Kia Cerato Review

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finder score: 81.25%

Avg. critics score: 81.25%
5 critics
How did we calculate this? We analysed and aggregated the scores of Car Advice, CarsGuide, WhichCar, Motoring and Finder to bring you the finder.com.au score. This is a comprehensive score that brings together the four different expert ratings you see below.
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Critic reviews

Website Rating Notable quotes
Car Advice 84% "The Cerato GT hatch represents Kia's best and highest-volume tilt at capturing buyers who display enthusiasm for driving beyond simply commuting." Read more
CarsGuide 80% "The Kia Cerato could be the smartest choice you'll make this year." Read more
WhichCar 80% "The Kia Cerato hatch and sedan have stylish cabins, strong infotainment suite, and drive nicely, with all versions featuring some kind of autonomous emergency braking and seven-year warranty." Read more
Motoring 81% "With a class-leading seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, reasonably-priced (and capped) service costs with 12-month or 15,000km intervals and an improving reputation, the Kia Cerato is a genuine contender in the small car segment." Read more
Finder 81.25% "The Kia Cerato GT is a fun, practical, "warm" sedan. I can see it appealing to a lot of Aussies and have in fact already seen more and more of them on the road." Read hands-on review

How does the Kia Cerato compare with its peers?

Updated September 18th, 2019
Name Product Maximum Power ANCAP rating Price (from) Finder Score Read review
206 Kw
5 stars
$39,990
86.67%
170 Kw
5 stars
$32,490
82.33%
150 Kw
5 stars
$19,990
81.25%
423 Kw
5 stars
$59,340
73.33%

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A comprehensive review of the Kia Cerato

Kia Cerato pricing

The Kia Cerato is available in six different grades as well as two body styles: hatchback and sedan.

S

The S Cerato opens the range at $24,567.70. Highlights include front and rear parking aids, a reverse camera, lane keep assist, autonomous emergency braking, halogen DRLs, dusk-sensing auto headlamps, a six-way driver's seat adjustment, a front console armrest, heated door mirrors, a chrome tip exhaust, cruise control, 3.5-inch LCD instrument cluster, electric windows, 2 x USB outlets, an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB, six speakers, Bluetooth and manual air conditioning.

In short, it's a very competitive offering.

Sport

The $26,627.70 Sport model ditches the S line's 16-inch steel wheels in favour of 17-inch alloy wheels and swaps the basic cloth seats for a sport-pattern cloth upholstery. Buyers can adjust the headrest's angle and the wiper blades are more aerodynamic. Kia installs a premium steering wheel and shift knob, the vanity mirrors are illuminated and Sport models also have satellite navigation.

Sport +

The Sport + model sells for $32,653.20. It has a six-speed automatic transmission, selectable drive modes, an auto-dimming rear mirror, plus blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, energy-efficient LED DRLs, a smart key fob and push-button start, leather-appointed seats, a sliding centre armrest, electric folding outside door mirrors, smart cruise control, soft-touch materials on the interior, an illuminated glove box, dual-zone climate A/C, automatic defogging and rear air vents plus heated front seats.

GT

Finally, the most expensive Cerato adds to the Sport + specification, for a driveaway price of $36,927.70. Some of the key differences include a powerful, more fuel-efficient 1.6-litre petrol engine in tandem with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. It rolls on 18-inch alloys and sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres. Kia also fits LED headlights and rear combination lamps, sports leather seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat with two-way lumbar support and position memory, the GT body kit, high gloss door mirrors, dual exhaust, a sports flat-bottom perforated leather steering wheel, a larger 4.2-inch LCD instrument cluster, alloy sports pedal, brushed interior silver door handles, wireless phone charging, an eight-speaker premium JBL sound system, ventilated front seats and a GT-only optional Sunset Orange paint finish.

Click on a price to compare car loans for the Kia Cerato.

S Sport Sport + GT
2.0-litre petrol, six-gear manual, sedan/hatchback: $24,567.70 2.0-litre petrol, six-gear manual, sedan/hatchback: $26,627.70 2.0-litre petrol, six-gear automatic, safety pack, sedan/hatchback: $32,653.20 1.6-litre petrol, seven-speed automatic, sedan/hatchback: $36,927.70
2.0-litre petrol, six-gear manual, safety pack, sedan/hatchback: $25,597.70 2.0-litre petrol, six-gear manual, safety pack, sedan/hatchback: $27,657.70
2.0-litre petrol, six-gear automatic, sedan/hatchback: $27,451.70 2.0-litre petrol, six-gear automatic, sedan/hatchback: $29,511.70
2.0-litre petrol, six-gear automatic, safety pack, sedan/hatchback: $28,481.70 2.0-litre petrol, six-gear automatic, safety pack, sedan/hatchback: $30,541.70

The only free standard paint options included is Clear White.

Metallic and pearlescent paint finishes cost $520:

  • Snow White Pearl
  • Silky Silver
  • Aurora Black
  • Platinum Graphite
  • Steel Grey
  • Runway Red
  • Gravity Blue
  • Horizon Blue

The GT is also available in Sunset Orange for $520.

The above driveaway prices are for postcode 2000, available to a private buyer. The above includes on-road costs (ORCs) like 12 months' rego, CTP, stamp duty and dealer delivery. The prices may vary from dealer to dealer.

Overview

A better-than-average car. That says quite a lot as it is up against some incredibly tough competition from the likes of Toyota, Mazda and even sister brand Hyundai. It offers excellent value, generous equipment levels, acceptable styling and a comfortable interior. Throw in the long Kia warranty and you could be looking at one of the more ideal hatch or sedan models on sale.
Website Pros Cons Notable quote
Car Advice
  • Unshakable handling
  • Value for money
  • Standard fitments
  • Spacious cabin
  • Suspension firm around town
  • Auto gets lost in urban environments
  • Synthesised engine tone
"It's been a while coming, but the new Cerato GT hatch ticks the boxes Kia couldn't previously."
CarsGuide
  • Near untouchable pricing
  • Practicality
  • Extended warranty
  • GT could be more hardcore
  • Steering sensation
"To me, the Sport Plus is the sweet spot in the range. The leather seats, dual-zone climate control with rear air vents, proximity key and heated seats clinch it."
WhichCar
  • Comfy
  • Good to drive
  • AEB across range
  • GT version is ace
  • Non-GT engines are sedate
  • Fuel economy decrease over last generation
"The Cerato GT the most impressive version, given its considerably superior performance and handling, sizable list of standard equipment and more upmarket presentation courtesy of leather upholstery."
Motoring
  • Price
  • Spec sheet
  • Ride and handling
  • GT faux engine noise
  • Not a full-size spare
"Impressive driving dynamics, good equipment levels and value for money round out the new Cerato."

Engine and performance

Kia fits either a 2.0-litre or 1.6-litre petrol into the Cerato.

Kia 2.0-litre MPI Petrol

This engine is available in S, Sport and Sport + models. It's also sold connected to a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmission. The powerplant produces 112kW at a rather revvy 6,200rpm. Peak torque of 192Nm arrives at 4,000rpm.

Kia 1.6-litre T-GDI Petrol

This smaller petrol four-pot is more powerful and torquey than the 2.0L Kia sells. It's good for 150kW @ 6,000rpm and a gutsy 265Nm between 1,500Nm and 4,500Nm. The T-GDI is only fitted in the GT model variant.

Kia gearboxes

Kia gives buyers the choice of a six-speed manual, automatic or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic for the GT.

Car reviewers' impressions of the Kia Cerato engine and transmission line-up

According to car reviewers, the 2.0-litre is a good engine, but it won't blow anyone's socks off. Journalists said it's an eager powerplant, just a little uninspiring. Perhaps some wished for a turbocharger to kick things up a notch. Apparently, it's a plodder of an engine and if you really squeeze the throttle it starts to remonstrate audibly. One tester summed it up nicely when they said it was perfectly fine for pootling around the suburbs or down to the shops.

The 1.6-litre petrol is transformative, so say motoring journalists. This powerplant evidently has plenty of energy and is quick to build speed. Journos found the motor, only bolted into GT Ceratos, to be a lot more fun to drive and even more fuel-efficient. Unsurprisingly, it was their favoured powertrain, even though one or two spotted it tended to be a touch hesitant.

Some buyers will be pleased they can purchase a manual Cerato in every grade apart from the GT model. For everyone else, the automatics apparently are solid gearboxes that'll add to the driving experience rather than detract from it. The basic six-speed auto that lies in the transmission tunnel of all non-GT Ceratos is outwardly purposeful and responsive. The GT has a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and testers felt it was quick-shifting, but experienced it would occasionally get a little confused in towns where you were changing speed and throttle input a lot.

Kia Cerato engine and transmission statistics

Kia 2.0-litre MPI Petrol Kia 1.6-litre T-GDI Petrol
Engine type Double Overhead Cam, Multi-point fuel injection, 16 valve Double Overhead Cam, turbo gasoline direct injection, 16 valve
Drivetrain FWD FWD
Engine size/displacement 1,999cc 1,591cc
Fuel type Petrol (91 Ron) Petrol (91 Ron)
Cylinders Four inline Four inline
Fuel tank capacity
50 litres
Max power 112kW at 6,200rpm 150kW at 6,000rpm
Max torque 192Nm at 4,000rpm 265Nm at 1,500–4,500rpm
Fuel consumption (combined) 7.4L/100km (manual) 6.8L/100km (auto
Acceleration (0–100km/h) N/A N/A
Emissions standard
Euro 5
Top speed (km/h) N/A 215km/h
Security
Engine immobiliser
Transmission
Six-speed manual or automatic gearbox. Seven-speed dual-clutch for GT model.
Towing capacity (unbraked/braked)
610kg/1,200kg (Some 1,100kg)

Kia Cerato fuel economy

Kia publishes full fuel economy information in its brochure for the Cerato.

2.0-litre MPI Petrol

For manual 2.0-litre endowed models, fuel usage is listed as the following:

  • Combined: 7.4L/100km (hatch), 7.6L/100km (sedan)
  • Urban: 10L/100km (hatch), 10.5L/100km (sedan)
  • Extra-urban: 5.9L/100km

Automatic 2.0-litre Ceratos use a claimed:

  • Combined: 7.4L/100km
  • Urban: 10.2L/100km
  • Extra-urban: 5.7L/100km
  • 1.6-litre T-GDI Petrol

The more powerful 1.6-litre petrol isn't as heavy a fuel user:

  • Combined: 6.8L/100km
  • Urban: 8.9L/100km
  • Extra-urban: 5.5L/100km
Be aware of fuel economy claims
Kia points out in the Cerato brochure that because fuel consumption figures are a result of an ADR 81/02 test. This procedure is strictly mandated and as a result of the controlled conditions, it isn't always indicative of real-world fuel economy usage. Consequently, you should use the brochure figures as a way of comparing different models and manufacturers.

How much fuel did the Cerato testers use? A few outlets saw a 1.0-litre difference against the fuel usage claims. Another tester managed to achieve the brochure numbers. This isn't anything out of the ordinary and happens with most cars on review. How quickly a journalist drives, how worn in the vehicle's engine is and weather or traffic conditions all impact on fuel burn.

Handling

The standard suspension set-up for the Cerato is a MacPherson strut at the front and torsion bar axle at the rear. Basically, that means it uses a conventional configuration that will work across plenty of driving conditions. The GT though has a multi-link damping set-up, giving it a little more handling intent. As a result, it was decided that if you're not bothered for a near hot-hatch-like handler, you'll be perfectly happy with an S, Sport or Sport + Cerato. That would cover the mass market in practice. One critic described the steering as kind of notchy, but no one else mentioned this. The rest unanimously agreed the steering was responsive and exact.

Motoring journalists tend to be quite critical. So when we read that they thought the Cerato GT was perhaps the best-driving Kia outright, we had to sit up and listen. As a more performance-oriented model, it does have firmer riding suspension, which might be a turn-off for some potential owners.

Kia engineers carried out a localisation program here in Australia, tweaking the Cerato in key areas to better suit domestic roads.

Interior and features

A bad or even mediocre interior will really hurt a car's chances of being positively reviewed. After all, this is the place where a driver is going to spend the majority of their time with their vehicle. Journos said it was remarkably spacious, something they hadn't expected. The car's interior designers have reputedly taken quite a reserved approach, meaning it's not massively cutting-edge or bold in any way.

In terms of the ease of use, one journalist said the infotainment system was very natural, with a clear and defined layout. They described the interface as logical. The levels of equipment are pretty impressive. A standard Cerato gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a larger-than-average 8.0-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, AC and 16-inch alloys, in addition to a well-stocked passive and active suite of safety assists. Generally, the cabin has an upmarket aura.

It's good to know the passenger compartment is practical too, with lots of general storage pockets and more specialised cup and bottle holders. The hatchback boot will gobble up a solid 428 litres (the sedan takes 502), meaning the Cerato should deal with a small family's belongings reasonably well.

It also transpires that the standard Cerato is comfortable too, though journalists did really enjoy the extra contours and padding of the GT sports seats.

One thing to be aware of though, despite all Ceratos having a widespread selection of safety features, S and Sport models are not given the full 5-star ANCAP rating that the Sport+ and GT variants get. Instead, they've been slapped with a 4-star rating, due to the lack of autonomous emergency braking. The option safety pack does unlock this, but it'll cost you an extra $1,500.

Kia Cerato safety and driver assists

S Sport Sport + GT
ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution
ESC (Electronic Stability Control)
Vehicle Stability Management
Hill-start Assist Control
Emergency Stop Signal
Seatbelt warning chime and light on all seats
Front and rear parking sensors (with dash display)
Reverse camera with dynamic guidelines and audio display
Electrochromic rearview mirror (auto-dimming) ✖️ ✖️
Blind Spot Detection Option Option
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert Option Option
Lane Keep Assist
Driver Attention Alert
Autonomous Emergency Braking and Forward Collision Warning System – car avoidance
Autonomous Emergency Braking and Forward Collision Warning System – pedestrian and cyclist detection Option Option
Speed limiter
Halogen Daytime Running Lights ✖️ ✖️
LED Daytime Running Lights ✖️ ✖️
LED headlights with LED rear combo lamp ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Dusk-sensing automatic headlights
Rear fog light
Door open warning on driver display
Speed-sensing auto door lock
Child restraint (three anchors with two ISOFIX points)
Airbags:
  • Driver and front passenger SRS airbags
  • Front side SRS airbags
  • Curtain SRS airbags
Anti-theft immobiliser
Burglar alarm with security indicator
Headlight escort function
Tyre Pressure Monitoring System

Kia Cerato interior and comfort features

S Sport Sport + GT
Cloth seat trim ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Cloth trim (Sport pattern) ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Leather-appointed seats ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Sport leather-appointed seats ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Six-way driver's seat including height adjustment ✖️
Eight-way power driver's seat with two-way lumbar support ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
IMS driver's seat with two seating position memory and easy access function ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Front centre console armrest ✖️ ✖️
Front centre console armrest sliding function ✖️ ✖️
Split-fold rear seats (60:40)
Rear centre armrest
Height-adjustable headrests
Headrests with height adjustment and tilt function (front seats) ✖️
Cruise control with steering-wheel-mounted controls ✖️ ✖️
Smart Cruise Control (Autos only) Option Option
Premium steering wheel and shift knob Option ✖️
Flat-bottom perforated leather sports steering wheel ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
3.5-inch TFT instrument cluster ✖️
4.2-inch LCD instrument cluster ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Multi-function trip computer
Power windows (front and rear)
Alloy sports pedals ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Satin silver interior door handles ✖️
Brushed silver interior door handles ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Soft-touch door trim material (front) ✖️ ✖️
Rear window defroster
Wireless phone charging ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
1 x 12V power socket
2 x USB chargers
Manual air conditioning ✖️ ✖️
Dual-zone climate control air conditioning ✖️ ✖️
Auto defog system ✖️ ✖️
Rear air vents ✖️ ✖️
Ventilated front seats ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Heated front seats ✖️ ✖️
MP3 compatible audio player with DAB
Eight-inch touchscreen
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – with voice recognition
Six speakers ✖️
Eight speakers JBL premium sound system ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Satellite navigation with traffic information ✖️
AUX/USB with iPod compatibility
Bluetooth functionality (phone/media stream)
Steering wheel-mounted audio and Bluetooth buttons
Speed Dependent Volume Control
Boot underfloor storage box Hatch only Hatch only Hatch only Hatch only
Luggage net hooks Hatch only Hatch only Hatch only Hatch only
Drive modes (Comfort, Eco, Smart, Sport) Auto only Auto only Auto only Auto only

Kia Cerato exterior highlights

S Sport Sport + GT
16-inch steel wheels ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
17-inch alloy wheels ✖️ ✖️
18-inch alloy wheels ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Michelin Pilot Sport 4 ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Rear torsion beam axle ✖️
Multi-link suspension ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Temporary spare wheel
Sports tuned suspension and steering ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
GT body kit ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
High gloss outside door mirrors ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Power heated door mirrors
Folding door mirrors Option Option
Mirror mounted indicators
Smart boot ✖️ ✖️ Sedan only Sedan only
Dual exhaust ✖️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Chrome tip exhaust
Aero blade front wipers ✖️
Front wiper and washer (variable intermittent/two-speed)
Rear wiper and washer (two-speed) Hatch only Hatch only Hatch only Hatch only

Verdict

The Kia Cerato is best categorised as above average. Kia has managed to execute everything to a very good standard, outdoing many of its own competitors. It's a great-looking car, boasts a very long list of features even in standard form, lots of safety inclusions and a seven-year warranty period. Not to mention, it's very keenly priced.

However, the 2.0-litre engine underwhelmed reviewers and the 4-star ANCAP rating on lower grade S and Sport models could be a deal-breaker for some buyers. Still, it's a good car and one that you should definitely check out if you're after a hatch or small sedan style car.

By comparing Kia Cerato loans, you could save hundreds of dollars!

Compare some options to finance a Kia Cerato

Updated September 18th, 2019
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Pictures: Kia

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