• Pleasing performance; improved fit & finish; spacious & comfortable
  • Four speed auto; steering wheel size & feel; dated instrument cluster

5 / 10

2009 Kia Cerato Review & Road Test
2009 Kia Cerato Review & Road Test
by Matt Brogan

Kia Cerato Review & Road Test

A to B cars usually aren’t this good

Model Tested:

  • 2009 Kia Cerato S 2.0-litre automatic sedan – $20,990 (RRP)


  • Option Pack – ESP, traction conrol, cruise control and remote audio – $1000; Metallic Paint $300 (Fitted – Santorini Blue)

CarAdvice Rating:

It has been my experience that most people baulk at the idea of owning a Kia, though I’m not quite sure why, for as I found out this week the all-new Kia Cerato is a solid contender when it comes to shopping the small/mid-sized sedan market.

Traditionally style and Kia aren’t two words usually synonymous with one another, unless “lack thereof” is somewhere in between, but the 2009 Kia Cerato has changed all that.

Clean, flowing angular lines, high shoulders and a more purposefully modern perspective have made this car an attractive and well proportioned vehicle seemingly no matter the angle from which it is viewed from.

2009 Kia Cerato Review & Road Test
2009 Kia Cerato Review & Road Test
2009 Kia Cerato Review & Road Test
2009 Kia Cerato Review & Road Test

Inside too a blend of colour and materials lifts the ambiance for a more bright and airy feel, complimenting the sense of available space nicely.

Layout, although rather simple, is very practical and almost elegant, though personally the large urethane steering wheel and instrument cluster design do tend to cheapen an otherwise pleasing decor.

Red and white back lighting makes night vision sharp and easy, with all information from the dated-looking instrument cluster easily read at a brief glance. The centre stack, clock and audio control buttons are uniformly illuminated in red. Additionally the multi-reflector halogen headlamps provide an excellent field of vision on country roads.

At the heart of the all-new Kia Cerato is Kia’s 2.0-litre, DOHC, Theta II engine, which provides class-leading power, 115kW at 6200rpm, and adequate torque, 194Nm at 4300rpm, for just about any situation.

The engine loves to rev and is free flowing, offering a linear spread of power delivery across the entire rev range. Consequently the car feels quicker zero to 100km/h than the claimed 10.5 seconds and manages excellent performance both around town and on the open road.

Unfortunately there is one slight let down in this equation, and that’s the automatic transmission.

Coupled to a somewhat antiquated four-speed unit, the Kia Cerato suffers from being disallowed a ratio between third and  the upper limit of fourth, the result of which is a large gap that leads to over zealous kick-down under even slight throttle input.

This calibration issue does not pose any great bearing on the car’s overall performance, and the tall fourth ratio certainly improves Cerato’s fuel economy, but for the sake of a smooth transition both when up and down shifting, the six-speed unit currently in development will make what is already a very good car great.

Otherwise Cerato is surprisingly smooth to drive and the longer wheelbase, compared to the previous model, certainly helps to iron out bumps. Handling levels are fluid and capable while highway cruising is both comfortable and quiet – on all but the roughest coarse chip asphalt.

If you really get enthusiastic the front-wheel-drive’s tendency to understeer will become apparent, but as this is an issue confined to sudden high-speed cornering, it is not something I should imagine too many Cerato owners experiencing.

Kia utilises a strut front/torsion beam rear suspension arrangement under the Cerato, and despite some competitors offering a more modern multi-link rear end, this is one car that actually manages to make the most of its more basic set-up, and it’s this smooth ride that enhances what is already a comfortable and generously proportioned cabin.

Seating is well cushioned and very supportive with the associated adjustment from both the seat and the tilt/slide steering column being well thought out. In turn an enjoyable driving position has been created that, coupled with well placed primary and auxiliary controls, makes the whole driving experience a far more rewarding than the bargain price tag would have you believe.

Rear seat passengers too are afforded comfortable seating and generous leg-room – as well as excellent visibility – which makes long distance travel more enjoyable, especially if your little ones are prone to car sickness.

As far as the specification list in concerned Cerato S features cloth trim, manual air-conditioning, MP3 compatible CD tuner with iPod interface, power windows and mirrors, remote central locking with panic alarm and can also be fitted with optional cruise control.

I’d be rather inclined to tick the cruise control box as Kia Cerato can tend to roll over the speed limit with very little fuss. Similarly I’d also opt for reverse parking sensors as shorter drivers may find the higher rear window a little bit of a hindrance when backing up.

Safety equipment is surprising in standard form with dual front, side and curtain airbags included in the list price. ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution is also on the included check list though you will have to find an extra $1000 to have the peace of mind of ESP(coupled with traction control, cruise control and remote audio controls), which in my opinion is well worth the additional outlay.

Cargo capacity is a generous 415 litres, and with the added benefit of one-touch 60:40 split fold rear seats, this can be increased two-fold from inside the boot area meaning no more awkward jumping in and out of the back seat. Kia Cerato can also tow up to 1200kg, braked.

So if you manage to set aside what ever brand bias you might have, and a small/mid-sized sedan is on your shopping list, then jump into a Cerato and take it for a test drive. I’m sure that just like me you’ll come to the same conclusion: A to B cars usually aren’t this good.

It’s a pleasant drive, is good on fuel and has adequate power for just about any situation. What’s more it’s roomy, comfortable, quiet, well built and, most of all, affordable, making the new Cerato pretty hard to pass up.

CarAdvice Overall Rating:
How does it Drive:
How does it Look:
How does it Go:

Kia Cerato Specifications:

  • Engine: 1975cc DOHC four cylinder (16-valve)
  • Power: 115kW @ 6200rpm
  • Torque: 194Nm @ 4300rpm
  • Induction: Multi Point
  • Transmission: Four-speed automatic
  • Driven Wheels: Front
  • Suspension: Strut(F)/Torsion Beam(R)
  • Brakes: Discs with ABS & EBD
  • Top Speed: 190km/h
  • 0-100km/h: 10.5 seconds
  • CO2 Emissions: 187g/km (Combined)
  • Fuel Consumption: 7.9 litres/100km (ADR)
  • Fuel Consumption: 8.3 litres/100km (As Tested)
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 52 litres
  • Fuel Type: 91RON petrol
  • ANCAP Rating: Not yet tested
  • Airbags: Dual front, side & curtain
  • Safety: ESP & Traction Control (Optional)
  • Spare Wheel: Full-size steel
  • Cargo Capacity: 415 litres
  • Tow Capacity: 1200kg (Braked)
  • Turning Circle: 10.3 metres
  • Warranty: Five Year/Unlimited Kilometre
  • Weight: 1359kg
  • Wheels: Steel 15 x 6.0-inch

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2009 Kia Cerato Review & Road Test
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  • ZoomZoom

    As much as I like the look of this car, 115kw and 194Nm is hardly “class-leading power”.

    • Maz

      are you serious??? what are you puffing??? name a car @ 19990 that has same power and standard… you are lame.. try harder and do some research

      • Ken

        Actually Maz, The Cerato S is now selling at $18,990 drive away – Better Still.
        Cerato SI is $19,990 and SLI at $23,190 drive away

    • Geordie Wood94

      I drove a Kia Cerato S and I must admit I have never driven a small car with so much power! It goes like the Clappers! :) It is so nice to drive in and even though I am a Holden fan, I am considering buying one of these.

  • o

    actually it is takeaway vrx and sp23

    • Maz

      vrx is 113kw… hahaha as for the sp23 is 34grand… ummm xr6 thanks

  • Grammar Nazi

    Going to throw a bone out there – put on some rims and a spoiler, and this looks far better than the new WRX sedan…

  • HAL

    ^ couldn’t agree more, Grammar Nazi.

  • HAL

    sorry, meant to add that although i agree the outside is quite attractive, the dash design/layout is diabolical (always wanted to use that word, thanks Kia).

  • vafangulo

    Just a bit to much coin, its *proper* well established car money for around that.

    Needs to drop around $3k and safety pack thrown in, very price sensative and dont see any issue with class leaders CorollaMazda3 et’al continuing its steam roll of the catagory



  • geni

    My only real issue I can see is the price. $20990 RRP (sans onroads) puts it in the same price bracket as the Focus sedan, which has a better interior, independent rear suspension, bigger boot, slightly faster (if that matters) and generally much better driving dynamics. Yes, the Cerato is a good A-B car, but the issue is there are better value cars in its market segment, so on value, the only real metric Kia’s usually excel in, the Cerato is lacking.

    • Maz

      i really think you need to get out of that crevice you dug into the recliner that is in your mums garage, get off your computer and drive both cars… the South african focus, seems attractive… its not! really poor fit and finish, looks like it was built in 3 seperate plants, average performance.. but the Cerato is awesome! showcar fit and finish, amazing duco.. (metal bronze for me) gorgeous handling… 12/10… this is a car that does blow the doors off a 30k falcadore… i know.. 12 months ago i purchased this car. after getting out of my c350 i bought a cheaper car so i dont clock up the kays.. Wow do i have fun… so please… try this car out.. you will definatly be amazed

  • Neutral

    Ford Ranger, your statement about engines blowing up might be true 10 years ago, but I’m afraid it’s the opposite now.

    Are you comparing the 300kw XR6 Turbo with this little KIA? Pick something from Ford in the same price range and you won’t even get one with a 2.0 litre engine under the bonnet.

    • Maz

      Theta II engine, as supplied in the Cerato….

      It features hollow stainless-steel DOHC with powder-metal cam lobes, pent-roof combustion chamber and shimless bucket tappets in the cylinder head. BorgWarner Morse TEC supplies the complete timing system which uses the company’s proprietary silent timing chains. Continuously variable valve timing (CVVT) works on the intake side. The aluminum alloy engine block, which is formed using a high-pressure die-cast method, has a unique Metaldyne-supplied cassette-type balance shaft module with a two-stage oil pump built-in. In the lower-end, the block is reinforced by a ladder frame. Other notable features include fracture-split sinter-forged connecting rods and a stainless-steel exhaust manifold. Theta’s EMS (engine management system) software is EMS-II from Siemens VDO and the 32-bit PCM (Powertrain Control Module) calculates the amount of intake air by utilizing a contamination-proof hot-film type MAF (mass air flow) sensor. oh and teflon coated pistons… In the 2011, this engine will have Gasoline Direct Injection and produce between 150 and 252 N·m of torque. and very soon, 6 speed auto.. hmmmm…

  • http://skyline The Salesman

    CA, great report. Any news on a long term review?
    Zoom Zoom.
    Can you think of another auto 2.0 for the same price and offers all that Kia has in the Cerato with five years warranty?, their is nothing else in the same “class”? Kia did the research, its not a mistake they offer more than the competitors.
    Ford Ranger
    Correct, Cerato is a budget buy. Kia is offering more for less. Isn’t that what competition is all about?
    Have you looked inside a Focus? Bare plastic and painted mettle is not class leading. Check the specifications, Kia offers far more for the same price.

  • ZoomZoom

    The Salesman: That would put the Cerato in a class of its own then wouldn’t you say. If there isn’t any competitors then of course it would be class leading. Clearly though it isn’t, it competes in the small car segment and that means the VRX and SP23 are also up for consideration (both of which offer more power and yes i know they aren’t 2.0 engines but then again a 2.0 focus, mazda 3 and Honda civic can achieve a better 0-100 time then of 10.5 secs).
    I was only refering to the power side of things and not value for money. Clearly the Cerato is a great bargain full of all the options and at he same time looks nice IMO.

  • HAL

    The Salesman, it really irritates me when car companies offer, “it’s got a 5yr warranty” as a reason for consumers to choose their product. It’s a complete nonsense issue that would only ever be a factor should you be comparing 2 virtually identical offerings from different manufacturers, i.e. it may be the clincher of you choosing one over the other. It’s not a ‘selling point’ in it’s own right, and as a consumer that just cries out to me that I’m considering a product from a company that has a poor image in terms of reliability. Now, don’t get fired up – I’m not saying that the Cerato is unreliable or anything else from Kia for that matter, as I simply don’t have any first hand experience with them. It’s just that Kia knows that the public rightly or wrongly ‘perceives’ Korean made as an inferior product, and the extended warranty is simply a device to allay those concerns. When you start banging on about the warranty from the get go, it says to me that there’s not many other selling points to your product over the next.

  • http://skyline The Salesman

    Cerato 114.7Kw and 194nM.
    Ford Focus 107kW and 185nM
    Mazda 3 108Kw and 182nM
    Honda Civic 103Kw and 174nM
    SP23 115kW and 203nM

  • http://skyline The Salesman

    Did you read the article? CA has given a review that doesn’t mention warranty. And the car gets four out of five as an overall rating, hardly a bad review. My question is if the other cars are so good, why are they not willing to offer a better warranty. Are their customers not just as important as ours?

  • HAL

    I read the article, I was referring to your comment to Zoom Zoom, where you mentioned the 5 yr warranty. And I know from our past discussions that you are a salesman for a Korean car manufacturer, presumably Kia :-) So please read my comment – I was referring to the fact that although Kia/Hyundai are making good ground in convincing people they make a competitive and reliable product, they are still keenly aware of this ‘perception’ of the majority they have yet to convince.

    When looking for a new car, the warranty is one of the last things I consider because I’m looking at style/design, performance, fuel efficiency, quality of build etc. And like my other comment above, although I’m happy to agree that the exterior of the Cerato is a step in the right direction, the interior design is somehting I would baulk at immediately. Hence, the warranty wouldn’t even come into for me.

  • http://skyline The Salesman

    I have been with Kia for 10 years. It really irritates me when people post opinions based on fiction. Let me help you learn something today:)In the last two years alone Hyundai – Kia have gone from ninth highest car manufacturer in the world to the fifth. Just behind Ford, VW, GM and Toyota. And in front of Honda, Nissan, Chrysler, Etc. No other car manufacture has ever achieved that. I would have to guess that success is based on more than just warranty. What majority are you referring to? Just about every customer I deal with has only good reports on Kia, most are trading in a Kia on a Kia, or have spoken to other Kia owners before I see them in the showroom. In fact Kia now has an 82% retention rate in Australia and NZ. Only Toyota can boast a similar number and that’s why they consider the Koreans to be their biggest threat in the market.

  • Deano

    Ford Ranger…”I will keep buying Fords because I know what I’m getting and don’t have to worry about any engines blowing up”…Tell that to my father who bought a new Falcon who’s transmission was stuffed from Day 1 and Ford refused to acknowledge it or to my mate who had to have his GT’s engine replaced after 30000kms.

    The fact is that the Koreans have improved and will continue to improve their cars. Just brings more choice to the buyer. Always a good thing. Nice review CA.

  • HAL

    Salesman, well, let’s start with the majority on this webiste. Most bloggers don’t seem to trust Kia based on their replies – although, a lot, such as myself, are happy to concede that the Korean manufacturers seem to be getting their act together from a design, reliability, choice perspective, and are making good ground. But how many ‘private’ sales does that convert into – even within the regulars on this website? I’m not talking about fleet/govt/rental company sales. I’m not going to sit here and argue with you over how much progress they have made from a reliability persepctive, because even blind freddy can see they have improved – but you’d have to agree they couldn’t have gotten much worse than they were in the early to mid nineties? Hyundai Excel anyone? And they are only getting better in the budget class offerings. How many top of the line sports or luxury Kia’s do you sell? I’d bet it’s a damn sight less than the corresponding offerings of Subaru/Honda/Mazda/and the Euros.

    What really annoys me is that they can make a car as handsome and ‘almost there’ as the Cerato, and then put that God-awful interior in it. I know it’s a perception thing but it’s hardly class-leading, regardless of what your prejudices are telling you to believe.

    Tell me, how far away is a top of the range, sports Cerato, with a turbo engine, maybe AWD, and performance and quality levels on a par with a VW/Mazda/Audi? That’s my point – until they get fair dinkum and stop relying on cheap, short life span, budget vehicles to pump up their sales volumes at the bottom end of the market, then they won’t be taken seriously. When they offer a car that makes you think, “well, I just gotta have me one of those”, then we will know Kia and/or Hyundai have arrived, and I bet at that point the length of the warranty won’t even be a talking point.

    • Maz

      “on a par with a VW/Mazda/Audi? ” ahahahahahahah

      you just named the 3 most expensive and two mighty unreliable cars… look at 10yo audi and vw… rubbish

  • Sam

    I dont think it is fair that people criticise CA for giving this car a good review. All indicators point the fact that this IS a good car. CA didn’t fall over themselves with praise though did they. Shitty steering wheel, average tranny and dates instrument cluster are all complained about. CA quite correctly states that, basucally, these quibbles aside, this is probably a ripper of a car. Hyundai/Kia have been desparate to improve the quality of their cars to be on par with those of the Market Leaders. Why should we be surprised if they succeed? I’ll be the first o admit, they are getting there more quickly than most of us would ever have guessed. Kia AND Hyundai will be on my list when I finally part with my Corolla but 2 years ago I wouldn’t have even considered it.

  • Let’s get real

    ZoomZoom: Correct me if I am wrong, but when you say “VRX” and “SP23″, are you talking about the $33k Mitsubishi Lancer “VRX” and $33k Mazda 3 “SP23″ ???
    Are we comparing a $20k car against $33k cars?

  • http://skyline The Salesman

    I am not arguing. I have a passion for the product and i try where i can to transfer my feelings on Kia. Kia is known as the cheap and cheerful little Korean who offers a budget car for a budget price. Most bloggers here might not have driven what Kia and Hyundai have to offer lately, I can tell you the Cerato does drive like any other European and when customers realize this, VW, Audi etc will have a hard time justifying their prices. and its not just me saying that, look up the reviews Cerato is getting. Kia do have a turbo AWD called a Ceed. Go to Kiaworld.com and check it out.

  • Dan

    Lol, Let’s Get Real, that is not as ridiculous for ZoomZoom as when he compared a 20K base Mazda 3 against an 80K Lexus. The junior has no idea…

  • HAL

    Salesman, fair enough. The Cee’d looks OK, why isn’t here yet, or hasn’t it been released yet? The fact it will be built in their production plant in Slovakia is a worry, wouldn’t you think? This is a country that when I was there in 2006 had shocking infrastructure and was well and truly behind the Czech Republic in everything, well and truly an old eastern bloc country that’s playing catch up with the rest of Europe. Hell, it relies on Russia for heating gas supplies!

    Anyway, good luck to Kia and Hyundai – the more successful they become, the more choice the consumers have.

  • http://skyline The Salesman

    Yes it is made in Slova(kia) :) And it is Europe’s number one selling car. Wont come to Australia, too expensive to get it here and you can buy the same car with a Hyundai badge.

  • Tony

    the Ceed will most likely never come here or to America simply because there’s no way they can be competitive paying for economy cars with the Euro exchange.

    I also generally had doubts about factories set up in poor Eastern European and 3rd world places like Thailand and even China (yes China would be classified like that… do you want to drive a Chinese car?).

    Yet companies like Intel are about to set up billion dollar fabs in places like the Phillipines and Costa Rica… that just shows that if you have billions of dollars and some decent management you can turn potato farmers into car builders.

    Put this this way, the VE Commodore such as it is, is largely made up of Chinese components.

    The Ceed is also winning awards just like the Hyundai i30 here which is no surprise since they are twins.

    One last thing I will say… you can judge the quality of a site by its readership. Now obviously the standard here isn’t very high but that’s a reflection of the immature Australian car market.

    The only bad thing about the Cerato is that it’s a KIA and all that the ownership of such a car implies. And the 4 spd auto I suppose.

    One might ask what kind of company does Hyundai/Kia wish to imitate? The likes of GM/Ford/Chrysler and say Honda/Toyota/Mazda who are all losing money and/or asking for bailouts? Or actually making money and sales in this climate?

  • Yianni

    ZoomZoom Says:
    February 18th, 2009 at 7:02 am

    As much as I like the look of this car, 115kw and 194Nm is hardly “class-leading power”.

    ZoomZoom, why not do some research before making such silly comments? The Cerato engine is the most powerful 2.0litre in its class.

    I can’t believe how many negative comments are on here about this car.

    To get a few things straight for all the haters out there.

    This has the most powerful engine in its class.

    This is one of the cheapest cars in its class.

    This car has the best warranty of any car in its class.

    Whether or not someone thinks that a similar specd Civic or Corolla is worth $5000 more is up to them.

    KIA and Hyundai are coming whether some of you like it or not… in 5-10 years they will probably be as good or even better than their Japanese/European rivals.

    Does anyone remember how bad Japanese cars were in the 70’s 80’s?

  • HAL

    Yes Yianni, I was waiting for someone to pull out the, “do you remember the Japanese cars of the 70’s” comment. The difference being that Honda/Mazda/Nissan all started making cars that were top of the class for design, engineering, quality and performance and DESIRABILITY – that’s what changed the public perception of them once and for all. They didn’t hang about in the budget class share of the market trying to build a car as cheaply as possible, without striving to make the best car possible.

    True, times have changed and as someone has said, with the global economic crisis upon us I’d rather be in kia or Hyundai’s position than say GM or Ford right now.

    I can’t speak for the other people on here bagging Kia today, but I’m really not bagging the Cerato other than to say I don’t like the interior (by the way, I would apply the same level of critique to a BMW or Honda if I didn’t like those). I’m simply stating that I think they need to strive for offering a whole lot more than ‘average’. That would let them shirk their poor 2nd cousin image once and for all. Salesman said it himself, they finally get an AWD, turbo car that looks alright, and then they don’t bring it here – THAT is why they have such a ‘povo’ image, because we get cheap, disposable, average cars. Look at what cars Holden have decided to go with – old style, hand me down, out-of-date Daewoos (the Epica is just an abomination of car, sorry). And then look at how their sales are going.

    So spare me the “Kia and Hyundai are really making good cars now, and should be considered in the same league as the Japanese and European cars”, because they simply are overwhelmingly inferior in the DESIRABILITY stakes.

  • Tony

    hey btw. the US has an option for a 5 spd auto:

    Among optional trim levels, buyers will also be able to opt for the Forte with a Fuel Economy Package, which includes the 2.0-liter powerplant, five-speed automatic transmission, low-rolling resistance tires and electric motor driven power steering. Together with some additional aerodynamic improvements, these enhancements result in a class-leading combined fuel economy of 36 mpg (highway)!

    is this a possibility here? that would shut up the competition who are also saddled with 4 spd auto crap boxes

  • Tony

    Have you ever possibly thought that this is the best that Hyundai and Kia can deliver for this amount of money with their resources in our tiny little market?

    Put it this way, I cannot expect anyone to deliver this standard of vehicle for this amount of money… tell me where I can get a car with the features in a Cerato SLi for $22,990?

    I personally find the interior to be meh but not worse than others.

    I personally find the exterior to be conservative to a fault but I prefer that the mess that is the Mazda 3 and the overly cute styling of other small cars especially Hondas.

  • HAL

    Tony, exactly right. This is probably the best that can be done for the money. And underlines my point to the others in earlier posts that the Korean car makers are’nt going to get a better reputation by constantly applying so much energy to this segment. Start focussing on sports and luxury offerings, and become the best on offer. Then they will lose the ‘inferior’ tag once and for all.

    No doubt the Derato is a great car for the money, and I also think the interior of the Mazda 2 is a tragedy. Again, you can’t do that much for $20K these days it would seem.

  • Adam


    Looks like a beaut car. I saw one in town just now, and the interior does not look as bad as the pictures, quite livable for the price. I need a little run around for work. Which dealership are you located in Salesman, will contact you for a quote. Please email me your details so I can give you a call: I can be emailed at adam.j.easter@nab.com.au

  • Adam

    PS: a great looking vehicle in the metal

  • Dan

    “ZoomZoom, why not do some research before making such silly comments?”

    He’s a 16 year old boy who just got his license. I blame lack of experience for his silly comments.

    It will be a loooong while before the koreans are considered anywhere near the japanese and european counterparts. They are still considered to be a budget brand, making budget cars, for the price conscious market. There is nothing desirable in there, other than providing the ability to get from a to b. Anyone who thinks otherwise, wake up and smell the roses. Yes they are improving, but when you are on the bottom, you can only go up right? And consider this, while the koreans are improving, don’t for once think that the japs and euro’s will be standing still.

  • Yianni

    HAL Says:
    February 18th, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    “They didn’t hang about in the budget class share of the market trying to build a car as cheaply as possible, without striving to make the best car possible.”

    I disagree with that. Just because they’ve made a few expensive models it doesn’t mean they’re not making cheap cars.

    The Japanese are still competing in the budget market with their Mazda 2’s, Honda Jazz’s, Toyota Yaris’s and even smaller cars for the European market as you probably know.

    Most of their sales come from small budget cars.

    Hyundai and KIA seem to be following in their footsteps. They’re still competing in the budget segment but slowing making more expensive cars also to compete in different classes.

    I don’t think their cars are up to Japanese/European standards as yet and this is why they’re priced ~20-25% cheaper but offer great value. I have no doubt in the near future they will be as good or even better.

    Toyota and Honda didn’t get to where they are now overnight either, just remember that. It’s been 20-30 years since they started making those econoboxes in the 70’s.

  • LuciferDarklord

    Salesman, I cant find an AWD C’eed anyware on kiaworld.com Can you post a link to an actual page with details? Another example of a Hyundai / Kia “Hero” car is the Genesis Coupe. 2.0lt Turbo or 3.8 V6 RWD coupe. Check out Rhys Millen’s modified example. Looks the goods
    I hate how he has a kiwi / seppo accent – and calls it a “hoonday” – but he can drive. He needs to go back to NZ for a while to get his accent back

  • Let’s get real

    I know this is a review on “KIA” cerato, but seeing as everyone likes to talk about Hyundai and Kia together as Korean cars, let me introduce some of their offerings overseas and their own local market.

    1. Hyundai Genesis Sedan

    need I say more about this car? has been winning car of the year and praises from motor journalists from all over the world left right and centre. simple google search will reveal all that.

    2. Hyundai Equus (all-new model)



    it will retail at over $140k AUD in korean local market, so who said something about the korean car manufacturers ONLY concentrating on the small car market?

    3. Hyundai Genesis Coupe
    Refer to LuciferDarklord’s post
    It is mighty fine first attempt at Rearwheel drive sports car.

    4. Kia Cee’d hatch
    i30 twins, can’t be a bad thing

    5. Kia Lotze Innovation
    I’ve done a TV commercial for this car and it looks AWESOME both exterior and interior. Sh1ts all over anything from Japan or Europe for the price bracket they are competing in.

    The list goes on, and things will only improve from here on (for us consumers’ sake, lets hope so :)

  • HAL

    Yianni, you need to read my whole comment in context, not just snip a bit out to suit your argument. I don’t agree with you – the Jap brands made the effort across ALL segments is my point, and the confidence they received from the consumer translated down to the ‘econo class’. Ask anyone on the street if they would feel better in a Daewoon matiz or a Toyota Yaris, and I bet they say the Yaris. Does this mean they are right? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s their perception based on the fact that Toyota has built a reputation of building safer, more reliable cars across the whole range of vehicles (rightly or wrongly lol). Hyundai & Kia concentrate on the lower end of the market, hence that is where their reputation will stay until they start getting serious about it, and bring out the good quality and desirable offers in all categories.

    Anyway, I really have spent too much time on this today, gotta get back to work.

    Cool ‘discussion’ Salesman, Yianni and Tony.

    Over & out.

  • HAL

    Let’s Get Real:

    None of those cars are avilable in Australia, so what’s the point of bringing them up?

  • http://skyline The Salesman
  • Let’s get real


    Because the world doesn’t evolve around Australia and our people only…

  • Yianni

    HAL Says:
    February 18th, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Yianni, you need to read my whole comment in context, not just snip a bit out to suit your argument. I don’t agree with you – the Jap brands made the effort across ALL segments is my point, and the confidence they received from the consumer translated down to the ‘econo class’.

    They did? All I remember in their early days are small econoboxes? Maybe they had a larger variety of vehicles in Japan.

    No doubt they make cars across all segments now and pretty much compete in all classes.

    I have no doubt Hyundai/KIA will be doing the same thing in the future though. They’re still very new to the industry when you compare them to other manufacturers.

    I do agree with you, Hyundai/KIA are still concentrating on cheaper cars for now. This could be a plan though to improve sales and make a push for new models/technology for the future.

    As of right now though their cars are cheaper and probably not as good as the competition but they do what they’re supposed to do for the price which obviously appeals to many people looking at their worldwide sales figures.

    Like I said before. A similar specd Japanese car would cost over $5000 more compared to the Cerato so it all depends if a buyer thinks it’s worth it or not right now.

    Good discussion, I agree :)

  • HAL

    Let’s get Real:

    Rubbish – you brought them up as evidence in the argument as to why the Koreans should be taken seriously here in Oz. And if those vehicles are never going to be available here, it’s absolutely ridiculous to bring them up. It’s like saying that a pharmaceutical company developed a cure for cancer in the US, and it’s such a fantastic cure that we should be hailing the company for being at the cutting edge- and then saying that the cure won’t ever be released here, just this cold & flu treatment that is mediocre, but you should judge us on what we’re doing overseas.

    pfft, Get real.

  • http://skyline The Salesman

    Sorry, the Salesman’s identity must remain a secret. Even though some say i can smell a deposit from a mile away, CA is not a catalyst for Kia sales. Now if you will excuse me i have to meet the Stig for coffee.
    (plus it looks like you are not in QLD, so I might be too far away to quote for you)

  • Jojo bLo

    *gets on soapbox*

    I’m a regular reader of this site and this is my first comment post on this site. All i want to say is that I am so sick and tired of reading the comments of the brand loyalists. They keep coming in and comparing/bashing every other review/article of a car that’s not of their favourite brand. Most of these people haven’t even driven a car of another make other and they have no right to make any comment based on a biased judgment and hearsay.

    Overheard at a party the other day, this fat old dude was telling his mate how his HSV Grange (05 model) was the best and most luxurious car he has ever driven and reckons it’s better than a Porsche. WTF? Seriously, I’ve sat and driven one for work before and all I can say that my way cheaper C4 VTS interior feels way more tech and plush than the Grange IMO.

    My point being, these brand loyalists should just STFU if they do not know what they are talking about.

    *gets off soapbox*

    Oh, by the way I think the Cerato is a nice looking piece.

  • http://skyline The Salesman

    Australia simply does not sell enough new cars to make it viable for most manufactures to import all of the products they have.

  • Adam


    I travel a lot for work (will be in SE Qld next week for example), dont care where you are located within reason, if the deal is good enough I will get there.

    If you wish to remain ‘anon’ no probs, I understand your position regarding the site. If you reconsider, I will need a car by MAY 09, you have my email in blue on my last post. Reason i posted about contact is my local dealer (who now looks after KIA too) has not treated me well in the past, so I refuse to buy there.

    Great discussion from those in the industry and know (for people like me who are NOT in the car ‘KNOW’)

  • Dan

    But Australia has one of the highest number of cars per capita in the world, salesman. Are you saying Kia doesn’t sell enough cars here to make it viable to bring all their products in? Lots of people are saying they are taking over the market? I can see some discrepancies in those comments hey.

  • http://skyline The Salesman

    Australian’s buy less new cars than America and Europe. Because we have less people to buy them.
    Yes we have the highest number of cars per capita. That does not mean they are all new cars. If Australia starts selling more than a million cars per year (compared to how many in say, America) then it will be more viable to introduce them here. You know that :)

  • http://skyline The Salesman

    We also have the highest number of mobile phone ownership per capita. That dose not mean we sell more mobile phones in Australia than anywhere else in the world.

  • LuciferDarklord

    Anyone who thinks buying Korean is settling for less quality or reliability, check the survey results. Even the Barina, Viva and Craptiva have less problems per 100 cars than the VE crumpledoor. Hyundai and Kia are always above Ford and Holden (including the Focus) and are always up there with Toyota and Honda.

    Salesman – thanks for the link. Your original one was missing the “-” thats why i couldnt find it. Car looks awesome


  • Tony

    what i do find disappointing is that there’s just 4 dealers in sydney and none are what i would call in ‘central’ locations

    as far as i know, Denlo do not do Kia any more

    so there’s just mascot, blacktown, warwick farm and chullora

    with only 4 dealers there’s not a lot of bargaining or even choice in servicing etc.

  • Geni

    Salesman, sorry but I have seen the Focus interior, and no I’m not a Ford loyalist. But it is better. And as for the power ratings, yes it is more powerful (by around 5%) than its competitors, but it weighs over 100kg more (or around 10%) than its competitors. Obviously you have a vested interest in how Kia’s are perceived, and I will say that Kia’s have improved enormously in the past decade. However, for the average Joe, I don’t think they will see the Cerato as good value, the mentality is still out there that cars from Kia and Hyundai must be cheaper than their Euro/Japanese competitors. It will take many years of producing superior cars for that to change.

  • ZoomZoom

    “Cerato 114.7Kw and 194nM.
    Ford Focus 107kW and 185nM
    Mazda 3 108Kw and 182nM
    Honda Civic 103Kw and 174nM
    SP23 115kW and 203nM”
    I am talking about acceleration times and because the other cars are lighter and thus they can accelerate quicker than the Cerato. I didn’t at no stage say that I didn’t like the Cerato, in fact I find it looks very attractive so to those who say “haters”, your only trying to start an arguement yourself about something you have a strange desire to defend for no bloodly reason.
    Most powerful 2.0 agreed, but not class. BTW I am comparing a 20k car with a 30k car because it just so happens to be in the same class which by no means is a bad thing.

  • http://skyline The Salesman

    About 64 dealers in NSW. Follow the link http://www.kia.com.au/New-South-Wales/default.aspx

  • ZoomZoom

    The Salesman: I take it you know a lot about Kia so I was just wondering if you knew if a high performance Cerato would be coming out. I heard something about a coupe but nothing was confirmed so far.

  • http://skyline The Salesman

    Geni and Zoom Zoom,
    By no means am i argumentative. If you don’t like being challenged than don’t post a comment. Kia’s is very cleverly advertising the Cerato is every bit as good and much cheaper than what’s on offer from the Germans and the Japanese. Are you saying it is impossible that the Koreans are not able to build a better car than VW, Toyota and Ford? Do you need to be reminded of the I30? Obviously i have a vested interest in Hyundai – Kia and i am flattered that you think my post is powerful enough to influence the market, i am sure Hyundai – Kia don’t really need my help though.

  • http://skyline The Salesman

    Zoom Zoom,
    Kia will have the Coupe in November. My guess is it will be similar to the Geniuses? I know the starting price is rumored to be $18,990.00 but i dont know the specs for that price.

  • Tony

    the Focus although an OK car is too old

    i drove one back in 2004 and it wasn’t anything special – and with a new one around the corner you’d be nuts to look at one unless you like driving an old model

    honda civic and mazda 3 are all well up in price and are styling messes

    my question is this: price one of these to the same spec as a SLi Cerato and tell me what the price is… price is important in this category but I suppose 16 y.o. L platers wouldn’t recognise that.

    An example… this car has park sensors, ESP and climate control, 17″ rims… for $22,990

    is climate control even available in this price range in other cars?

  • ZoomZoom

    Salesman:”By no means am i argumentative.”
    Thats great because i was refering to others in my post.
    Thanks 4 the info

  • Dan

    “mazda 3 are all well up in price and are styling messes”

    Careful, calling Mazda 3 ‘ugly’ will upset ZoomZoom :)

    But I agree :)

  • Geni

    Salesman, you need to stop putting words in our mouths and trying to pick a fight when there isn’t one. Both myself and ZZ have never said that Korean cars can’t be as good as Japanese/Euro. Its plain to see that the Koreans are currently doing what the Japanese did in the 70’s-80’s, catching up big time. And they are just about there. My only assertion thus far is that the value on the current Cerato is questionable, given its competitors. Obviously some people assess value differently, but given current sales figures, I’d say most people see its competitors as better value than the Cerato. Which ultimately is what matters.

  • Tony

    here’s my favourite picture of the new mazda 3… the mps i believe:


    i personally could not live with a car that looks like that

    i keep hearing that the competition offers better value. i haven’t seen a lot of evidence to that fact. Please show me where.

    • Another_Person

      lol w-t-f, that’s not an MPS.

      MPS has another air-intake that pops on top of the bonnet.

      please feel free to post once you’re sober

  • ZoomZoom

    Dan, I’m beginning to think that your behaviour is rather pedaphilic and I understand that you still must be cut about purchasing an overpriced Toyota but don’t take it out on everyone else. Try and stay a little on topic as well.
    If not game on B***H!

  • ZoomZoom

    Tony, that picture isn’t an MPS and has absolutely nothing to do with this article.
    “i keep hearing that the competition offers better value. i haven’t seen a lot of evidence to that fact. Please show me where”
    You must be hearing voices in your head because no one is questioning the Cerato’s value.

  • Dan

    ZoomZoom, go back and do your homework junior. Get some real life experience and actually drive other cars before you form an opinion. At the moment you are quite misguided. But that’s ok. You’re only a teenager.

  • Tony

    please read Geni’s and Dan’s posts above

    please do not reply to my posts

    i won’t reply to yours in future

    thank you

  • Neutral

    New car prices apart, we also must not overlook the resale value of the cars in this category. If the Japanese can hold their values better than the Koreans then I don’t see why people would go for the KIA. Let’s face it people, the reason why people buy Korean is because their cheap and at the same time well equipped. But a crap resale value would just send consumers heading back to the Japanese show rooms.

  • Dan

    Of course competition offers better value. Firstly, the fact they wear a better badge is value enough. Kia badge doesn’t hold much value does it. Personally, I’d be embarassed to park a Kia in my work carpark hey.

  • Tony

    the sole use of the 5 yr warranty is an effort to counter poor resale after 3 yrs

    this is no different from mitsubishi who suffer the safe problem

    no-one would disagree that a lot of the other models in the Kia range are substandard

    one thing i will say about small car resale is that it is largely bunk… if you look around you see 2006 Yaris and Jazz cars with 50,000km and they still want $15k for them!

    now in this case you are better off buying new

    2nd hand small cars are NOT in my opinion a decent 2nd hand buy… they are largely “use until they blow up cars”

    i have often said i don’t care about what kind of car i drive as long as it pleases me, so that’s why i drive two turbocharged cars that are alleged cop magnets

    but that is not completely true… i don’t care to drive what are perceived ‘female’ cars and that to me is what a Yaris/Jazz/Mazda 2-3 represent… as far as I’ve seen this car is the least ‘feminine’ in design.

    I’d happily drive a Kia which represents a ‘change’ rather than accepted girls’ cars like Fiestas and Hyundai Accents and the like.

  • Dan

    I find it hillarious that they do 5 year warranties, and use it as a major selling point. My friend who bought a Kia Rio recently, said that was what sold him, other than the fact that he’s stingy. He said he wanted to be sure that all problems will be fixed for free. What I found rather amusing was that he already set his mindset up for a fail. “Yes, I know it will most likely break down soon, so the longer the warranty the better”. Right…

  • RoFlmaTiC

    The warranties I’m guessing wouldn’t cover wear and tear items so you can bet your bottom dollar that they will skimp in those areas.

  • Tony

    There’s not a warranty in the world that covers wear items… why would they cover consumables and the like.

    But I’ll say one thing… I complained about the brakes and poor spongey feel of the brakes on my mum’s Kia Carnival.

    They replaced all pads, rotors and caliper accessories for free.

    From what I’ve seen they (Hyundai/Kia) try harder on the pre and post sales.

    Now try that with Ford (and I have!) and they gimme “they all do that” crap…

  • http://honda spellbound

    Its pretty simple ,want a car with all the gadgets ,a 5 year warranty , buy korean .

    Want a car that drives/handles/brakes and actually gives great satisfaction , only needs a 3 year warranty because its well built , buy euro/jap.

    End of story

  • sexythang

    end of the day. just ask urself would you buy it with your own money? and are you looking for a car now?

    one thing is for sure. the 2.0 output is good considering fuel consumption. same as civic sport which you pay 32kaud for. i also wonder how mercedez achieved such good fuel consumption on thier new engines as well.

  • Droidparty

    I collect my sli tommorrow. I bought a cerato back in 05, great car but I only kept it for 10 months. Saw the ads for the new one during the tennis and liked what I saw.

    Tested it against the astra, focus zetec,mazda 3 and Hyundai i30. Still came back to the Cerato. Bang for your buck nothing touches it, only complaint is the gearbox, c’est la vie I guess.

  • HAL

    ^ only complaint is the gearbox, DroidParty? You don’t think that’s a major consideration? It’s sort of critical to the operation of the car, and thus the enjoyment received from driving it. Oh well, I guess you’ve got the good old Kia 5yr warranty if it breaks down :-)

  • Droidparty

    Y’know, if I didn’t know any better, that sounded like sarcasm.;)

    I don’t see it as a major consideration. I don’t think the gb is terrible, I just don’t think it really knows what it wants to do half the time. But that is a complaint I have about every auto I’ve ever driven, from my Monaro to the bosses Porsche Cayenne to that time I drove your Ssangyong Stavic (sweet ride by the way Hally baby).

    The 5 yr warranty didn’t have any bearing on my decision to buy the car. I bought the car because ,1: I’ve had one before and know what to expect,and 2: BFYB it’s the best of everything I looked at. The Mazda 3 was a great car but every man and his tranny brother have one, The Focus Zetec had great suspension, but not alot else to really swing me towards it.Besides, you wanna talk about god awful interiors, sit inside a Focus for a bit. The Ford dealer had to wake me up to leave car.Ugly boring crap.

    No matter what car I drive. I will always find something to winge about. It’s what I do. So no, it’s not a “major consideration” Just a nigly bitching point. Cos I need something to chew on.

  • HAL

    fair enough DroidParty, each to their own.

  • Tony

    to be fair most other small cars have a 4 spd auto… even the must vaunted Ford Fiesta. If you won’t anything but a 5 spd auto small car you’re probably going to be looking for a while.

    I hate 4 spd autos but I expect they’ll get their act together for the 2010 model.

    I feel $24,990 is probably tipping the scales a bit too far.

  • Frontman

    The Salesman Says:
    February 18th, 2009 at 4:28 pm
    Sorry, the Salesman’s identity must remain a secret.
    See you do understand………. (now whats it worth to keep my mouth shut ;-))

    Couple of points seeing I only just read the blogg. Firstly on the warranty front, it is only the manufacturers with the “PUBLICALLY PERCIEVED” poor reputation that are offering a five year warranty. This is in no way a statement of quality, just a reasurance from the manufacturer against the Eddie the Experts.

    The Ceratto is a good car for what it is, absolutely cr**s all over the new Honda City for value, drive & performance but having spent time in a Focus, I’d rather go that way.
    Tony, Unfortunately the Focus will not show it’s best in five minutes, you need to have one overnight to get to know it. New model has new plastics, outer skins from the current XR5 and a DSG box for the Diesel (my personal choice) smartens the car up, plus ad the fact that it is one of the best selling cars in Europe & the UK it can’t be that bad.
    Dan, you’d rather buy a Japanese car?? Would you really take a Tiida or base Lancer over this??
    The Koreans have come a long way, but their starting point was very low. They have had the luxury of learning from the others mistakes though and are a lot faster in reacting to market forces than Toyota could ever hope to be.

  • Dan

    “Dan, you’d rather buy a Japanese car?? Would you really take a Tiida or base Lancer over this??”

    I hate the Tiida. It doesn’t even have power windows as standard, which is pathetic to say the least. I don’t mind the new Lancer (I used to always hate the lancer till the current model arrived), it looks quite aggressive, probably one of the better looking cars in its class I think.

  • Tony

    Tiida is a girl’s car. The Lancer I don’t mind too much in sportback format but it looks excessively tawdry in the stock ES form. Once you price it up to a decent level its well on it’s way past $26k.

    I also have the impression it weighs a lot. Close to 1.4 ton? Is 2.0 litres enough for that? And Mitsubishi is one of those loser companies that dares to offer a 5 yr warranty.

  • LuciferDarklord

    All this talk about the warranty, just check the reliability surveys. I think Ford, Holden and Volkswagen need the 5 year warranty, not the top feeders like Kia and Hyundai. I still cant believe that the Holden Daewoos have less problems than the VE. Hahaha Who needs the 5 year warranty?

  • http://www.google.com Deags

    Dan, you are very immature, you hate a car. Can’t believe that, and you call me a junior.

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au/22741/2009-kia-cerato-review-road-test/ Hans

    For all the negative comments about the 4 speed gearbox that everyone seems to be one about there is a very simple solution… buy the manual. Better fuel economy, better acceleration and save yourself the $2k and a bit up front.

  • sillyhonda

    The Cerato engine’s valve gear is chain-driven to minimise maintenance requirements and cut noise, while auxiliary systems are powered by a single serpentine belt….If you guys hate costly timing belt replacement, buy Cerato!!

  • sillyhonda

    The Cerato’s engine is the most powerful naturally aspired engine in its class yet consumes the least amount of fuel and emits the least amount of pollution such as Co2….Well done Kia…

  • sillyhonda

    The person who buys Honda City over Kia Cerato must be insane….

  • http://www.google.com Deags

    Sillyhonda is indeed quite silly; silly Sillyhonda

  • Tony

    you say that but you’re assuming Honda as an Australian company are silly. They must have done their sums and they must be sure they’re gonna shift X,XXX units a month.

    To me the City is not a wise choice however at the end of the day, I think they will sell a lot and you won’t be able to get any bargaining on it.

    Making a competant car is enought these days and if it has the gold plated Honda badge there must be enough wood ducks out there.

  • Curious

    Any idea when Australians will see the new Magentis?


    What about the Kia Bongo [AKA Prgio]?



  • KM

    Hi Curious,

    I think its due out in March/April, although there were talks of it not coming in at all. Its a very hard market for KIA to compete in…

  • http://skyline The Salesman

    Magentis will be in the 3rd or 4th quarter. It is a hard market for every one to compete in :)

  • Tony

    is the AU Magentis going to be the same as the American Optima?

    because that Optima looks like a Magentis with the new Peter Schreyer nose and tail… same interior and same everything else

    not an all new design so same driving dynamics, just with a new corporate nose

  • http://skyline The Salesman

    I think you are correct Tony. It is just a revised grill, headlight and tail light assembly.

  • Tony

    well that’s going to be a very hard sell especially with the Cerato offering the same ‘look’ but a clean sheet design

    i’ve driven bmws and mercs and IMO the Cerato interior is very attractive design and looks ‘light’ compared to the oppressive themes in most german cars

    that is probably gonna be a stumbling block for the Magentis

  • KM

    Yes you are right Tony, however there are slight changes to the interior as well. The dials have a orange/red lighting just like the cerato. The odo displays have also got that lighting with the daytime running feature as well. The interior is alot different to the current Magentis light blue interior… Steering wheel hasnt really been changed, nor has the dials etc…

  • Curious

    Thanks for the info…but why so late in the year? You know what I mean, with Magentis being in the spotlight (so to speak) of Kia’s recent Australian Open marketing campaign.
    By that time I think most people will not bother and they’ll just wait it out for 2010 ones.

  • ravith

    Nice review.
    One thing I always wondered about Korean cars – is their durability. Fine; backed by 5 year warranty – but would they LAST generally as long as a VW, or even Mitsu or Toyota?? I am going to buy a car soon and, being fairly conservative on this matter, i look for something which lasts at least 10 years. My observation is that Korean cars start to look fatigued after a few years. This is peraphs due to the material they use for the body. The nuts and bolts … etc etc.
    Mind it, the 2007 Cerato scores 3 stars in ANCAP test. The front side crash test 12/16 and the side impact 8/16. With that, it sounds like a …… on wheels. But I hope the new Cerato is made of something different and made something differently. I know crash does not happen often, but you know once is enough.
    If convinced, i have my money at hand for Cerato salesman!!!

  • ravith

    Correction: Front side test yielded only 10/16, not 12.

  • Tony

    you should probably look at the current Carnival to see how hard wearing it is… generally they are quite good even with messy kids and usual family wear and tear

    in my opinion there is nothing that deteriorates as badly as a Holden Commodore… look how shabby they look after a mere 5 yrs…

    I have much more faith in a car like the current Cerato which much survive in the US, Korean and European markets which can be much worse than ours.

    I think both Holden and to some degree, Ford, make cars that deteriorate very quickly simply because they are not exported to markets that are very hard on cars.

    • Shak

      Mate the Commodore is exported to every continent. Also it goes to the sandy climate of UAE and the rest of Arabia.And btw what do you consider a place that is hard on cars becaus eour own country ounishes cars when it comes to harshness. Their cars are also exported to the jungles of Brazil.

  • VWaddict

    I test drove the Cerato today and was reasonably impressed by, well, everything. I don’t think it particularly excels in anything, but it does what it should for the bucks. The SLi is jammed packed with gadgets and features, which only makes me smile if it’s wrapped in a car worth driving… and this Kia is. One hitch. I’m committed to buting 5-star crash rated cars, and as far as I’m aware this has yet to be rated, anywhere. Anyone here in the know?

  • LCAT

    Well I’ve juxst signed up for an SLi. The dealer told me the base model is expected to get 4 1/2 stars and models with esp will get 5.

    I went for the deal when I was offered $4000 more than the redbook price on my 2003 Elantra GLS.
    The Hyundai never missed a beat in 100thousnd Ks. So Iam hoping the Kia will be the same.

  • LCAT

    ^ update – took delivery Friday – (now Sunday) & 500 klms later I am grinning from ear to ear. This car is a quantum leap for Kia in aus. There is absolute integrity in the body/chasis construction & the fit finish is excellent & no squeaks or rattles, ok the plastic surfaces are not in the class of vw/audi but neither is the price. .
    I would really have liked the option of the kia/hyundai family 1.6crdi but i am satisfied for now.

  • Tomcat

    Hi guys,

    I’ve just recently started to visit CA and found the reviews really good and informing.

    And I always look forward to reading the comments below!

    I think I can understand the differing views of HAL and the salesman.

    Basically, you have readers like HAL who have a strong opinion on things like Jap/Euro/Korean cars based on his perception and experiences.

    And then you have guys like the Salesman, who is giving his perceptions on actual experiences with the new Korean cars.

    I am a guy looking at the markety for a small/medium car, and I’ll definetly now look at Hyundai/Kia cars. I don’t want to base my decisions like HAL who like himself have grown up in this country thinking Holden/Ford/Toyotas were the best cars.

    After travelling Europe/America/Asia for about 2 years, I realised how small of a place Australia really is! Yes, I realised why we get crap handling Korean cars, it’s because they can’t justify spending money adjusting suspensions for a market that is just hitting 1million cars a year!

    To people like HAL et al….seriously…get out of your shells and embrace globalism at its best! It is because people like HAL et al…that Hyundai/Kia get bad names in Oz! In most countries these cars are perceived as decent cars/decent quality products..in actual fact we know that as well!~

    You think just Korean cars lack quality? This is so wrong as I can tell you just from my experiences of driving fleet cars of Camrys/Magnas (Japanese quality) and Holdens and Fords…its not that great! Broken radio/trims coming off in the Camry, jiggling plastics in the Magna…seroiusly…I dont’ think it’s just the Koreans guilty of this!

    Give it a chance and surely CA gave the ratings it did because thats what they saw!

  • Dan

    “And then you have guys like the Salesman, who is giving his perceptions on actual experiences with the new Korean cars.”

    Salesman is a Kia salesman. So of course his ‘views’ will be biased towards Kias. I wouldn’t put much value on his opinion re this topic.

    “Magnas (Japanese quality)”

    Magnas were produced in Australia, so consider them on the same level as Falcon and Commodore.

  • Wheelnut

    ….And Camry

    • brett parry

      well the bottom line any car thats saves you walking is a good car give me a sigma lada datsun sunny camira leyland p76 marina lets just say how busy the racq would be and yes you would be doing a lot of walking.

  • Dan

    Yeah, Camry’s too. Though they have slightly better build, though nowhere near perfect.

  • Wheelnut

    Yeah I know how many 10+ year old Camrys do you still see on the roads compared to Falcons and Commodores?

    Now in an ATTEMPT to try and get Back On Topic [as specified by the COC]….

    I believe the design of the new Kias make the cars look more “unitary” – that is they look as if they were designed by the one person instead of being designed by a committee like Ssangyongs do.

    Same applies to a number of the new Hyundais too

  • Dan

    You are implying Wheelnut that they’re all gone to the tip after ten years, which isn’t true. There’s less Camry’s sold in the first place, hence why there’s less of them 10 years later. The average Falcon and Commodore looks like it’s been through an accident, even though it hasn’t, after only 5 years. Most look scruffy and start falling apart. Bumpers start sagging. Panel gaps increase, etc…

  • Golfschwein

    Hang on, Dan.

    Camrys are no more immune from looking or driving shabby than Falcons and Commodores, from personal experience. Typical Camry foibles? 3rd gear synchros and head gaskets that both say sayonara after 45,000 kilometres, dashboards that crack at the base of the wind screen and peeling cloth door trims. Thousands and thousands of peeling cloth door trims, in fact. Yes, I’m generalising, but so were you.

    I don’t know how newer Camrys go, we’re just talking the older ones here, right?

  • Andrew M

    The camrys dont have any better build quality than the rest of the aussie makes.

    do you even know how many recalls the last gen camry went through let alone the poor trimming issues???

    the longer you play the toyota = better build tune the sillier you are gonna look

  • Andrew M

    the newer models arent any better going by what i have seen

  • Wheelnut

    Dan Says: The average Falcon and Coomodre looks like its been through an accident even though it hasn’t”

    So what youre saying Dan is that once again Toyota have copied Holden and Ford as the current Camry Looks like its been in an accident even before its left the Factory.

    Despite the fact that Toyota may have sold less Camrys; given that Toyotas supposedly have superior reliability and build quality than Ford and Holden you would expect a greater %age of them to still be around than what there actually are wouldn’t you?

    Infact I think Hyundai/Kia have come along way in the last 10 years in terms of reliability [as I still see a considerable number of 1old Kias/Hyundais on the road] and will continue to improve – if only Daewoo could do the same.. give them time I guess

  • Golfschwein

    Eww. I’m out of touch on them, admittedly.

  • Tim

    ok for starters the security code being civic is kinda funny,

    I took one for a test drive and found it to be quite good.
    I have compared to some other cars. Focus, Mazda, etc.
    and you do not get the same level of value. (based on SLI model). and they are also dearer to insure! (damn rip off insurance companies)

    well i bought one blue SLI just waiting for it (up to 10th business day now).

    The only things i would like to know is:
    Will there eventually be the option in australia to upgrade/replace the auto 4 speed gearbox with the new 6 speed once its finished.

    and what are the 5 year warranty terms????

  • Dan

    “So what youre saying Dan is that once again Toyota have copied Holden and Ford as the current Camry Looks like its been in an accident even before its left the Factory.”

    Are you on crack? WHere did I say that??

    “Despite the fact that Toyota may have sold less Camrys; given that Toyotas supposedly have superior reliability and build quality than Ford and Holden you would expect a greater %age of them to still be around than what there actually are wouldn’t you?”

    So what you’re saying Wheelnut is that falcodores don’t even last 10 years before they get scrapped? Wow. I would never have thought I’d hear that from you. But I’m glad you’ve acknowledged the facts!

    “Infact I think Hyundai/Kia have come along way in the last 10 years”

    LOL! Show me a 10 year old Hyundai or Kia. It will be a challenge as they are on the rubbish tip alrady. THey’ve certainly gone a long way haha. All the way to the tip!

  • kris

    We are still driving our very reliable 1998 hyundia excel and there many still on the road you must be blind as well as dumb LOL

    • brett parry

      well i have a 1987 camry 5 speed 275.ooo ks on the clock still going well as cars are like people you look after them they look after you.heaps of the old things on the road in qld around toowoomba and the bush must say something about the toyota brand. brett parry toowoomba qld.

  • Dan

    I bet it has the trademark blue fumes coming from the exhaust pipe doesn’t it? LOL

    • brett parry

      no smoke or rust if it did it would be of the road yes i have had outher cars in my life all im saying is the camry has been good to us. and im not death or dumb just yet and we also own a honda a great car not sure if it will last 22 years only 20 years to go all the best to you all and safe and happy driving to you all regards brett.

  • Curious

    I used to know this guy (ex-coworker now living in Queensland) who had this Hyundai Accent for more than 9 years. He said it’d never broken down on him and he’d easily buy another Hyundai i.e. great value and reliability.

    I also know a guy who bought his Toyota Camry brand new only to have:

    – The front right and rear left shockbreakers replaced coz they were squeaking (imagine the embarassment of driving a brand new car that squeaks on bumps)
    – Left headlight refitted due to gaps and moisture buildup
    – Right tail light seal replaced (water got in)
    – Driver’s side door panel taken apart to fix a loose door clip that was rattling
    – Rear bumper readjusted (sagging)

    All above before it had 500km on the odo.

    Then he told me he had to take it back in some time later since the steering wheel was squeaking when turned –> the steering column had to be replaced, twice.

    Name one thing that’s the same between Toyota Camry and Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon (this also includes Mitsubishi Magna)?

    They’re all AUSTRALIAN builds.

  • testing

    Hi I would like to tell you I have lived in China for about 9 years now and have driven many Chinese made cars, at this time I drive a Honda Accord made in China Motor 2 lite, the finish is very good the car condition is very good. So I think you should not down grade a cars because they come from China, till have have had first hands OK. That said I have a question from any one first, I will return to Australia this month April and will buy a new car. a Mazda 3/ Honda civic/ Holden Cruze. I know the Honda is made in thiland. the Holden cruze made in Koera. What about the Madza 3 the new model. thank in advance for the help.

  • DGS

    10 years ago I was talking with my mates and said with conviction that: “Korean cars are crap, although they seemed to be improving – but there is no way I would buy one”

    9 years ago my old car gave up the ghost and I decided not to stuff about with old bombs any more, so bought a new car. The new Hyundai Accent of 2000 was the best deal I could find. I had low expectations.

    6 years ago I bought my current car, a Hyundai Elantra (as I wanted a sedan)with compeate confidance that I was buying a good product that should last at least 10 years.

    In 9 years of Hyundai ownership I have covered almost 250,000km and a lot of Australia and they have never missed a beat. The only waranty work required over 2 cars has been 1 faulty tape deck, 1 faulty CD player, an eletrical glitch with a rear window wiper, and a worn out skuff strip on the bottom of the drivers side doorway. All repaired on the day of reporting them with out theatrics or excusses. Compared to the Falcons and Comodores at work, this is bl**dy fantastic!!!

    As Hyundai and Kia are the same comany and their products share many of the same parts I would have no hessitation in a few years time to upgrade to one of these new Kia Ceratos (they look better than the current Elantra)

  • Tim

    well a kangaroo jumped out in front of my dad driving.
    no time to react at 80km/h. (basically it jumped from side of the road (country road tress, cant see nothing). and well to say the least alot of damage was done. so really they have skimped on the metal as the plastic stood up better than the side panel.

  • Darcy

    Question to Salesman:

    I’m a very happy Kia Magentis owner but was intersted in the Rondo. Why, oh why didn’t Kia Australia bring out the 2.4 litre and the diesel instead of the 2 litre?


  • Gordon

    We’ve had the Cerato two weeks and like it. I admit it takes a while to get used to the fact that I need to put my foot down out of roundabouts and corners because of the odd gear ratios. I’m more amused than critical of the way the dash LCD screen states “Door open” in large letters as soon as I open the door to get in, but the real annoyance is the following:

    When you put in the key, but before switching on, a chime starts and continues annoyingly until I close the driver door. I’m sure it is common to just put the key in before closing the door. Most often it is because I’m still talking to someone outside the car. I’d expect the chime to start when I turn the key to ACC.

    The chime is loud enough to stop a conversation and I’ve already had several people outside the car ask “What’s wrong?”

  • HAL

    You’re not alone there Gordon – even my Mazda 6 has the same feature, so it’s not particular to Kia. Very irritating feature I agree.

  • Alan

    Gordon, that is a common feature of many modern cars, a way around it is to actually start the engine when you put the key in. The chime will stop after the engine is started even when the door is left open, at least that’s the way it works with my civic.

  • http://skyline The Salesman.

    The Rondo is Kia’s second attempt at a very difficult market that no manufacturer has been able to be satisfactualy successful in Australia (Holden Zafira, Daewoo Tucuma, Peugeot, Etc). Kia decided to try this market again with Rondo only after it was well received in Canada. Canada (according to Kia) has the closest market to Australia’s demographic. Because Kia was only “testing the waters” we were only given the two litre engine. If Rondo gets the numbers you will see more engines on offer. Rumor is a diesel before the end of the year.

  • http://skyline The Salesman. You Cant Cure Stupid

    Just an idea, Wind the window down and close the door. Or, dont put the key in until you have finished talking.

  • CuriousForte

    Would be very interested in the Cerato if it had the drivetrain options of the U.S. Forte SX & electronic power steering (without a huge price leap for the privilege)!

    “The SX gets an updated 2.4L I4 engine with a 6-speed manual or optional 5-speed automatic transmission”

    Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kia_Forte

    Sonata power + adequate gearboxes in a Cerato = Attractive Package!!!

  • CuriousForte

    If a Theta II 2.4L + 6 speed manual Cerato was available for the same price as the current SLi auto, I would buy one today!

  • FrugalOne

    The base model Cerato should have the optional safety-pack fitted as std. at no extra cost.


    A 5 speed auto.

    A trip computer.

    Finally all for $21,990 [as per above] DRIVEAWAY.

    I am really starting to warm to tyhis car!



  • FrugalOne


    The 2.4L is NOT required here, the 2L is already THE most powerful in its class, 115kW.

    VERY interested in the new just released in S/Korea and *maybe* coming to AUS 1.6L LPG and electric-hybrid job.

    Can be sold for under <$30k, if the above is sold for $22k i would be prepared to pay say 20% more, say ~$26,500 bit of a DIEsel issue, least its CLEAN!



  • CuriousForte

    Hi FrugalOne,
    “the 2L is already THE most powerful in its class, 115kW”
    Agreed, but the car also isn’t as light as it looks. 12kW more power, and heaps more torque, would sway me for my rural driving/safe overtaking!
    What about “here” doesn’t require it compared to the U.S.? The 2L 115kW is more than adequate for the city, but not for me.
    I think you mean more power is “NOT required here” for your-frugal-self! Also as a fairly consistent highway driver I believe that, even with the 2.4L engine, my fuel consumption would be vastly more frugal than a city dwellers.
    However, I do agree with the first of your 2 posts. Safety shouldn’t be optional!!

  • CuriousForte

    BTW, I’m certainly not singling KIA out for this lack of power criticism.
    I would be driving a Hyundai i30 right now if they had put either a 2.0L or 2.4L Theta II in it (with a decent transmission).
    The worst offender, though, is the Mazda3 SP23 where you are forced to pay outrageously & for unnecessary bells & whistles just for a little more power in what is essentially the same engine.
    It DOES NOT cost these companies more to produce the same engine with a little more bore &/or stroke. Same electronics & just about everything else. Unless upgraded transmission &/or brakes are required, I just don’t see why we should be paying more for slightly higher power versions.
    This is a great opportunity for Kia/Hyundai to trump the competition. Especially with the Cerato. Please provide us with a comfortably powerful & usable (i.e. more gears for manual & auto) drivetrain to match the fantastic looks, leading safety & good handling of the Cerato!


    may i ask how can i get the head lamp and Tail lamp this car (KIA CERATO 2009)? could any one have it’s OEM number,
    so i could trace. and is this car suitable in European countries???
    I’ll be very thankful if any one could answer me.

  • John Downey

    I have not seen this model in the dealers yet. I hope it has front drivers windows that are auto up and down. I also hope the interior colours do not have the usual BLACK interior that most cars have in Australia. I have not worked out how manufacturers seem to think that BLACK is a good colour for interiors. i always feel closed in and claustrophobic in a car with black interior. Lighter colours always make cars seem larger and more inviting.

    Even though I would love to replace my current Mazda with one of these I will not consider it until and unless Ka puts its six speed auto in the model. Then it will be a definite buy for me.

  • http://whitecar@adam.net.au Mark

    The steering wheel looks ugly. Almost like a jeeps steeering wheel, or that it was designed by a communist deep inside Russia.I test drove a manual and auto 2009 Cerato and it felt cheap and nasty.Im going to test drive the Hyundai i30 because it looks better built. Im hoping not to be disappointed as I was with the Cerato.
    Ive only sat in an i30 and just from that it feels like a good quality product.Its a pitty their sister company can’t do the same and I dont know why there is a company called kia it should all be Hyundai.

    • k

      “The steering wheel looks ugly.”

      >> Sorry, i don’t think so. Much better than your face. And its interior is not cheap as you said.

  • Tony

    We purchased our Kia Cerato SLI new in March this year, and have recently returned from a trip from Bunbury WA to Sydney and back in the space of 7 weeks. We covered just over 13000 kms in that time (car now has done 21000 kms) and didn’t miss a beat. Best fuel economy was 6.0L/100km, worst was 7.4L/100km with a strong head wind. The car was driven over the Blue Mountains, Great Ocean Road and had no trouble climbing those steep hills or overtaking road trains on the Nullabor. It was also quite comfortable to travel in for a smaller car than what I have had in the past. I have no hesitation in recommending a Kia Cerato, even with only a 4 speed auto.

  • Keepleft

    Observation, no offense: Each models has rear fog lamp function, good. Secure space for stowage of a first aid kit and warning triangle too.

  • must be silly female

    I have just signed for a Sli with Leather seats (thats what the salesman wrote on the contract” but am now being told they are not available in Australia “The sales rep made a mistake” I have been offered tinted windows and car mats and a price of $23,700 instead of the $24,200 price “with leather”. What should this silly female do?

    • Ryan

      i wouldn’t take it. it is available it just needs to be ordered in from Korea i signed up for one today and the rep said that it will be a min 3 months. can’t wait for that day. i loved the drive in this cerato ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!!

  • matt


    Glad you like the i30… because it is actually a kia c’eed. Because the c’eed was a model kia designed especially for euro markets they could not release it anywhere else.. along came Hyundai and… can we borrow that please? thats right, Hyundai’s top selling hatch is a Kia.

    • Callous Aussie

      …and? They are sister companies. They use the same platforms you goose.

  • Jluz

    Well ive had my Kia Cerato sli on order for 3 mths now and i cant wait to get my hands on it. I was a former kia critic , but the quailty of the new Kia Cerato got me. Ive read some other reviews and i tell you they have got it wrong , they have nothing good to say at all. Before I ordered my cerato I test drove the mazda 3 , mits lancer and the holden astra, yes they each have good points but in my mind the cerato had all the good points in one car and it was at a much much better price.

  • CuriousForte

    Still waiting for Kia to stop insulting Australians by not offering equivalents to the better US models. In particular the 2.4L ThetaII engine, 6-speed manual & 5-speed automatic transmissions. The “Koup” isn’t getting these options here, so I don’t hold out much hope for the next model sedan.
    Such a shame because this vehicle really has some potential. Oh well!

  • Lindsay

    We just got back from a road trip to the gold coast over 4000kms with our 2009 Kia cerato sli 5 sp manual no problems what so ever overtaking felt like a v6 on the run on from 90 kmph great car averaged 6.6 lts per 100 kms handled really well in the wet ( and there was a lot of it), well done Kia

  • зочин

    For this price I rather prefer to buy Corolla or Mazda 3

    • toxic_horse

      Corolla lol you gota be joking.

  • ric owen

    wanting to get a new car within 3-6 months..been looking at Hyundai i30 because of PRICE, SAFETY FEATURES,ECONOMY, RUNNING COSTS, LOOKS (in that order)…reading a TOP GEAR review, now find KIA CERATO is similar…will be trading KIA carnival, which has I have been pleased with over last decade (for the price).
    would appreciate feedback one ‘gainst t’other…i find no satisfaction comparing brochures…am in rural region and wont be getting 2 where i will be buying for a few months.

    • Jabba the Hut

      You can’t go wrong with either. The i30 will have a slightly softer rise than the Cerato. If you are doing long distance hauls then the i30 diesel should be on your list. It will get even greater economy and diesels last forever if all they do is long haul. The i30 wagon has a slightly longer wheelbase then either sedan so the ride comfort would be better.

      Good luck with your purchase!

      • Jabba the Hut

        Should read “Softer ride”


  • Hamilton

    she is just a beauty

  • Beazel

    116klm`s done on my new Kia Cerato S, and the more we drive it and look at it, the more we like it. I was considering the Honda Accord but I`m glad i got a Cerato instead. Put the badges away when you test drive, take price, specs and safety into consideration and i will be stumped if you dont buy a cerato 😛

  • DF

    I’ve done about 1500km in mine in the last two weeks. Just brilliant. So quiet, comfy and economical, with excellent handling. Looks good imho too. Most of my running is long distance – rarely less than 130km whenever I get into it. This car is so easy to drive at legal limits for hours on end. It’s returning a little under 7l/100km. I was a European car fan (lots over the last 35 years) and was a bit cautious about a Korean car. The Cerato has changed all that. Forget the brand, just test drive it if you’re looking for something this size and save yourself at least $10k.

  • Rex

    Well I have driven the i30, elantra, mazda3 and lancer and the cerato stood out for me. I am getting the Si model which basically means it has everything you need. I am getting it for only $20390 with tinting, mats, tank of fuel, and metallic paint thrown in. For the quality and the features, nothing comes close price wise. It was a brilliant drive and I loved the interior. Its layout was perfect for me. The seat molded to my body. and it was very quiet too. I love the look of it for all angles. It’s the perfect car for me and I can’t believe there are not many more around. I hear the usual comments “it a KIA” which is an ignorant comment to say the least. Test drive it before you judge.

Kia Cerato Specs

Car Details
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$7,150 - $8,130
Dealer Retail
$8,420 - $10,010
Dealer Trade
$5,500 - $6,500
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
185Nm @  4000rpm
Max. Power
101kW @  6000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
9.3L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:850  Unbrake:450
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
185/65 R15
Rear Tyres
185/65 R15
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Dual link, Coil Spring, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Air Conditioning
Cruise Control, Power Steering
Radio CD with 6 Speakers
Fog Lights - Front, Power Mirrors
Power Windows
Dual Airbag Package, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Metallic Paint
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
60 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Driver Side Front Floor
Country of Origin