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  • Good looks; ride quality; balanced handling; smooth transmission; quiet; well equipped; interior space; 5-year warranty
  • No satellite navigation option on the lower variants; some plastics feel cheap; some rivals offer auto transmission for similar money as manual

OUR RATING
8 / 10



Kia Cerato Si Review
Kia Cerato Si Review
Kia Cerato Si Review
Kia Cerato Si Review

There’s also a satellite navigation pack available with the SLi model only, which adds $1000 to the price tag and includes a 7-inch touchscreen, DVD player and satellite navigation multimedia system with SUNA live traffic updates.

With the new-generation Kia Cerato currently only offered as a sedan, its market rivals range from the (closely related) Hyundai Elantra to the Ford Focus, Holden Cruze, Honda Civic, Mazda 3, Nissan Pulsar, Subaru Impreza and Toyota Corolla.

However, the launch of a hatch version shortly and a coupe to follow before the end of the year, the Cerato is poised to occupy all corners of the small car segment.

Like the majority of vehicles in the segment, the Kia Cerato’s interior feels more of a medium-size experience than that of a compact sedan, able to effectively ferry around five adults in relative comfort.

But while there’s ample stretch-out space, it’s worth mentioning it’s nowhere near the space offered in the extraordinarily generous Nissan Pulsar.

Regardless, the cloth seats are suitably well bolstered and particularly comfortable even after long stints behind the wheel.

Boot space is also on the large side, with 421 litres available and expandable with the 60:40 split-fold rear seats.

We also like the ergonomics of the Kia Cerato, particularly the driver-focused dash with the centre stack and heating controls gently angled towards the driver.

Kia Cerato Si Review
Kia Cerato Si Review
Kia Cerato Si Review
Kia Cerato Si Review

The steering wheel is nice and tactile, and adjustable for both tilt and reach. There’s plenty of adjustability in the driver’s seat, too, though it’s manual in the Si trim (electric in the SLi only).

Materials-wise the latest Cerato is a big improvement on the old. Soft-touch plastics cover most of the surfaces regularly touched by passengers, though we’re not so sure about the faux-carbonfibre accents on the dash which look a bit out of place, if not pretentious.

On the tech front, the 4.3-inch screen seems a tad small by today’s standards, but it is functional and fast, with the Cerato’s Bluetooth pairing system particularly easy to use for streaming audio.

Two petrol engine variants are presented: the base S model gets the older 1.8-litre four-cylinder, good for 110kW/178Nm, both the Si and SLi models are equipped with the latest direct-injection 2.0-litre engine that make 129kW of power and 209Nm of torque.

Performance is better than you might expect for a compact sedan, especially with the smooth shift action of the standard six-speed manual transmission. Choosing the automatic adds another $2000 to the price.

It’s a free-revving engine that provides decent acceleration off the line, but sings its best tune above 3000rpm where the Cerato gets along with a certain degree of spirit and is genuinely fun to drive.

Kia Cerato Si Review
Kia Cerato Si Review
Kia Cerato Si Review
Kia Cerato Si Review

Fuel consumption isn’t bad, either, with our manual Cerato test car managing marginally less than the official 7.4L/100km over the week.

There’s also a certain refinement about the Cerato, with engine noise inside the cabin kept to a minimum even at high revs.

Apart from noise insulation, the Kia Cerato also benefits from the localised steering and suspension tuning that Kia Australia undertook during the car’s development.

The electric steering has a good feel to it – quick, with a decent level of feedback and variably weighted via Kia’s ‘Flexsteer’ system, which allows the driver to choose between three modes; comfort, normal and sport.

It’s likewise good news with the Cerato’s ride quality. The suspension tune strikes a nice balance between comfort and performance, with sufficient compliance to iron out large bumps yet relatively capable in the bends.

Body roll is well contained even at pace, though not quite as composed as the Ford Focus or Mazda 3, which both benefit from the more sophisticated multi-link set-up over the Cerato’s cheaper torsion beam rear suspension.

Active safety technologies across the entire Kia Cerato range include six airbags (front, side and curtain), electronic stability control with vehicle stability management and hill-start assist.

There’s also anti-locking brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist and front seatbelt pre-tensioners with load limiters.

Kia Cerato Si Review
Kia Cerato Si Review

Kia has produced a serious contender in the new Cerato. Designed to exude class from its exterior to its well proportioned cabin, it represents a new breed of compact sedan – sexy enough to compete with the all-popular hatches, but roomy enough to take on larger sedans.

When you take into account the balanced chassis, swag of standard kit and its five-year unlimited warranty with capped price servicing, the Kia Cerato merits strong consideration.

And it’s shown in its best light in the mid-spec Kia Cerato Si we tested here in terms of balancing good pricing and features.


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Kia Cerato Si Review
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Kia Cerato Specs

Si : TD MY13 : 2.0L MULTI POINT F/INJ - 6 SP MANUAL - UNLEADED PETROL - 4D SEDAN
Car Details
Make
KIA
Model
CERATO
Variant
Si
Series
TD MY13
Year
2013
Body Type
4D SEDAN
Seats
5
Pricing
New Price
N/A
Private Sale
$10,670 - $12,130
Dealer Retail
$12,300 - $14,630
Dealer Trade
$8,500 - $9,700
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
2.0L
Cylinders
INLINE 4
Max. Torque
194Nm @  4300rpm
Max. Power
115kW @  6200rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
92W/kg
Bore & Stroke
86x86mm
Compression Ratio
10.5
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
6 SP MANUAL
Drive Type
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
0
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
52Litres
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
7.8L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1250
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1460mm
Length
4530mm
Width
1775mm
Ground Clearance
150mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:1200  Unbrake:450
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
10.3
Front Rim Size
5.5x15
Rear Rim Size
5.5x15
Front Tyres
195/65 R15
Rear Tyres
195/65 R15
Wheel Base
2650
Front Track
1557
Rear Track
1564
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Gas damper
Rear Suspension
Torsion bar, Gas damper
Standard Features
Comfort
Air Conditioning
Control & Handling
Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program, Traction Control System
Driver
Cruise Control, Power Steering
Entertainment
Radio CD with 6 Speakers
Interior
Cloth Trim, Power Windows
Safety
Dual Front Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats, Side Front Air Bags
Security
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
Warranty
60 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
RHS - Front Door Aperture
Country of Origin
Korea