Australian first drive: 2022 Kia Cerato facelift

Kia's increasingly popular Cerato has copped a front-end restyle and a few small additions to the specification, but can it take it up to the segment's finest?

2022 Kia Cerato facelift Australian first drive review
Gallery47
7.2/10Score
Score breakdown
7.0
Safety, value and features
8.0
Comfort and space
7.0
Engine and gearbox
7.0
Ride and handling
7.0
Technology

Things we like

  • Great value
  • Excellent warranty
  • Slight improvement on GT ride quality

Not so much

  • Optional safety features
  • GT still a hard rider
  • 2.0-litre quite slow
  • Too much halogen, needs more LED

Almost unbelievably, the Kia Cerato has been on sale in Australia for almost two decades. In that time it has blown past the sales figures of the seemingly more famous Rio, a nameplate that has also been around forever. Kia has sold 155,000 Ceratos, which isn’t mucking about, especially for a challenger brand.

Since the introduction of the fourth-generation Cerato in 2018, Kia has released several new SUVs – Stonic, Seltos and Sorento as well as the uncharacteristically sporty Stinger sedan. So a lot has gone on and yet the Cerato still racks up the sales.

Three years have passed since its introduction and Kia has taken the opportunity to not only freshen up the range but also to slap on the shiny new Kia badge.

Pricing and Features

Which Car Car Reviews 2022 Kia Cerato Facelift Range
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The range is basically the same as it was before, with no changes to the model names and the 2.0-litre naturally aspirated and 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinders continuing on. Sadly – and a moment’s silence please – the six-speed manual is no more, the vanishingly small demand for the three-pedal model bringing on its demise as well as an incompatibility with the upgraded AEB.

Safety features across the range include six airbags, lane-keep assist, lane departure warning, forward AEB (car and pedestrian), lane follow assist, driver attention alert, rear occupant alert, auto high beam and a reversing camera, with a few of these being new additions to the basic spec.

Prices are up across the range, with the 2.0-litre variants adding up to $600 while the GT is up $1100.

Which Car Car Reviews 2022 Kia Cerato GT Facelift Rear
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The range opens with the S at $25,490 RRP ($25,990 drive-away) with the Safety Pack shipping for $26,490 ($27,490 drive-away). The S has 16-inch steel wheels, auto halogen headlights, air-conditioning (with rear air vents), keyless entry, front and rear parking sensors, cloth trim and cruise control.

Its six-speaker stereo is powered by an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. For some reason, the S is the only car in the range with wireless capability, which Kia hopes will soon change.

Adding the Safety Pack takes the standard safety package and adds reverse cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, upgraded forward AEB with cyclist detection, forward collision warning and safe exit warning. It’s $1500 well spent but annoying that all this isn’t standard, especially the rear cross-traffic alert.

Which Car Car Reviews 2022 Kia Cerato Sport Plus Facelift Infotainment
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The Sport retails for $27,590 ($27,990 drive-away) with a spec that builds on the S with 17-inch alloys, sat-nav, sport cloth trim and a “premium” steering wheel and shifter.

It also has the larger 10.25-inch touchscreen that adds a range of features including digital radio but loses the wireless Apple CarPlay while Android Auto works with both a cable and over the air. To keep the batteries juiced up, there are two USB ports – one in the front and one in the back – as well as a 12-volt adapter.

As with the S, you can add the Safety Pack, which takes the Sport to $28,590 ($29,940 drive-away).

Which Car Car Reviews 2022 Kia Cerato Sport Plus Facelift Wheel
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The Sport+ comes in at $30,640 ($31,690 drive-away), has bigger rear brakes, keyless entry and start, heated front seats and dual-zone climate control. The sedan also gains a smart boot release.

New to the Sport+ are adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with blind-spot collision avoidance assist, reverse cross-traffic alert and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist, safe exit warning and upgraded forward AEB with cyclist detection.

A lift in some interior materials includes fake leather seats, which are perfectly fine and will appeal to those looking for a vegan interior.

Sadly – and a moment’s silence please – the six-speed manual is no more
Which Car Car Reviews 2022 Kia Cerato Sport Plus Facelift Seats
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The S, Sport and Sport+ all have the 2.0-litre MPI engine with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Moving on to the GT, the 2.0-litre makes way for the 1.6-litre turbo coupled to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The GT costs $35,290 ($36,990 drive-away), with the majority of the price difference taken up by the turbo engine and multi-link rear suspension. The GT’s sport suspension tune has been tweaked (the old car was a very hard rider) and there are also 18-inch wheels plus bigger brakes than the Sport+.

The stereo is a JBL-branded eight-speaker system, there are sports seats in the front with heating and cooling, a sunroof (due to customer demand, apparently), paddle shifters, wireless charging pad, alloy sports pedals and flat-bottomed steering wheel.

Design

Which Car Car Reviews 2022 Kia Cerato GT Sport Plus Facelift Design
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For the MY22 model, the hatch and sedan both have a new face, with even the lowliest S sporting LED daytime running lights and positioning lights. The new face is more aggressive than before, with signature LEDs in the headlights and lower bumper flanking a wider new 'tiger nose' grille with the pinch made broader to accommodate the new Kia emblem.

Down the back, the sedan has a reshaped bumper, taillights and boot. The distinctive rear on the hatch stays the same, so if you didn’t like it before, you still won’t. It always reminds me of the BMW X4 rear end, so it’s got styling pedigree.

Comfort and Space

Which Car Car Reviews 2022 Kia Cerato GT Facelift Interior
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The Cerato is a roomy machine, taking on the bigger hatches in its class like the Focus

Front-seat passengers have two cupholders, a centre console bin, space for a phone under the centre stack and door pockets with bottle holders.

The sedan has a significantly larger boot at 502 litres against the hatch’s 428. Neither are exactly small, but it’s worth noting if you’re tossing up between bodystyles.

On the Road

Which Car Car Reviews 2022 Kia Cerato GT Facelift Drive Review
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The 2.0-litre MPI engine of the S, Sport and Sport+ develops 112kW at 6200rpm and 192Nm at 4000rpm. Kia says it will manage 7.4L/100km on the combined cycle. 

If you throw the extra money at the GT, you’ll get 150kW at 6000rpm and 265Nm between 1500rpm and 4500rpm from the 1.6-litre turbo four. The ADR testing cycle yielded 6.9L/100km on the combined cycle for the sedan and the slipperier hatchback 0.1L less.

Mercifully, both run on standard 91 RON unleaded so it’s a bit cheaper than some rivals that require the good stuff to run.

Which Car Car Reviews 2022 Kia Cerato GT Facelift Engine
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All but the GT run a completely unchanged suspension setup. The Kia Australia suspension team – running in a slow-motion, COVID mode – made a number of changes that didn’t improve things, so stuck with the old setup. There’s little to complain about the struts at the front, torsion beams at the rear setup if you keep it tidy.

The suspension is far more capable than the 2.0-litre MPI engine, which is somewhat phoning it in. It’s a bit on the slow side and makes a bit of a racket under load but at all other times is serene, quiet and easy to get on with. The six-speed is pretty relaxed, too, and suits the engine really well, without any hunting or dithering.

Promising better dynamics and ride are the GT’s Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres on 18s and upgraded rear suspension (multi-link versus the 2.0-litre car’s torsion beams). Sometimes promises are broken – the old car was a bit of a teeth cracker, so the local Kia suspension team got to work to improve ride quality and tweak the already fun chassis.

Which Car Car Reviews 2022 Kia Cerato GT Facelift Ride And Handling
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To address the criticism of the old car, the rear dampers’ rebound and compression have been reworked while compression on the front was also modified. The result is an improvement in the overall ride, but it’s still very firm. It’s less busy on poor surfaces at slower speeds but, as before, improves with the speedo further around the dial. It’s quiet at freeway speeds though, almost as quiet as the 2.0-litre that is near-silent at 110km/h.

A fun fact about the GT’s suspension tune: it’s the same as the Australian-developed Pro’ceed GT setup that ended up on overseas models. We never got that updated tune because Kia pulled the plug on that car before it could hit the road.

The old GT was a bit of a teeth cracker, so the local Kia suspension team got to work to improve the ride quality and tweak the already fun chassis
Which Car Car Reviews 2022 Kia Cerato Sport Plus Facelift Drive Review
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The old Achilles Heel of the GT's dual-clutch is still along for the ride. It’s fine around town but occasionally needs a firm hand on the paddles to get the gear you want. Added to that, the lag down low is replaced by a fair bit of whoosh once the boost hits the gearbox, which can make things a bit awkward until you’re used to it.

It’s a lot of fun in the twisty stuff though, and as a package, it outguns its i30 cousin with more space and a competitive price – if not dynamically.

Ownership

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Kia offers a seven-year warranty with unlimited kilometres, seven years of roadside assistance and seven years of capped-price servicing.

Service pricing is the same between the two engines per service but there’s a trick lurking in there. While the 2.0-litre only requires servicing every 12 months or 15,000km, the turbo engine shrinks the kilometre limit to 10,000km.

The first seven services cost $3295, averaging $470 per service. If you stay under the 10,000km limit, that’s not bad for a year’s servicing but if you’re a high miler, that’s going to catch up to you pretty quickly. Although if you’re buying the GT, it’s unlikely you’re going to be especially fussed.

Verdict

Which Car Car Reviews 2022 Kia Cerato Facelift Range Specifications
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Not a lot has happened in the refresh and I spent quite some time in the thesaurus looking for synonyms for “tweak”. Truth is, the Cerato was in pretty good shape before the refresh, with just the front-end restyle and a few small additions to the specification to set it apart from the MY21 model.

The MY22 has inherited all of the good things that marked out the third-generation Cerato since its 2018 debut. It’s still great value – if at the expense of the lower models’ safety specifications – and has an unbeatable aftersales package. The Sport with the Safety Package is the pick of the range, too, unless you’re after all the fun of the fair in the GT.

It’s probably time for some electrification and an update to the ageing engines but the Cerato sells because it ditches frippery for zero drama, zero nonsense motoring.

Specifications

Which Car Car Reviews 2022 Kia Cerato Sport Plus Facelift Rear
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Kia Cerato S, Sport, Sport + 

Body: four-door sedan/ five-door hatchback
Drive: FWD
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder
Transmission: six-speed automatic
Power: 112kw @ 6200rpm
Torque: 192Nm @ 4000rpm
Bore stroke (mm): 81mm / 97mm
Compression ratio: 10.3:1
0-100km/h: sec (claimed): 
Fuel consumption: 7.4L/100km (combined)
Weight: 1320kg-1345kg
Suspension: MacPherson strut front / coupled torsion beam rear
L/W/H:  4640mm / 1800mm / 1440mm (sedan); 4510mm / 1800mm / 1445mm (hatch)
Wheelbase: 2700mm
Brakes: (S, Sport) 280mm front / 262mm rear (S, Sport); 280mm front / 284mm rear (Sport +)
Tyres: (S) 205/55 (Sport, Sport+) 225/45
Wheels: (S) 16-inch steel wheels / Sport, Sport+ 17-inch wheels
Price: (S) $25,490 / (Sport) $27,590 / (Sport+) $30,640 / (Safety Pack) $1500

Which Car Car Reviews 2022 Kia Cerato GT Facelift Front
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Kia Cerato GT 

Body: four-door sedan/ five-door hatchback
Drive: FWD
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo
Transmission: seven-speed twin-clutch
Power: 150kW @ 6900rpm
Torque: 265Nm @ 1500rpm-4500rpm
Bore stroke (mm): 77mm / 85.4mm
Compression ratio: 10.0:1
0-100km/h: sec (claimed)
Fuel consumption: L/100km (combined)
Weight: 1370kg - 1395kg
Suspension: MacPherson strut front / multi-link rear
L/W/H:  4640mm / 1800mm / 1440mm (sedan); 4510mm / 1800mm / 1445mm (hatch)
Wheelbase: 2700mm
Brakes: 305mm front / 284mm rear
Tyres: 225/40Z Michelin Pilot Sport 4
Wheels: 18-inch alloys
Price: $35,290

MORE
MORE
7.2/10Score
Score breakdown
7.0
Safety, value and features
8.0
Comfort and space
7.0
Engine and gearbox
7.0
Ride and handling
7.0
Technology

Things we like

  • Great value
  • Excellent warranty
  • Slight improvement on GT ride quality

Not so much

  • Optional safety features
  • GT still a hard rider
  • 2.0-litre quite slow
  • Too much halogen, needs more LED

 

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