Reviewed for you: Kia Cerato
The Kia Cerato has traditionally been a strong performer in Australia, with the model refreshed in the middle of last year with improvements to the looks and equipment list. The new-look sedan continued to sell alongside the older hatchback until the updated hatch arrived in Australia.
What’s the price and what do you get?
There are three variants: S, Sport and Sport+. The S sedan retains 16-inch steel wheels with hubcaps, front and rear parking sensors, automatic on/off headlights, air-conditioning and remote central locking. It loses a full-size spare wheel, replaced by a space saver, but gains an 8.0-inch touchscreen (up from 7.0in) with digital radio and autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with lane-keep assistance.
For $2,200 extra, the Sport adds 17-inch alloys, leather-wrapped steering wheel, integrated satellite navigation and illuminated vanity mirrors. And the Sport+, for another $2,500, gets LED daytime running lights, keyless auto-entry with push-button start, dual-zone climate control, leather trim, heated front seats, soft-touch front door plastics, rear air vents, AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, plus active cruise control.
What’s the interior like?
The new Cerato offers the same wheelbase as the car it replaces, but the body is longer and slightly taller while the width remains the same. The body length increase allowed Kia to fit the latest version of its snout and to make the thing look a bit like a baby Stinger (Kia’s high-performance sports sedan).
The interior of the new Cerato is a much nicer place to be than the old car, with a new floating-style dashboard that gives a sense of width to the cabin. The dash has also been raised slightly for so you can see the controls better. You can feel the quality in the materials used, and the fit and finish are excellent.
What’s the passenger space like?
Whether you’re in the front or the back of the Cerato, the thing feels big. In the front, the seats are wide but with enough support for those driving longer distances. And, in the back, there’s acres of leg and knee room and good head and shoulder room. The middle seat is still more of a perch than a seat, but the design of the middle pew is flatter and broader than you normally find in small cars so it can be used by an adult in a pinch. There’s loads of foot room to share on either side of this position.
The 8.0-inch infotainment screen dominates the clean and well laid out dash. The buttons are clearly marked and within easy reach of the driver, and the big shortcut buttons make deep-diving into the touchscreen simple.
What about the boot?
The boot offers 502 litres of storage space, which is big for the class, but the lack of a manual release on the boot (keyfob only) is frustrating. The rear seats are 60:40 split-fold and can be dropped to increase storage space. The load lip is around 67cm off the ground so it’s easy to load and unload; indeed, the wide-mouthed opening of the boot makes it a practical space. There’s a space-saver spare beneath the boot floor.
What’s under the bonnet?
Unless you go for the Cerato GT, there’s only one engine across the S, Sport and Sport+ models, and that is a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol making 112kW at 6200rpm and 192Nm of torque at 4000rpm. The S can be had with a six-speed manual, but we’d suggest most buyers will go for the six-speed automatic. Kia puts fuel consumption at 7.4L/100km.
While on paper it doesn’t seem overly endowed with grunt the engine in the Cerato is more than up to the job of powering the 1320kg car. The six-speed automatic does a good job of keeping the engine in its sweet spot.
What’s it like on the road?
The Cerato, like other Kias, was tuned for Australian roads by Kia’s Australian engineering team. And while the way the entry-level S moves through corners and controls it bodyweight under brakes is just about identical to the Cerato Sport+ we tested, there is a subtle difference between the two, and this is mainly down to the wheels. See, the Sport+ rides on 17-inch alloys and feels firmer through the backside. The entry-level S and Sport, on the other hand, sit on 16-inch steel wheels and a taller tyre which makes a big difference to the ride comfort. There’s more compliance because of the meatier tyre, and that’s what most people will be looking for in a car like this – comfort over corner carving.
What safety features do you get?
As standard, there’s the usual traction and stability controls, impact-sensing auto door unlocking, airbags with curtains covering the back seats, and front and rear side door impact beams. In terms of active safety, the Cerato offers forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera with dynamic guide lines, driver attention alert, lane-keep assist, and a tyre pressure monitor.
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