Kia Cerato - Long Term Update

$19,390 Mrlp
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2009 Kia Cerato SLi - Long Term Update

By Nadine Armstrong

The Cerato deserves a round of applause. It survived the school holiday family trip with ease, showing it has the performance, space, comfort and functionality required to cope with the ongoing demands of the average family.

Even our part-time pet, Alex the cockatiel (no he doesn’t come on every holiday), was easily accommodated and enjoyed the ride.

A couple of months into this assignment and the Cerato no longer feels like a test car, it has settled into our family life comfortably, causing no disruption to ‘normal’ family life.

It’s hard to fault the comfort and functionality the Cerato offers. The driver’s seats are soft, yet supportive, and easy to adjust. The second row is more than adequate in carrying three passengers and the boot is huge. And the Cerato tackled freeway cruising under a heavy load with ease; quiet, confident and responsive.

The Cerato has already proven itself as a very economical car. As part of our three car comparison last month, the Cerato showed it was punching well above its weight, delivering a fuel consumption figure of 6.3L/per 100km – 2.1L/per 100km less than the smaller 1.8-litre engine of the Holden Cruze, and not far off the much smaller 1.5-litre engine of the Honda City which delivered 5.6L/per 100km.

It didn’t perform quite as well on this most recent trip, admittedly which involved a much heavier load and a longer route, with the average fuel consumption sitting at around 8.0L/100km, not far off the manufacturer claim of 7.9L/100km.

Subsequent consumption figures, for strictly short-trip city driving, have returned less impressive figures of around 11L/100km. With a full tank, the Cerato instrumentation suggests a ‘to empty’ distance of 563km – clearly not based on the way I’ve been driving.

Rearward visibility is proving a slight problem for me. The rear end of the Cerato sits quite high, and as a result I still find it a little hard to judge the boundaries of the car.

However, the rear park assist on our vehicle – with audible warnings and a visual display - is very helpful. I’m very slow to entrust any sensors and parking assistance device wholeheartedly, so I still proceed with more caution than I care to bother with.

The boot lid of the Cerato has caused me a few near misses; I’m convinced stitches are imminent. It’s very light to open, which most often results in a fast and violent bounce back that nearly knocks me on the head, pretty much every time. This could end in tears and bitterness.

The gear ratios remain a sticking point. And, no, it’s not my driving. General consensus confirms there is a battle going on under the bonnet which means smooth gear changes elude all drivers of this car.

I still really like the exterior design of the Cerato. Nicely proportioned panels and harmonious lines complete a classic style that is very appealing.

With a healthy track record for over-capitalising on cars, I started to contemplate what sort of modifications I would invest in if I owned this car. It has the potential to look very slick. But for the most part, it’s fine just the way it is.

It’s still a case of happy travels.