The Kia Cerato is one of the best cars going around these days for value for money. Being my first new car purchase, I was very careful in determining which car would suit my purposes and give me the best bang for my buck.
I was set on a small-sized car in a sedan, as I detest hatches and their horribly small back windows. I ended up compiling a list of the cars that suited this category: the Kia Cerato, Hyundai i30, Mazda 3, Toyota Corolla, Holden Astra and the Mitsubishi Lancer. I was mainly looking for reliability, good warranty and connectivity.
Right off the bat I removed the Mazda 3 and the Lancer. The Mazda is by far the worst ride of any car ever (with a horrible warranty) and it is very overrated. The Lancer was getting a little old and the value just wasn't there. I had a friend buy a 2012 one for more money than my Kia fully new – a bit of a rip-off and it shows. The Toyota Corolla lacks the connectivity, which continues in the new 2019 model somehow. It's beyond me how they haven't got Apple CarPlay.
So, it became a choice between the Kia, Hyundai and the Astra. I decided against the Astra due to Holden's warranty at the time. It was a new model (therefore sort of untested), and unfortunately Holden continued with a horrible name – Astras are cursed. It does have a punchy engine, but the ride isn't great.
The Hyundai lacked good value, plus the automatic transmission is much dearer and the engine choices are better in the top-specs. So, Kia was the obvious choice, with only one engine across the range and free auto (at the time).
The Kia Cerato is one of the best cars out there. It has a very reliable engine, does lack a bit of punch and could do with a turbo, but it is very reliable. The connectivity is fantastic, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and never an issue like with a Holden Colorado, which I also have driven with CarPlay.
The front and rear sensors are great and work perfectly, as does the rear camera. The 16-inch wheels are far better on the base model than the 17s on the higher specs and the tyres hold up well, even though they are only Nexens. The interior is good. The model was towards the later part of its life, so it wasn't revolutionary, but much better than the Lancer and Toyota.
My only gripe is with the gear changes: they hold too long and it doesn't fare well in any high acceleration – sort of needed with the idiots that get behind you when you pull out on the road these days. As they hold long, you can feel the stress in the pedals; something a more powerful engine might help reduce.
Nevertheless, no car is perfect, but the Kia Cerato is damn close and I don't regret my purchase for a second.