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2019 Kia Cerato Sport+ Hatch quick review

By Chris Thompson, 11 Feb 2019 Reviews

2019 Kia Cerato Sport Hatch quick review feature

Does the Cerato earn its ‘Sport’ badge? The answer probably won’t surprise you

Heading out to test drive a car that’s got a ‘Sport’ badge on it and seeing a bored-looking family pulled over in the exact same car you’re driving isn’t usually a good indication of what’s to come. It might lead one to expect the Kia Cerato Sport+, in this case it’s the hatch, to be about as dynamically exciting as a hospital bed.

Fortunately, the first impression given by that family was a bit off. It’s possible to have fun with the Sport+, even though it doesn’t feel like you’re supposed to. If you don’t intend to drive it as many MOTOR readers would be inclined to, you might even say it’s sporty. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, you’d be wrong.

Its 2.0-litre four feels like it’s had its day, after years of being the running gear for Hyundai’s small cars. The turbo 1.6 from the GT (shared with Hyundai’s N-Line) would make a far sprightlier car. Getting up to speed out of a corner in the Sport+ requires reaching the top end of the rev range, and that’s an unpleasant place to be in this case. Higher revs are loud and sound laboured, and it sometimes feels in vain. It’s not painfully slow, but it’s not much fun when decades-old Magnas are threatening you at the red-lighted on-ramp.

The standard rubber on the Sport+ isn’t even that bad. The Nexens hold the road well enough for something in its class, though we wouldn’t head to the track with them fitted – not that this car is designed to do so. They do contribute to some road noise, and don’t seem to help with an already unnecessarily stiffly tuned suspension setup. Bumps and vibrations from the road are less helpful feedback and more annoyingly vague, a bit like an email from a real estate agent.

Where the Cerato Sport+ really holds up is with its value proposition. It’s sporting more features than it needs to in the mid-$20K region, and the interior space is rather pleasant and ticks plenty of ergonomic boxes. On top of that, the ‘Smart’ drivetrain setting is actually fairly well designed for around town tootles. But we suspect that won’t matter much to you, dear MOTOR reader.

Tested and rated on MOTOR reviews

 2.0-litre DOHC inline-4
Power: 112kW @ 6200rpm
Torque: 192Nm @ 4000rpm
Drive: FWD
Weight: 1345kg
Price: $26,190