Top spec models get five stars, while lower variants only get four due to less-sophisticated AEB system.

ANCAP has awarded the 2019 Kia Cerato with a split four-/five-star safety rating in its latest round of testing, due to a difference in standard AEB systems depending on variant.

Despite all trim levels featuring autonomous emergency braking as standard, the system fitted to the S and Sport grades is a camera-only setup that isn't designed to detect 'Vulnerable Road Users' like pedestrians and cyclists. This sees the Safety Assist and Vulnerable Road User scores reduced as a result, hence the four-star rating for these models.

Meanwhile, the higher-grade Sport+ and GT versions get a more advanced 'fusion' AEB system that draws upon camera and radar sensors, which detects pedestrians and cyclists. ANCAP has awarded these variants five stars.

"We strongly encourage vehicles which offer collision avoidance technologies like AEB, however it’s important consumers are aware there can be differences in performance across brands, models and variants," said James Goodwin, ANCAP's CEO.

"Kia should be commended for offering an affordable vehicle which meets today's demanding 5 star requirements and we would recommend consumers opt for a 5 star variant as they provide added safety benefit to all road users."

Despite the different overall ratings, the Cerato scored 90 per cent for adult occupant protection, and 84 per cent for child occupant protection.

The S and Sport models managed 55 per cent for vulnerable road uses and 71 per cent for safety assists, while the Sport+ and GT scored 72 per cent and 73 per cent respectively for the same categories.

It's worth noting that Cerato buyers can upgrade the AEB system on S and Sport models by opting for the $1000 Safety Pack, which adds the more sophisticated AEB fusion system along with handy features like adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, bringing it in line with five-star safety requirements.

ANCAP's ratings apply to both sedan and hatchback body styles, the latter is due to launch locally later this month.

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