Kia has recently updated its third-generation Cerato for model year 2017.
The latest iteration brings revised styling, equipment and technology updates, improved interior finish, and all grades now feature a 2.0-litre engine. The range starts at a sharp $19,990 drive-away for the Cerato S manual.
We drove the top specification SLi five-door hatch with a drive-away price of $32,490, including a standard six-speed auto. It’s crammed to the rafters with standard kit and Kia back its product with an industry-leading seven year/unlimited kilometre warranty, seven years of roadside assistance, and seven years of capped price servicing.
Among the standard inclusions are six airbags, 17-inch alloys with 45 series rubber, alloy sport pedals, paddle shifters, dual climate control, LED DRLs, eight-way powered, heated and ventilated driver’s seat, heated front passenger seat, sunroof, HID headlights, leather trim, navigation, 7-inch colour touchscreen, proximity entry, keyless start, security alarm, parking sensors, and reversing camera.
Driver assistance features are boosted as well, with the SLi sporting blind spot detection and lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and forward collision alert.
The fuel efficient 2.0-litre engine is a solid and willing performer that gets the Cerato off the line promptly then continues delivering the goods, be it around town or out
on the open road.
Pop the Drive Mode switch into Sport and there’s a little more edge on the performance, with lower gears held longer. The electric power steering also gains a little extra weight, though little extra in the way of road feel. And that’s something the steering could use a little more of, if we are being picky.
Thanks to local suspension tuning, there’s a good balance between firm but still comfortable and composed ride characteristics, and dynamically capable handling. The Cerato dispatches corners with confidence, though ultimately we reckon it can’t quite match the class leaders in this area.
Overall refinement is good, though we noted a fair amount of tyre and road noise on coarse chip sealed road surfaces.
Firm but comfortable front seats with good adjustability for the driver, and a user-friendly cabin layout, add to the small Kia’s appeal. Kia aimed for a more premium feel to the interior, and it shows, with a neatly finished quality look evident.
We found the Cerato a very pleasant all-round package. It certainly deserves serious consideration by small car shoppers.