at RM91,888, RM101,888 and RM119,888 respectively, on-the-road with insurance.

Exterior revisions include a broader, slimmer “tiger nose” grille that’s mounted lower, while the headlights have also been made wider and sleeker, with slimmer eyebrow LED daytime running lights. 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.

At the rear, there are redesigned tail light graphics for both bulb-type (1.6 KX) and LED (1.6 and 2.0) units, with the indicators and reverse lights that sit on the bottom edge instead of on top; there’s also a new, simpler black rear apron design. A new two-tone design for the 17-inch alloy wheels completes the aesthetic.

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Few changes are apparent inside, with 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. There’s no flat-bottomed steering wheel here, unlike in some markets.

Kit count looks to remain largely similar, with all models getting the aforementioned 17-inch wheels, keyless entry, push-button start, auto headlights, cruise control, rear air-con vents, Flex Steer adjustable weight for the steering, front and rear parking sensors, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and a reverse camera.

The 1.6 adds on LED tail lights, dual-zone automatic climate control with cluster ioniser, aluminium pedals, electric seats with memory, gear shift paddles, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, leather-wrapped steering wheel and soft touch upper door trims.

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Meanwhile, the range-topping 2.0 receives a rear spoiler, sunroof, a Supervision colour multi-info display and leather seats – now with heating and ventilation on the front passenger seat, instead of just the driver’s side. The auto-levelling xenon headlights appear to have been removed from the list of kit – the manual headlight level adjustor is seen even on the 2.0.

Safety-wise, it’s the same as before – the 1.6 KX still comes with only two airbags and no stability control; you’ll have to stump up for the 1.6 model to gain six airbags and stability control. That’s a shame, considering that the Civic has them throughout the range, although the Cerato should still undercut the Honda considerably, spec-for-spec.

For now, it’s unclear what engines power the new Cerato, but expect it to soldier on with the current car’s 130 PS/157 Nm 1.6 litre Gamma II and 161 PS/194 Nm 2.0 litre Nu MPI four-cylinder engines, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

GALLERY: Kia Cerato 2.0 facelift


GALLERY: Kia Cerato 1.6 facelift
GALLERY: Kia Cerato 1.6 KX facelift