Kia has always been a popular brand here in Australia. And the Cerato regularly features in Australia's most popular small cars.
The Cerato has sold well ever since its introduction way back in 2004, which says something about the calibre of the vehicle. Available as both a hatchback and a sedan, and in four different variants (the S, Sport, Sport+ and GT), this is a little car that comes with a big reputation.
Here we take a look at some of the key features of the Cerato. We will also review some worthy alternatives.
The 2021 Cerato has had a bit of an exterior makeover compared with last year's model, as well as some added tech, more safety features, rear air vents and bigger infotainment screens. Features of particular note include:
- Enhanced safety features - given that some variants of the Cerato only have a 4-star ANCAP rating, this is great news.
- Sporty, firm suspension that's tuned for the Australian market.
- Reviewers are extremely positive about its driving performance - if you want a small car that owns the road, the Cerato fits the bill.
Exterior and Interior
The front end has had a mild makeover, with a fresh grille, new headlights (sadly still halogen, rather than LED) and the fresh Kia badge - the first Kia in the country to sport the new badge. Accented by alloys and with smooth, attractive lines, the Cerato has a sporty vibe that's always appealing.
Although the interior is virtually unchanged aside from the larger infotainment screen in the higher-spec options, that's no bad thing. Well laid out and with little luxury touches such as leather-appointed seats and wireless charging (in higher-spec variants), the cabin is an inviting place to be. The driving position is excellent, with good rear visibility.
Would-be Cerato owners can choose from two engines: the lower three specs (the S, Sport and Sport +) are powered by a 2.0l naturally aspirated, torque convertor automatic. This engine delivers 112Kw at 6000 revs and 192Nm of torque at 4000 revs. Fuel efficiency is about 7.4l/100km.
At the top of the range is the GT, powered by a 1.6l turbo 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. Performance is 150kw at 6000 revs and 265Nm of torque between 1500 and 4000 revs. Fuel efficiency is slightly better, at 6.9l/100km.
Reviewers rave about the handling and performance of both variants, although the GT (as you would expect from being at the top of the range) gathers the most accolades. The Cerato is widely acclaimed as a speedy little car, with excellent handling and strong, constant power throughout the range. If you like a bit of speed and want a car that can handle itself when your foot hits the floor, the Cerato is worth every cent.
Aside from the base spec model, which has a meagre 8.5" screen (which is wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto compliant), the other three variants have a 10.25" screen. The larger screen is wireless for Android users - iPhone users still operate wired with this screen.
Other features include a 4.2" instrument display, a six-speaker sound system and a folding key. Whilst the Cerato isn't short on tech, it's not really a front-runner in comparison with other options in the same class.
A suite of autonomous driving features (which can be bought as an add-on for the S and the Sport, but which comes as standard for the Sport + and the GT) include an electronic parking brake, adaptive cruise control, AEB with cyclist and pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, 15" rear disc brakes, folding exterior mirrors, rear cross-traffic alert and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shifter.
Whilst the Sport + and the GT have a 5-start ANCAP rating, the S and the Sport only have 4-stars. The autonomous kit, purchased as an add-on for the S and the Sport, goes quite some way to improving safety in the lower-spec options.
A basic Cerato S will set you back about $25,990. At the top of the range, the GT sells for about $36,990.
Cerato Pros and Cons
- Great driving experience.
- Stylish exterior.
- Well-appointed interior.
- Tyre noise can be an issue in the cabin.
- No LED lighting.
- S and Sport owners will probably want to purchase the safety pack add-on, which adds an extra $1,500 to the purchase price.
The Kia Cerato is an enduring favourite with Australian drivers for a reason - it's a darn good car! Responsive and fun to drive, it's got a good turn of speed, great handling and looks the part.
What's not to like? Whilst it's not the most economical to run, and may not have the biggest boot or the comfiest back seats in the world, those issues are irrelevant if you're mainly going to use it for solo driving, with the odd front seat passenger.
Other Options to Consider
If you like sporty handling and plenty of torque when it's needed, at the same time as a touch of luxury in the cabin, it may be worth taking a look at the Mazda 3.
Mazda is well-known for its performance engines and high-end interiors, which is why the Mazda 3 is a popular choice. The Mazda 3 comes with the option of a hybrid engine and AWD. Neither of which choices are available to Cerato drivers.
For drivers who regularly carry passengers, the comfort of the Hyundai i30 could make it a better choice than the Cerato. The i30 has a more spacious rear, providing added space for back-row passengers. Reviewers praise the comfort of the i30 for the driver and passengers. And also the advantageous driving position.
Arguably even more of an exciting drive than the Cerato, it may be worth taking a look at the latest incarnation of the Honda Civic. The Civic comes with 228kw and 400Nm of torque available in the more expensive variants. It's a seriously tasty hot hatch that features multi-mode dampers, racing seats, Brembo brakes and racing seats.
There is also the option of a manual gear shift (the Cerato is only available as an automatic). With an entry price of around $23,590, the base spec is cheaper than the Cerato, but remember that the serious performance is saved for the more expensive options.