2019 Kia Cerato Review
The comprehensive Kia Cerato review
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What's in this guide?
|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|
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How does the Kia Cerato compare with its peers?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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.
OverviewA 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.
|Car Advice||"It's been a while coming, but the new Cerato GT hatch ticks the boxes Kia couldn't previously."|
|CarsGuide||"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||"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||"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 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|
|Fuel type||Petrol (91 Ron)||Petrol (91 Ron)|
|Cylinders||Four inline||Four inline|
|Fuel tank capacity|
|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|
|Top speed (km/h)||N/A||215km/h|
|Towing capacity (unbraked/braked)|
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
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.
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
|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||✔||✔|
|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)||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Burglar alarm with security indicator||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Headlight escort function||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Tyre Pressure Monitoring System||✔||✔||✔||✔|
Kia Cerato interior and comfort features
|Cloth seat trim||✔||✖️||✖️||✖️|
|Cloth trim (Sport pattern)||✖️||✔||✖️||✖️|
|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||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|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||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – with voice recognition||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|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
|16-inch steel wheels||✔||✖️||✖️||✖️|
|17-inch alloy wheels||✖️||✔||✔||✖️|
|18-inch alloy wheels||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Michelin Pilot Sport 4||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Rear torsion beam axle||✔||✔||✔||✖️|
|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|
|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|
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.
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