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Kia Cerato Long Term Conclusion
Kia Cerato Long Term Conclusion
by Matt Brogan

After six months, and nearly as many drivers, CarAdvice has this week handed back our long-term Kia Cerato SLi.

The Kia Cerato has been with us since May clocking up over 8,000 trouble free kiometres. In fact, with the exception of two small rattles and some easily scuffed interior trim (an issue Kia has addressed in its MY10 facelift) this has been a rather uneventful test.

And that’s a good thing! Uneventful is just what you expect from a new car. No surprises, no break downs and no nasty quibbles.

Pleasingly fuel economy figures have also improved since last we spoke, perhaps a sign the engine has finally freed up, with the average combined figure down to 8.4L/100km at the final calculation.

The Cerato has proved itself as a competent all-rounder during its time here at CarAdvice with each of our Melbourne-based road testers having nothing but good things to say about the car.

“Life with the Cerato continues to be enjoyable,” Rose Harris, CarAdvice.

Kia Cerato Long Term Conclusion

“There is a lot to like about the Cerato and for the price, you get a very respectable package,” Nadine Armstrong, CarAdvice.

“Cerato has pleasant road manners and is easy to manage offering light steering and excellent visibility,” Matt Brogan, CarAdvice.

“The Cerato deserves a round of applause,” Nadine Armstrong, CarAdvice.

Cerato’s performance has also won a great deal of favour among the Melbourne team.

“It’s very responsive and shows signs of perky, almost sporty aspirations,” Nadine Armstrong, CarAdvice.

“The engine loves to rev and is free flowing, offering a linear spread of power delivery across the entire rev range,” Matt Brogan, CarAdvice.

A spacious and comfortable sedan with a big boot, Cerato has surprised even the harshest critics around the office not only for its ability, but in proving just how far the Kia brand has come in such a short amount of time.

With that in mind, CarAdvice has this week accepted another Kia Long Term vehicle in to the fold, this time in the form of a base model Sorento Si diesel. Stay tuned for an introduction early next week.

Follow the CarAdvice Kia Cerato Long Term Test here:

  • DipStiK

    Love these long term tests. well done CA. And now another long term test this time Diesel, I am looking forward to that….

  • http://www.novatedleasedeals.com.au Novated Lease

    Great test CA, I have personally driven this car and I think it’s great value. In it’s class, it’s a real competitor.

  • NotTheStig

    Yes, it isn’t a bad thing – and reasonable value too but…

    ““The Cerato deserves a round of applause,” Nadine Armstrong, CarAdvice.”

    Um, what for exactly ?

    • sammo

      For trying it’s best and not giving up!?
      For being an average Joe Bloggs of a car!?

  • Callous Aussie

    I test drove one and was mighty impressed .The trouble was that the RIO I was looking to trade in had lost half it’s value in a year from new (they offered $7,000 trade in). Therein lies the problem with KIA vehicles. The resale is truly horrendous which is real shame. I felt betrayed to be honest. My partners RIO has now done 22,000 kms and not a single issue has arisen. Except the resale one which is a biggy.

    • Andrew M

      These things are good value cheap motoring at new, and even cheaper motoring if you buy them 2nd hand.
      The later coming at the expense of the new buyer.
      Hyundais are terrible for resale too.

      • Robin Graves

        BS – go thru redbook.com.au and work out some percentages against Toyota, Mazda etc. I think you will find the worst resale is from Holden and Ford, and the Euros. My wife has had a few Hyundais and the resale has been top-notch. She had a Getz when they first came out, 18 months later we only lost $2k on a trade-in. Her current Tucson is 5 years old and the resale % is higher than same age Rav4, Xtrail and Outlander. Perceptions mean bugger all, check the facts before making assumptions.

    • toxic_horse

      why not try and sell it privately . you will most likely get a couple of thousand more.
      The dealer has to make a profit on his tradein’s

    • lol

      their resale value is very improving recently.

    • Andrew

      I just traded in VE Commodore Berlina, with Leather. just 3 years old and I had to push like hell to get 17,000 which is the top of the redbook guide price. I paid $42,000 for it 3 years ago.

      BTW, ESP, MAS, ABS all broke in the time I had it. Handbrake lever plastics fell off and it sucked fuel like it was going out of fashion.

      Now I have the SM Sorento SI Diesel. Went to Wagga in it over Christmas (From Wollongong) and got 5.9 l/100km!!! That is 47mpg in the old language.


    • Mat

      Resale and trade in value are two different things buddy! Your Rio cost $14,000 new, you could sell it for around $11,000 – anymore would be too hard as your only $3,000 away from the price of a new one drive away! A dealer will have approx $2,000n in cost asociated with bringing your rio into stock then must make something on top of that $9,000 to survive.. and keeping in mind second hand car buyers will haggle like crazy on price. Resale of a Kia is practically the same as any other brand.

  • Shak

    The Koreans have been improving their resale in recent years.

  • Al Juraj

    It’s a nice looking car but dashboard design and quality just don’t cut it. The engine is among the most powerful in its class, beating the Lancer 2.0 by 1kw, but 4 speeds in the auto lets it down. Oddly, it’s better than the i30’s motor.

    Kia has improved over the years, but still quite a distance to go to seriously compete.

    • Jinsei

      Dash board design is such a subjective thing. The mere fact that you don’t like it enough means nothing whatsoever.

      There are still lots of people liking its exterior and interior design and it is being reflected on Kia’s sale, which is on ever-increasing trend. You might think it s because of cheap pricing. But empricial evidence has shown that low price alone can’t increase sales at all. Competitve prices can work only when it’s coupled with solid reliability and that is what exactly Kia are doing.

      I sat in a current shape Lancer Ralliart a few months ago.. and was extremely disappointed by extensive use of cheap and nasty plastic all over door panels.
      Let me remind you the Mitsu costs almost twice as much as this Kia.

  • Tony

    A Series 2 Cerato SLi would be decent buying maybe in 2012/13 when they have depreciated in half… I am perhaps surprised that no-one here was not more critical of the car… I dunno… I guess this is a more Sunday newspaper lifestyle magazine review because in a 10 minute drive it’s clear what’s wrong with this car yet I don’t hear much about it in with all these multiple reviewers.

    Still, I expect this car to depreciate much more than the Hyundai i30.

  • http://www.CarZ.com CarZ

    Tony is dead on about this vehicle. I wouldn’t even look at that car until about 2012/13. Not so much because I would really want one, but simply because of depreciation. Actually, I probably would want one even a year or two from now because Kia made vehicles aren’t much good after the first couple of year anyway. Hyundai all the way.

    • Callous Aussie

      That’s a very loose comment. They are very good long term propositions. I know of a few people that have owned them without fuss for several years. They are also Hyundai’s sister company so most parts are used in both makes.

      It’s only the resale issue I don’t like. The vehicles are great. Their resale will improve when Australian buyers start to realise just how good they are. That won’t happen until we rid ourselves of the vanity we love so much. We must outdo the Jones’.

      I would have the new Sorento in a heartbeat over a Prado. I have read numerous comments where because it is $47 k for the top model it won’t sell due to being in the same price range as its competitors. I challenge anyone to go get a Prado that will match the Sorento for power , economy , standard equipment and price. Add 20k to the Prado to get somewhere close on equipment. It still won’t match the diesel Sorento for power/ economy.

      Now I know I will hear the resale arguement (I can hear it already) however people ignore the fact that you pay a huge premium for the Prado to begin with. This applies to all of toyota’s vehicles. Matched to the equivelent Corolla you are 8 grand better off in the Cerato and if you plan to keep it as a long termer then resale doesn’t matter.

      I know of tradesmen that have done 200k plus in the Kia Pregio van and had only basic servicing. An old aquaintence still has one of the first Sorentos and loves it. He has had no issues bigger than a timing belt change at 100k which applies to all vehicles. So suggesting kia’s are unreliable shows little actual knowledge of the vehicles.

      • Tony

        I agree with you 100%. We have a Carnival that is pretty much spot on except for minor stuff like fuel consumption (hey it’s a 2.0 ton brick) and interior trims scratching.

        But dealing with Kia warranty is a breath of fresh air compared to the retards at Ford/Holden. They do the extra mile to make you happy.

        I would take the Sorento too. There’s not much wrong with the car except the badge… and the price.

        I’m surprised people don’t mind the clutch and shift on the Cerato. It’s a deal breaker to me.

        When they come up with a 6 spd auto/manual I’ll have a look again.

    • Ken

      CarZ, That’s a pretty stupid comment to make about KIA’s. I owned a 2002 RIO hatch from new and traded it in on a new Cerato Hatch in 2006 only because I felt like a change and the deal was good. I got $7000 trade on a 4 year old Rio with 60,000 kms on a new Cerato Hatch. Not bad resale value considering it cost $14,990 new. This car never gave problems and I had no hesitation in buying another KIA.
      My Current drive is a 2006 Magentis EXL as my wife now drives the Cerato. The Magentis is fast approaching 70,000kms and everything is still factory. The car gets serviced by the same KIA dealer I purchased it from at Warick Farm and I have never had any issues. My car has been lowered with firmer suspension and still all is well. Get your facts right before making stupid comments you immature badge snob.

  • Callous Aussie

    I also like the interior. The plastics aren’t of the highest quality but still better than some much dearer vehicles such as the new Subaru impreza.

    It is screaming for a new transmission though (in auto, the manual is fine). I test drove the manual and it was a really good car The six speed auto can’t come soon enough though. I think these long term tests are good value. I’d rather a review from the likes of staffers at car advice ,than from ex-race drivers who tend to focus on crap that means nothing to the everyday driver.

  • Forza M

    No wonder i dont get onto this website as much as i used to. You people are a pack of woodies. Especially the person with the RIO. I feel betrayed? Why? If you are willing to sell your car to a dealer for half price after a year then you are a little silly. Sell it privately.

    You and the rest of you whingers crapping on about resale need to get on to redbook.com, what you will find is that all cars lose value (yes its true) some more than others. But in percentage terms all the major brands have similiar resale (even the Koreans)

    kind regards

    • Callous Aussie

      I won’t worry if you don’t come back. We still have our RIO and are happy with it but were looking to upsize. I am only too aware that selling it private will get us a better deal but would have expected better from the very dealer we bought it off (and had it serviced by). They would put it straight out the front for $11,500 with nothing to do other than wash it.

      I was merely pointing out the downside of ownership. I wasn’t counting on some tool to dive in and create a scene. I suspect you have little interest in the vehicles and are here to brush your ego. Sod off.

      …and who calls people woodies anyway? Moron.

  • Seo

    Why do Greeks pick there nose?

  • filippo

    Nadine Armstrong deserves a round of applause for putting up with the fact that she almost always only gets crappy girly cars to drive.

  • http://www.CarZ.com CarZ

    I really don’t care what Kia makes. They are pieces of strap metal. They just want to put a car on the road, they don’t car what it kind of quality it is.

  • hapi Cerato SLier

    I have owned as a second car 2 hyundais and currently and Sli Cerato identical to
    the test car. I traded a 2003 elantra gls and got a great deal.
    This longtrem review is spot on. The interior trim is an issue (CA what is the 2010 fix for this that you alluded to?) The clutch at take off takes adjusting to and this to is apparently been addressed for 2010. The car is fun to drive you really can throw it around. It represents value full stop! I would be very keen to look at a diesel but sadly it is not available. I looked at the i30 diesel – loved the engine, didn’t like the looks and was procey compared to the Cerato.

  • spotted troll

    CarZ says: <- troll

  • Seo

    wheres the trip-computer on the base model like all its competitors?

    • Callous Aussie

      Probably hiding somewhere in the 6 grand price difference for a similar specced car?

      • Mike in QLD

        Callous Aussie just read my mind…

  • Mike in QLD

    Seo…just for my information who are the competitors in your opinion?

  • Callous Aussie

    He thinks it’s cut and dry. When you look down the spec sheets for the so-called “competitors” it becomes very interesting. The Japanese rivals are not in the hunt on price. The Corolla for example doesn’t even have electronic stability control on it at any price. They intend to rectify that next year, but watch the price jump.

    People are finally waking up. The Koreans are matching the Japs on quality and reliability (in some cases exceeding them) for much less money. When the Cerato does get its six speed auto and a diesel option it will be the complete package. I’ll even make an early call that they fix the plastics around the ignition to reduce scratching. They are fast learners and that will show in a big way in the next few years.

    To all of those that are still bagging them , I hope you like pie 😉 .When you wake from your coma you will realise what is really going on. The Koreans are coming. They are going to be the next big thing in this country. Ask Holden ,ask Toyota. They know only too well already.

    Whilst every maker lost share in the first half of the year, two maunfacturers defied the trend. Hyundai and sister company KIA. Holden can’t get their hands on enough Cruze’ (daewoo) to fill the 4 month waiting list. Is it sinking in yet?

    • A Hundy

      The Koreans are already here. I have been telling anyone who will listen that when Aussies catch on to the quality/price/durability of Hyundais they will be more expensive. Thats happening now. Great cars. We’ve had 2 Hyundais new and second hand and Toyotas new and second hand and the Hyundais are clear winners.

  • bob

    I have owned a T/D Patrol, 3 Pajeros, a Landcruiser, Hyundai Excel, Toyotas, Holdens and Fords and currently an 08 Honda CRV. I also own a 06 kia Cerato and I reckon its a great car for $20k with many features my other cars didnt have. I always scoffed at Korean cars and admittedly some of the cars look horrible, however they are improving greatly and I’m impressed with the Cerato. I drive Corollas and Subarus at work and they have nothing on the Cerato in terms of comfort,features, reliability or power. I think I’m qualified to pass an informed opinion and to overcome perceived poor resale I’ll keep the Cerato for 5 years plus.

  • Mike in QLD

    Callous Aussie and bob have hit the nail on the head with their last comments. They perfectly sum up what Kia and the new Cerato are all about..Value. I am impressed with the new Cerato as well. So impressed that I purchased a 2009 S model with the option pack two months ago.

    We needed a second car for my wife so the search began. The priorities were automatic, economical, roomy, safe and affordable. The S with the option pack (traction control, electronic stability and cruise) ticked all the boxes in an attractive well put together package. We could not find another vehicle with this level of equipment at anywhere near the price. Just good value.

    Will the car hold up over time? We’ll just have to wait and see. So far it looks good. I know you really can’t tell a thing in just two months of ownership but the car seems to be screwed together as well as anything I’ve ever owned.
    What about resale? It really didn’t factor in to the buying decision because we intend to hold on to the car for as long as practical.

    So it’s all about personal opinion. What am I basing my opinions on? Before moving to Australia my career was in automobile sales and sales management for several dealers mostly GM. I’ve owned VW, Subaru, Ford, GM, Toyota, Hyundai and probably a few other makes that I can’t remember. Does that make me an expert? Not by a long shot.

    So just what am I trying to say by commenting? I just want folks to not be afraid to take a look at Kia and Hyundai. You might save yourself a few bucks. You just have get over your “brand snobbery” (I think we all have a bit of that from time to time). Oh…by the way…my other vehicle is a 2005 Hyundai Trajet…you guys remember those? It’s been through hell (4 kids) and is still rock solid.

  • Richard

    I have a Kia Magentis. I have owned it for three years now without an issue. I simply love it and the new Optima which will be here later this year looks like it will be a show-stopper!!! Look out….This thing will knock your socks off!!

Kia Cerato Specs

Car Details
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$3,080 - $3,500
Dealer Retail
$3,980 - $4,730
Dealer Trade
$2,200 - $2,800
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
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
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Driver Side Front Floor
Country of Origin