TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR
It’s the updated version of Kia’s best-selling model, the Cerato, which now sports a fresher look, improved equipment and sharper dynamics, yet still retains its competitive sub-$20,000 starting price.
It’s available as either a five-door hatch or four-door sedan and is one of the top sellers in its segment, trailing only the hugely popular Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3, Hyundai i30 and Volkswagen Golf.
- It’s a decent handler. It wasn’t so long ago that Kia was a byword for sloppy dynamics and vague steering, but it seems those days are behind us. This new Cerato is a competent handler with decent road holding and a well-judged ride
- A big part of this is down to the Cerato’s chassis, which is tuned for Australia’s pockmarked roads by local experts. The old Cerato was locally-tuned too, but this new one has even stiffer springs, different bushes and a new type of damper to further improve its ride and handling
- Its new engine is a highlight too. Kia has ditched the old car’s hard-working 1.8-litre petrol for a larger and more powerful 2.0-litre unit. The new engine is strong and offers decent performance for easy overtakes, yet is no thirstier than the smaller engine it replaces.
- Value has long been a Cerato strength, but this new model ups the ante ever further thanks to sharp drive away pricing and boosted equipment levels, including new safety systems like blind-spot detection and lane departure warning
- Its steering still isn’t perfect. The old Cerato’s steering was vague and lifeless, and while this new model is a definite improvement, it still lacks feel and a sense of connection to the front wheels.
- The ride could be a little firm for some. I know, we listed the way the Cerato handles as a strength, but the pay off for such superb body control and taut dynamics is suspension that can feel overly stiff over big bumps, especially in higher-spec Si and SLi models that roll on large 17-inch wheels
- The seating position is too high in models fitted with leather electric seats. It’s strange, especially given the seating position in models fitted with manual cloth seats is excellent
- There’s no AEB on any Cerato. And the entry-level model doesn’t score a reverse camera as standard either, which seems mean.
ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?
Yep, the four we mentioned earlier. The Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3 and Hyundai i30 aren’t the best-selling cars in Australia by accident and are definitely worthy of close inspection. And if you’re chasing something with European charm, the VW Golf is a hugely competent all-rounder with a beautifully made interior, well-judged handling and high levels of standard equipment.
Click here to read the full review on the Kia Cerato range.
How are you finding our new site design? Tell us in the comments below or send us your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2021 MG ZST Essence review
The MG ZST Essence is the flagship variant of Australia's most popular small SUV, but does its bargain price come at the expense of quality?
Hyundai Ioniq 5 review: First drive
The Ioniq 5 is on its way to revolutionise Hyundai's EV game. It won't be cheap, but our first drive tells us buyers won't be disappointed.
2021 Toyota RAV4 review
The Toyota RAV4 is comfortable mid-sized SUV offering plenty of standard features and technology, plus a choice of efficient petrol and hybrid powertrains.