Sub $20,000 drive-away price, plus standard AEB and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto

Kia Australia has launched a new version of its top-seller, the Cerato small car. More accurately, it’s launched the sedan version, with the hatchback model not due until year’s end, at best.

The new-generation model, to line up against other popular four-door rivals such as the Honda Civic and Mazda 3, plus the related Hyundai Elantra, looks to be a big step forward over the car it replaces.

There are three specification grades this time, retaining the brand’s signature affordability. The Cerato S costs a very sharp $19,990 drive-away (another $1500 gets you an auto), while the auto-only Sport and Sport+ grades are $23,690 and $26,190 drive-away respectively.

All cars come standard with AEB, a 8.0-inch touchscreen, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity. Scroll down to the bottom for a list of all the features.

Reflecting the sedan’s North American focus, the new Cerato was largely designed at Kia’s California styling HQ. The company suggests it adapts some of the styling cues of the Stinger GT, with the most obvious elements being at the front.

The windscreen base is further back, lengthening the bonnet, while the roof tapers gently into a snub boot, giving the profile a hint of ‘fastback’ about it. The 2700mm wheelbase carries over, but this new model is 80mm longer overall, and 5mm taller.

It also adopts much more high-strength steel (made by Hyundai/Kia, as ever) in the body shell, and a claimed 105 metres of structural adhesive — five-times more than the old car.

Inside the cabin there’s a slightly wider dash with an in-vogue horizontal fascia layout, and fewer buttons. The floating screen sits higher, and there are now-brand-staple circular air vents and plenty of pedantic-journalist-friendly soft-touch surfaces.

Kia claims a smidgen more legroom and headroom than before, though the predecessor car was always pretty roomy. The boot grows from 482L to 502L, and measures one-metre wide and 710mm tall. The back seats flip downwards 60:40.

While the design may carry elements of the Stinger halo car, the launch engine is a less dynamic choice. It’s the familiar 2.0-litre ‘Nu’ multi-point injected, normally aspirated unit making 112kW of power and 192Nm of torque.

Most people will opt for the in-house six-speed automatic transmission, though the base car can be had with a $1500 cheaper six-speed manual. Both are new-generation units, Kia claims. Fuel use is 7.4L/100km or the auto and 0.2L/100km worse for the manual.

Kia fits a Drive Mode Select software system to all auto versions, with modes that change the steering resistance, throttle calibration and gearbox mapping.

As with all Kia product, the company’s Sydney-based engineers tuned the suspension for our market, working within spec parameters offered by the factory. The setup is a basic MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear layout.

The stiffer body, new suspension mounts, and addition of extra sound-deadening material reduces noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) inputs.

Naturally, the new Cerato gets Kia’s market-leading seven-year warranty with roadside assist and advertised servicing prices.

For those wondering about the hatch, the new one will lob by next year’s Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam in January 2019 at latest, but potentially late this year. For now Kia is running out old stock at bargain prices.


2018 Kia Cerato sedan pricing

  • Cerato S manual: $19,990
  • Cerato S auto: $21,490
  • Cerato Sport auto: $23,690
  • Cerato Sport+: $26,190

All prices are drive-away

Options

  • Safety Pack 1 (S and Sport): $1000
  • Safety Pack 2 (Sport+): $500

Cerato S standard features

  • Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
  • Forward collision warning
  • Lane-keeping aid
  • Six airbags
  • Reversing camera with guidelines
  • Front/rear sensors
  • 16-inch steel wheels
  • Tyre-pressure monitor
  • Speed limiter and cruise control
  • 8.0-inch touchscreen
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • DAB+

Cerato Sport extra standard features

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Satellite-navigation with SUNA
  • ‘Premium’ steering wheel, gear shifter
  • ‘Sports’ seats

Cerato Sport+ extra standard features

  • AEB ‘Fusion II’ with pedestrian/cyclist recognition
  • Active cruise control function
  • LED daytime-running lights
  • Proximity key and button start
  • Leather seats
  • Electric folding mirrors
  • Climate control
  • Rear air vents

Option packs

  • Safety Pack 1 contains Fusion II AEB, active cruise control (auto only), blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, auto-folding mirrors and leather steering wheel.
  • Safety Pack 2 contains blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert, as the other features are already offered on Sport+.