What’s hot: Powerful engine, interior fit and finish.
What’s not: Inconsistent steering feel.
X-FACTOR: A capable all-rounder, and one of the best small cars around right now.
Vehicle style: Small Hatch
Price: $25,990 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 129kW/209Nm petrol four | 6spd auto
Fuel consumption listed: 7.4 l/100km | tested: 8.1 l/100km
There’s a wealth of choice when it comes to small hatchbacks. A glut, even.
An all-new generation of Cerato launched this year in both hatch and sedan form, and it’s a quality automobile that’s more than worthy of your consideration - and your hard-earned dollar.
And of all the Cerato hatches, the auto-equipped $25,990 Cerato Si is the one that’s most deserving.
MORE: All Kia Cerato Reviews
Kia interiors are fast catching up to - and in some cases exceeding - the quality of its Japanese competitors.
The Cerato’s interior has a plain, no-nonsense black-on-black scheme, but the dash pad is soft to the touch and the chequer-textured trim feels and looks premium.
The seats in this mid-spec Si model are cloth, but like everything else it feels durable. Worn upholstery shouldn’t be an issue here.
Comfort is good too, with plenty of space for your backseaters. Being a hatch also has its advantages when it comes to carrying cargo, and the Cerato’s 385 litre boot gets some handy bag hooks and tie-down points.
Cerato key interior features:
- Manual air-conditioning with rear air-vents
- Power windows front and rear, power mirrors
- Cruise control, trip computer, multi-function steering wheel
- 60/40 split-fold rear seats
- 6-speaker audio with CD/MP3/iPod, USB and auxilliary inputs
- 4.3-inch colour touchscreen, Bluetooth phone and audio.
ON THE ROAD
The Cerato Si is powered by a direct-injected 2.0 litre petrol four. With 129kW of power and 209Nm of torque, it’s near the top of the grocery-getting small hatch pack.
Hooked up to the optional six-speed automatic, the 2.0 pulls strongly throughout its rev-range. It’s smooth, has plenty of punch for day-to-day driving and deals well with a full load of passengers.
Ride comfort is good too. On the Si’s 16-inch alloys, most urban bumps and lumps are easily soaked up, however the Continental tyres transmit an above-average amount of road noise.
The on-road experience is only spoiled by an electric power steering system with inconsistent feel on-centre - something which we didn’t detect during the car’s local media launch.
The weighting of the three-mode Flexsteer steering is also much too heavy in “Sport”, with “Comfort” being our preference.
Cerato key specifications:
- Engine/transmission: 2.0 litre direct-injected petrol inline four / six-speed automatic transmission
- Outputs: [email protected] | [email protected]
- Suspension: Independent McPherson strut front | Torsion beam axle rear
- Electric power-assisted steering with three-mode Flexsteer system
- Fuel consumption listed: 7.4 l/100km | tested: 8.1 l/100km
- ANCAP safety rating: 5-Stars
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Kia has long played second-fiddle to big brother Hyundai when it comes to sales, but this is certainly not because it’s lacking the right kind of product.
On the contrary, cars like the Cerato sedan and hatch are evidence of Kia’s maturity as a carmaker.
Build quality is great, equipment levels are healthy and the Cerato even eclipses many other small cars when it comes to design.
It’s a well-rounded package, and one that’s easy for us to recommend. If the Cerato hatch isn’t already on your small-car shortlist, it should be.
MORE: All Kia Cerato Reviews
Pricing (excludes on-road costs)
- Cerato S - 1.8 petrol - manual - $19,990
- Cerato S - 1.8 petrol - auto - $21,990
- Cerato Si - 2.0 petrol - manual - $23,990
- Cerato Si - 2.0 petrol - auto - $25,990
- Cerato SLi - 2.0 petrol - manual - $27,990
- Cerato SLi - 2.0 petrol - auto - $29,990