After 12 months doing duty as the female voice of the CarAdvice writing and road test team Rose Harris is moving on to other things. We won’t be losing complete contact with Rose as she will continue to contribute to CarAdvice from time to time.
The change has meant that Rose’s long-term Kia Cerato has found a new home, the inner city garage of our new writer, Nadine Armstrong, who’s now had a couple of weeks to get to know her new transport. – David Twomey, Editor
Words - Nadine Armstrong
Picking up where Rose left off, I agree with many of the observations made to date. There is a lot to like about the Cerato and for the price (the SLi starts at $22,990), you get a very respectable package.
I first drove the Cerato under launch conditions in January this year, at which time I was impressed. My first impression was that Kia had really stepped it up a notch, in terms of style and performance.
Living with the Cerato as an everyday drive for a couple of weeks now, for the most part, my first impression stands, and I remain a fan of this car.
I’m really fond of the Cerato’s styling, inside and out. The exterior is smooth and offers delicate, well thought out lines. Also the well-proportioned rear end is worth bragging about - nice form.
This simple styling flows through the interior as well and the centre console and dash is nicely laid out, while the instrument cluster is easy to read.
The 2.0-litre engine is a nice fit for this vehicle, however the manual gearbox and throttle seem to be in a constant battle to deliver peak form.
While the gearshift itself is short and simple to switch through the ratios, I’m finding it really difficult to find a smooth transition at low revs.
The accelerator almost catches you by surprise when it delivers power with the lightest press, and after two weeks in this car I’ve still not mastered the gearbox/throttle relationship.
I’d say things have got marginally better as I have become more familiar with this car. Most often it results in a less than smooth, slightly embarrassing, jerky ride. Talking to others in the office, I’m not alone. Phew!
Push the Cerato above 3500rpm however, and it’s a whole different story; hops and hiccoughs disappear. The engine note is lively and this car discovers a new lease on life. It’s very responsive and shows signs its perky, almost sporty aspirations.
Sadly, well north of 3500rpm, you’re also quickly pushing the legal limits in most suburban street zones. I’m working hard to find a satisfying, legal balance in this regard.
The size, style and versatility of the Cerato creates a package that will potentially appeal to a broad range of buyers – families included. The comfortable and well-equipped cabin offers nice space and all the modern must-haves like iPod connectivity, cruise control and a multi-function steering wheel.
With 415 litres of boot space on offer, the Cerato can easily cope with a decent load of luggage. The 60:40 split folds seats increase this capacity significantly.
I have to say I don’t like the operation of the split fold function. You can only engage the split seats from levers in the boot, which is fine, but I can’t reach through to push the seats forward from the boot – so I have to go back around to the second row to flatten the seats. I prefer either a spring loaded split seat, requiring little effort, or operation of the split folds from the second row.
Next weekend the Cerato will be put to a variety of rigorous tests; also known as the school holiday road trip to the country.
On a trip that includes: freeway and country roads; lots of luggage; my husband, a 12 year-old daughter and my Mum – all experts in their own field and ready and willing to give feedback; the Cerato will have its work cut out. I have no doubt it’s fit for the challenge.
I’ll also be able to report a range of fuel consumption figures in the coming weeks.
To date, the Cerato is proving to be a very comfortable and easy car to live with, with most of my ‘teething problems’ fairly minor in the overall scheme of things. It’s fairly happy travels so far.