2022 Kia Cerato Sport+ hatch review
Kia's facelifted 2022 Cerato offers an enticing package on paper and makes for a great city commuter, but it's let down by an unenthusiastic 2.0-litre engine.
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SUVs may account for more than half of all new cars sold, but hatchbacks and compact sedans such as the 2022 Kia Cerato still have their place. Last year, it was the third-bestselling passenger car and sat in the 12th spot overall with 18,114 of them finding a home with Australian buyers.
It now sports a new look and updated interior and most noticeably a new and more premium signature-inspired badge. The smart new looks hope to enhance an already attractive package – at least on paper.
While we've already taken a look at the range-topping Cerato GT, its many performance enhancements over other models mean the Sport+ variant tested here is a better representation of the wider range, with it sporting the same engine and more similar interior appointments.
Positioned 1 rung below the GT and above the S and Sport grades, the Sport+ will cost you $31,690 drive-away whether you'd like it as a sedan or hatch – our tester being the latter. This marks a substantial increase of nearly $5,000 since the pre-facelift model first launched in 2019.
What is it like inside?
Given the price hike for the 2022 Cerato, some interior updates are the least one could expect. Fortunately, they are there, although the overall cabin design remains largely identical to how it was before.
The most noteworthy upgrade is the new 10.25-inch infotainment display mounted atop the dashboard, which comes on all models bar the base Cerato S. It's a definite step up, with a slick new operating system and crisp resolution. Its size also provides the flexibility for split-screen set-ups with both music and navigation side by side, for example.
Worth adding is that it features DAB+ digital radio as standard, along with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A 6-speaker audio system is standard which is fine, but the 8-speaker JBL system in the GT will be what really tickles the fancy of the audiophiles out there.
Similarly, the 4.2-inch display in the instrument cluster has been given an upgrade as it's now in colour rather than black and white. Nice as that may be, Australia does unfortunately miss out on the fully digital instrument cluster some other markets receive with this update.
The other thing that'll stand out to those familiar with the old model is the redesigned centre console. It now incorporates an electronic parking brake with auto-hold – a handy feature in heavy traffic. It allows you to take your foot off the brake pedal at a red light while holding the vehicle in place.
Dual-zone climate control and heated front seats come as standard on the Sport+, as does perforated leather upholstery with white contrast stitching, giving it an edge over the regular Sport model. However, 6-way manual seat adjustment remains standard. It also features the same round leather-wrapped steering wheel as the Sport, rather than the flat-bottomed tiller of the GT.
What's undoubtedly impressive is how much space there is inside. Despite its compact dimensions, there's an abundance of room to stretch out up front. The lack of the GT model's sunroof also means there's nothing to intrude upon headroom.
The back seat is surprisingly spacious as well, even for taller folks like myself. Uber drivers, take note – this thing is a solid choice for regularly ferrying passengers.
2022 Kia Cerato Sport+ hatch boot space
With a bigger caboose than most hatches out there, the Cerato hatch offers one of the largest cargo areas in the class with 428 litres of space.
While the 2022 Cerato sedan offers more space on paper with 502 litres, the smaller opening and lower height means the hatch is the more practical of the 2.
Removing the parcel shelf or folding the 60:40-split rear seats down will increase that space dramatically for taller or longer items. The hatch also has the bonus of an under-floor storage cubby plus hooks to attach a luggage net to.
What is it like on the road?
While the GT we've previously tested features a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, the 2022 Cerato Sport+ you see here is fitted with a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated 4-cylinder – the same you'll find in the S and Sport models as well.
Producing 112kW at 6,200rpm and 192Nm at 4,000rpm, it's certainly no racer. The torque deficit can clearly be felt, particularly as you really have to rev the Cerato to get it going with any vigour at all.
For city driving, it's perfectly fine and remains docile; outside town, it gets seriously vocal as you start to push it to get up to speed on freeway on-ramps or after exiting a corner on your favourite backroad.
A 6-speed torque converter automatic is now the sole transmission offered with this engine – other markets now utilise a CVT. Much like the power plant it's coupled to, it's smooth and unobtrusive around town, but it is a bit slow if you're trying to hustle the Cerato. It's busy when you're sitting at higher speeds as well, regularly needing to downshift a few cogs for inclines to account for the engine's lack of grunt.
Unfortunately, fuel economy isn't terribly impressive either. Kia claims 7.4L/100km on the combined cycle, but I saw a return of 9.1L/100km across 450km of driving in a mix of conditions. Simply, the need to work this engine harder to really get it going means it's less economical than the more powerful GT.
Drivetrain aside, the Cerato does make a good case for itself as a daily driver, with a pleasant ride that has been set up specifically for Aussie roads. Despite using a rear torsion beam axle rather than the GT's independent multi-link set-up, the clever tuning means most drivers will notice.
The steering is a little on the heavier side compared to some rivals, but this gives good confidence behind the wheel. It turns in crisply and is easy to place on the road. It'll even lend a helping hand on the open road as it now features level 2 semi-autonomy thanks to its impressive lane follow assist system.
How safe is the 2022 Kia Cerato Sport+ hatch?
The 2022 Kia Cerato Sport+ boasts the maximum 5-star safety rating from ANCAP based on 2019 testing, scoring 34.3 marks out of 38 for adult occupant protection.
Sport+ variants come standard with a strong list of active safety equipment as well, including:
- Autonomous emergency brake with forward collision warning system
- Rear cross traffic alert with rear cross traffic collision avoidance assist
- Lane keep assist with lane follow assist
- Blind spot detection with collision avoidance assist
- Driver attention alert with leading vehicle departure
- High beam assist
If you're looking at a Cerato S or Sport, it's worth noting a few of these features aren't included, which bumps their safety rating down to 4 stars. Adding the optional Safety Pack adds most of these back in though, bumping the rating back up to 5 stars.
2022 Kia Cerato Sport+ hatch running costs
Like all Kia models, the 2022 Cerato is covered by a 7-year unlimited-kilometre warranty, along with 7 years of capped price servicing. Compared to the turbocharged GT, servicing is cheaper and less frequent for the Sport+. The intervals and cost per service are as follows:
- 1 year or 15,000 km – $275
- 2 years or 30,000 km – $469
- 3 years or 45,000km – $339
- 4 years or 60,000km – $607
- 5 years or 75,000km – $309
- 6 years or 90,000km – $596
- 7 years or 105,000km – $328
There's no doubt that the 2022 Kia Cerato Sport+ presents itself as an inoffensive package, offering smart looks and a strong amount of kit for the class. However, its drivetrain is the 1 thing that really lets it down. The new CVT other markets receive – which you'll find offered in Australia in the Seltos – would really help make the most out of its torque-deficient engine.
It's a shame what's under the bonnet is such a let-down performance-wise, as it's a fine steer otherwise. However, it's likely that this simple and proven engine will be reliable. And even if something does go wrong, you're covered by a generous warranty.
If you're primarily a city-dweller, the Sport+ model is a perfectly fine package that you'll never encounter the limitations of. If you're living further afield though, the more powerful and economical GT is the obvious pick of the range.
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