We get behind the wheel of the mid-spec Sport variant to better understand Kia’s smallest sedan offering.
TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR
The fourth-generation Cerato sedan arrived in Australia about six months before the hatch version, which is due about the start of 2019. It comes armed with clever packaging and design and plenty of standard features including autonomous emergency braking. The Sport variant that’s the subject of this review sits between the entry-level Cerato S and the flagship Sport+ model grade, and retails for $21,490.
Full review: 2018 Kia Cerato Sport+
- Ride: The suspension fitted to the Cerato is a simple design that does a good job of providing a comfortable ride. Tuned by Kia Australia specifically for local conditions, the small sedan has a stable feeling in regular driving conditions, with a ride which impressive ride quality. For the car nerds, the Cerato is fitted with a basic MacPherson strut front, and torsion beam rear-suspension set-up.
- Luggage capacity: Despite being classed as a small passenger vehicle, the Cerato has luggage capacity that rivals medium, and even large, segment cars. Boot space has grown by 20 litres with this generation to a hefty 502 litres of seats-up hauling ability.
- Back seat: For rear occupants, the Cerato sedan is spacious, with generous leg and foot room, and nice visibility out of the windows for kids. Headroom is plentiful enough for tall adults to sit comfortably, while a fold-down centre armrest offers two cupholders.
- Interior: Cerato’s cabin is well designed and a marked improvement over the previous generation, with soft-touch materials, stylish circular air vents, and a silver horizontal trim piece giving an almost premium look to the dash.
- Infotainment: A slick eight-inch tombstone-style centre tablet controls the Cerato’s infotainment, which includes sat-nav, and AppleCarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring as standard. The system is clear and intuitive to use, with quick responses to touch inputs.
- Auto braking: The sport features autonomous emergency braking that detects, and prevents or mitigates a collision with a vehicle in front of your Cerato.
- Engine: Powering every Cerato is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine which carries over from the previous model, making 112kW and 192Nm with a claimed combined fuel economy of 7.4L/100km. In Eco and Comfort driving modes it feels sluggish and lazy to respond to throttle inputs, while flips too far to the other extreme in Sport. While the standard six-speed automatic gearbox is well calibrated, the naturally-aspirated unit is thrashy, and feels overworked compared to some competitors.
- Advanced safety kit not standard: A more advanced Automatic Emergency Braking system which can detect pedestrians and cyclists is only available on the top-spec Sport+ variant. The Sport has AEB, but the system can only detect other vehicles, while the more advanced system is part of a $1000 option which also includes active cruise control, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic. This should be a ‘must-tick’ option for Cerato Sport buyers.
- Rear-seat passengers have to look at hard plastics on the back of the front seats, which have a taxi feel about them.
- The Cerato Sport lacks rear air vents, which are only available in the pricier Sport+.
Read next: 2018 Kia Cerato Hatchback Range Review
Any other small sedans I should consider?
The Cerato Sport holds up well in terms of equipment and value against similarly priced rivals including the Hyundai Elantra Active, Mazda 3 Neo, Honda Civic VTi, Toyota Corolla Ascent, Holden Astra LS, and Mitsubishi Lancer LS.