The South Korean company will take on go-faster rivals from Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen next spring with a 'hot hatch' version of the Cerato offering 10% more power than the standard 1.5-litre model.
Likely to wear GTD or GTI badging, the car will use the 16-valve common rail motor from the Carens compact MPV to deliver extra thrills with 110bhp and 181lb-ft of torque – sufficient to achieve 0-62mph in 11.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 118mph. Yet it will still be sufficiently frugal on derv to return around 47mpg on average driving.
'The torque output is such a strong feature of this engine that we might start a fresh trend by having the number 245 – its torque rating in Newton metres - picked out in red as part of the badge on the rear door,' said Kia Motors UK managing director Paul Williams.
He said it could be priced as low as £14,000.