Kia Cerato GT launch impressions

Flagship GT sails into new Kia Cerato range.

Kia Motors Australia (KMA) has spiced up its best-selling model by adding a GT version to the new Cerato sedan and hatch range.

Both Hatch and Sedan GTs hit the showroom at $31,990 drive away.

Telling the flagship GT apart from the lesser-specification S, Sport and Sport + Ceratos is a subtle, yet distinctive, body kit; dual exhausts; paddle gear shifters; alloy sports pedals; and a flat-bottomed, leather sports steering wheel.

There’s substance to match the style. Under the bonnet is a 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder engine producing 150kW at 6000rpm and 265Nm of torque from 1500-4500rpm, all channelled to the front wheels through a 7-speed DCT gearbox. Sport mode is accessed by tipping across the gearlever towards the driver, thereby enacting aggressive gear shift characteristics and sharper steering maps.

Cerato’s body-in-white is 16 percent stiffer than that of its predecessor, aided by new subframe designs to improve lateral responsiveness.

Kia Cerato GT interior

The Column-mounted Motor Driven Power Steering system has been tweaked to reduce artificial steering feel and friction. Sport mapping for steering sharpness and weighting, coupled with precise gear shift points in Sport Mode, work with a more aggressive suspension tune to heighten the drive experience.

The reworked suspension geometry in the non-IRS model Ceratos provided a sound starting point for the more sophisticated GT set-up finessed for Australian conditions by KMA’s local suspension tuning team. Combined with evolutionary improvements to throttle and brake feel performance, the Cerato offers a smoother initial response at turn-in, and shorter stopping distances than the previous model.

Grip and braking wherewithal has been further boosted by larger (305mm by 25mm) ventilated front discs and 18-inch sport alloys shod with 225/40Z R18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 rubber.

Bigger overhangs, front and rear, have increased cargo capacity 43 litres to 428 (VDA).

The GT shares the rest of the Cerato range’s five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Standard equipment includes Autonomous Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keep Assist, rear view camera with dynamic guidelines, Driver Attention Alert Warning and front/rear parking sensors.

Tick the boxes also for Drive Mode Select, tyre pressure monitor, speed limiter, ventilated front sport seats (driver gets 8-way adjustment with two memory positions), smart cruise control, 8-inch touchscreen infotainment display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with voice recognition, wireless phone charger, 8-speaker JBL Premium sound system with Bluetooth connectivity and climate control air-conditioning.

Kia Cerato GT  rear