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Car news, 15 Mar ’24: Kia teases its Cerato successor, Lexus goes all-in on hybrid and more

Olek Novak

Thanks for joining us this Friday March 15th 2024. Notably in car news today: Kia teases its new K4 model that is very likely to be the next Cerato sedan, Chinese automaker Chery announces more specification info for its upcoming Tiggo 8 Pro Max large SUV, and more.

Browse this issue:

Kia K4 teased as next compact sedan

  • Kia Australia has given us a first glimpse at its next compact sedan and its called, at least for now, the K4.
  • Set to debut in full on March 21 this year, the K4 could very well be the replacement for the current Cerato.
2024 Kia K4 teaser shot 2 rear 3/4
Kia has teased its next compact sedan
  • Expect the K4 to use the new front end design styling we have already seen on the Kia EV9 and even the Kia Picanto, with a strip light LED design to feature for the rear tail lights. 
  • It’s not confirmed whether or not the K4 will be hybrid or electric, but this news should follow soon after the official reveal. 
  • The news comes as Kia continues to push out a new wave of products, including the electric EV9 large SUV and upcoming EV5 midsize SUV.  

Lexus UX goes hybrid and electric only in Australia

  • The Lexus UX is the latest Toyota-group nameplate to go hybrid and electric only in Australia, with the premium marque announcing the discontinuation of the UX200 petrol and UX250h hybrid, increasing the cost of entry to the nameplate by close to $10,000.
  • The UX250h will be replaced by the more powerful UX300h which has received an 11kW power boost, bringing total power outputs to 146kW. Meanwhile, the UX300e electric continues unchanged following a major update it underwent last year.
Lexus UX 300h 2024
The Lexus UX is now hybrid and electric only in Australia
  • Prices kick off at $55,370 before on road costs for the entry grade UX300h 2WD Luxury and stretch up to $88,190 for the top-spec UX300e Sports Luxury, meaning that the new LBX city SUV now becomes the cheapest Lexus you can buy, with a price of entry of $47,550 before on-road costs. 
  • The UX300h is available in both front wheel drive and all-wheel drive depending on grade, in a variety of trims including Luxury, Sports Luxury and F-Sport, with the front-wheel drive UX300e available in Luxury or Sports Luxury grades.
  • Lexus has also made tweaks to features and specs across the range, with the most significant changes to the UX300h AWD Sports Luxury (up $4670) and UX300h AWD F Sport (up $6715) which gain additional features like a moon roof, as well as a panoramic view monitor and 13-speaker audio system for the latter grade.

Kia Sportage hybrid could score AWD thanks to NVES

  • Kia Australia’s general manager of product planning Roland Rivero told Chasing Cars that the hybrid version of the Sportage recently released to the Australian market was restricted to front-wheel-drive but that could change in future.
  • AWD hybrid versions are sold in the UK, where the RHD Sportage is sold in a shorter wheelbase version; in the US it’s sold with this electrified all-paw option in the same larger body style that’s sold here but only in LHD. Neither suit Australia, says Kia.
2024 Kia Sportage Hybrid GT-Line front 3/4 driving
An all-wheel drive version of the Kia Sportage could make its way to Australia eventually
  • Rivero said that “the total volume or the total quantity, for right hand drive [AWD hybrid] just wasn’t enough” to justify developing the drivetrain for our market.
  • However he went on to say that if the government’s proposed New Vehicle Emissions Standard was to pass in Option B form, this could change.
  • Rivero said the current Sportage hybrid lineup was a “starting point” and if the proposed legislation they would likely need a broader range. Likely, this would include AWD to match the lineup seen in our markets.

Australian specifications revealed for Chery Tiggo 8 Pro Max SUV

  • Chery Australia has announced specifications for its new large SUV, the Tiggo 8 Pro Max, which is due in Australia in May 2024
  • Launching with three variants in Australia, the Tiggo 8 Pro Max SUV will compete with the likes of other seven seaters such as the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Toyota Kluger, among others.
2024 Chery Tiggo 8 Pro Max rear 3/4
Australian specifications have been announced for the new Chery Tiggo 8 Pro Max
  • The three variants will be Urban, Elite and Ultimate AWD, with standard specification including 18-inch alloy wheels, dual 12.3-inch screens, black synthetic leather upholstery, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with wireless phone charging and heated/ventilated seats. 
  • Powering the 8 Pro Max is a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that produces outputs of 180kW/375Nm and is paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. 
  • Pricing for the new large SUV is yet to be confirmed, but is due in the next couple of months. 

Nissan announces what could be last update for the 2025 GT-R

  • Nissan has announced its 2025 R35 Nissan GT-R, a model that has been on sale globally since 2007.
  • The Japanese automaker has added a few fine-tuned tweaks, including revised high precision weight-balanced piston rings, connecting rods and crankshafts, to produce “snappier revs” and “faster turbo spooling”. 
Nissan GT-R 2025
Nissan has announced tweaks to its GT-R performance coupe for 2025
  • The company has not stated that the GT-R will produce more power and torque, so outputs of 419kW/633Nm from a 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine. 
  • Australian GT-Rs went off sale in 2021 due to the model no longer meeting strict side impact ADR rules.  
  • First deliveries are expected in Japan, and are expected to be limited release.

2024 Abarth 500e reviewed 

  • Chasing Cars deputy editor Curt Dupriez’s review of the 2024 Abarth 500e was published, including his thoughts on its charismatic attitude and fantastic dynamics.

  • Our deputy editor found the character, dynamics and urban manner of the new Abarth 500e to be very positive.

  • In terms of negatives, Dupriez noted the expensive price point, modest performance and an awkward driver’s footwell as being some things that needed work.
Abarth 500e 2024 thumbnail
Chasing Cars deputy editor Curt Dupriez was quite smitten by the new Abarth 500e
  • In summary, Dupriez highly recommended the Abarth 500e for a fun daily drive, but did note that its a vehicle best suited for two. 

  • Also reviewed today was the Nissan Qashqai E-Power and Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Heavy Duty.

READ: Read the written review of the Abarth 500e

The next issue of Car News Today will be published on Monday 18th March at 4.30pm Sydney time.