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by Matt Brogan

Kia Cerato SLi Long Term Test

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Time to put Cerato to the ultimate family test

-by Rose Harris

Well I officially have a new chariot as my family runabout, the 2.0-litre, five-speed manual all-new Kia Cerato SLi.

The Cerato will line up alongside CarAdvice’s list of long term test cars and for the next six months it will be my duty to put the vehicle to the ultimate family test.

I took dealer delivery of the brand spanking new Cerato at Kia Dandenong in Melbourne and with just 21km on the clock, it had literally just rolled off the truck.

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I had a quick run through of the features of the car and then the keys were handed over and I was off.

The SLi model starts at $22,990 and this test vehicle is fitted with premium paint at an extra $400, Santorini Blue to be exact.

The child restraints are firmly strapped in and the Cerato has taken pride of place in my driveway.

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Having had the Cerato for a week, and deliberately taking it gently to allow the new engine time to adjust, I can say I am so far impressed.

By my request I am testing the five-speed manual and the punchy gearbox straight away had my attention with the power it pumps out at each gear change. I am having a lot of fun driving it.

The family seem quite comfortable in the Cerato, and my husband (a Lancer man) has given it the stamp of approval, even if he is enviously restricted to the passenger seat.

I am yet to take the Cerato on a long country run, thinking it best to restrict it to small trips around town until the engine is ‘run-in’ a little.

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That being said, life as the family car definitely doesn’t see the Cerato sit idle.  We have been for the obligatory shopping trips and soccer and swimming lessons and parking is a breeze.

I began by keeping the showroom perfect Cerato parked well away from lunatic shopping trolleys and other parking dangers at the sparsely populated end of the carpark.

But as I am getting to know the car better, the ease with which it swings into parks now sees me pegging the closest available without a worry (just keep the trolleys away!).

The Cerato is fitted with rear parking assist which is a great peace of mind as well and it has an in-dash display showing exactly where the danger is.

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I have just about worn off that new ‘hot’ smell of the under-the-bonnet components realising what they were made for.

Usually when I get a manual it takes me a few embarrassing stalling moments before I get used to the particular friction point, but I haven’t had such trouble with the Kia.

Everything so far feels very comfortable.  OK, so I will admit I did stall it once, but it runs so quietly I didn’t even realise until of course I wasn’t moving very fast.

One sticking point which is taking quite a bit of getting used to is the lack of a boot latch located on the boot lid.

There is a boot release lever in the front and also a button on the remote key which when held down for a few seconds automatically unlatches the boot, but so often I have gone to grab the latch only to find there isn’t one and I am then grappling through the handbag for the keys.

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However it is obviously a good added safety feature. On the boot though, the 415 litres of space is ample for the pram and the shopping.

On the safety note, the SLi comes with the full set of airbags, ABS and ESP as standard.

I am also impressed with the sun visor extenders on both the passenger and drivers side and the USB and iPod compatible sound system and my test vehicle is fitted with the genuine iPod cable.

In the coming weeks, I will put the Cerato to its first country drive and will start collecting some serious fuel economy figures and we’ll see if the comfort factor and the space factor holds up to a four hour drive with two kids.




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