Kia’s Cerato sedan and the sexy Cerato Koup have been available in South Africa since 2009 but now – and not before time, guys – comes the small kids-and-a-dog-friendly hatchback version.The sedan for the sales rep and commuter, the Koup for the younger set and now the hatch for people who do family shops and go camping for their holidays. And it comes with a whole range of new stuff that’s also being added to the Koup and sedan for the 2011 model year.Kia, cheekily enough, sees the Cerato hatch as a C-segment challenge to the VW Golf 6, Toyota Auris Mazda3 and Hyundai i30 – and why not indeed? If road-going Korean product continue to improve at the rate it has over the past five years people could be saying “I’d rather buy Korean”.TWO ENGINES, TWO SIZESKia says the Cerato hatch matches the sedan’s width (1.78m) and height (1.46m) and wheelbase but the rear overhang has been shortened by 190mm to make the car only 4.34m long – handy for parking and city traffic, but the luggage volume, thanks to the hatch configuration, has grown by 135 litres to 550 litres.Bring on the baby carriage.Two engine sizes (each with a six-speed manual or six-speed auto/manual sequential gearbox with paddles on the SX) are offered to create to models – 1.6 EX and 2.0 SX – with lower/higher specifications.Kia says its international design team, under Peter Schreyer, revisited the earlier cars to create the hatch and concentrated on dynamic driving, fuel economy, handling balance, cabin comfort, overall safety, the introduction of cutting-edge technologies and functionality.The roof, rear side panels, C-pillar, hatch door, rear bumper, light clusters and two-tone spoiler are all new. Also new are the radiator grille, lower air-intake grille and fog lights.The door mirrors are new, with LED indicator repeaters, and 16-inch (EX) and 17-inch (SX) alloy rims are now standard.The rear light clusters, with etched covers, have been split between the body and the door.GLOWING CABINSome work has also been done in the cabin... the front seats are fully adjustable, the thick steering wheel is leather-skinned and has satellite controls, and the SX shows a plan view of the car and its surroundings when reverse is hooked. The same screen displays fuel level, engine temperature and open-door alerts. SMALLER - BUT BIGGER: The Cerato hatch is shorter than its sedan sister - but the luggage volume is bigger to cater for families. The fascia’s sister, the centre stack, carries aircon and audio (six speakers, CD and MP3/iPod/USB compatible) controls and adds a red glow to the cabin ambience.The EX comes with cloth upholstery, the SX with leather and the rear seats fold flat... well, almost.Each engine is a quad-valve four. The 1998cc Theta II unit is capable of 115kW at 6200rpm and 194Nm at 4300rpm and will reach 100km in 9.1 sec and top out at 190km/h. The 1591cc Gamma will make 91kW at 6300rpm and 156Nm at 4200rpm to accelerate to 100km/h in a claimed 10.3sec... Crash protection gear is carried over from the earlier cars and includes anti-lock brakes, front, side and curtain crash bags, “active” head restraints and auto unlocking after an impact.THE PRICES:1.6 EX Cerato Hatch – R185 9951.6 EX Cerato Hatch a/t – R195 9952.0 SX Cerato Hatch – R205 9952.0 SX Cerato Hatch a/t – R215 994 BEAUTY IS SKIN-DEEP: Leather on the seats and steering wheel is standard on the Kia Cerato 2.0 SX hatchback - along with a glowing red ambience at night. Standard on the 1.6 are alloy rims, chromed door releases, body-colour bumpers, self-levelling headlights, front and rear foul-weather lights, third brake light and a rear spoiler.The cabin has electric power-steering, auto central locking, power windows, aircon, keyless entry, tilt and stretch steering adjustment, and full audio.The two-litre adds larger alloy rims, cruise control, aluminium pedals, leather, auto on lights and auto aircon.If you live in the Western Cape, look out for the launch convoy on Wednesday, April 20.