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New Cerato brightens up dreary C-segment

10.10.2013

Kia has seen unstoppable growth in recent years as the Korean brand has come of age, launching not only quality and value-driven vehicles, but ones you’d actually want to be seen in.

Yes, gone are the days when you would’ve wanted to park your Kia in the neighbour’s driveway, because the new breed is something to behold, particularly in the looks department.

It seems every model Kia launches is more stylish than the last and the Cerato hatch is no different.

Sharing the same front end as the sedan(launched in May this year), the hatch has the now-familiar tiger-nose front grille displayed proudly while the five-door’s derrière looks good wrapped in LED tail lights.

It’s a chiselled car and Kia has done a good job of injecting a personality into the usually dreary C-segment. The stylish 17-inch alloys on the top-spec Cerato are also a nice touch.

Inside, all the bells and whistles are present as per Kia’s norm. The use of premium materials and soft-touch finishes highlight the direction the brand is moving into. Some of the standard features include a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob, new 4.3-inch TFT LCD centre-fascia screen, a smart welcome-home lighting system along with a radio/CD/MP3 front-loader with iPod and USB connections.

Available in three spec levels cross two engines, Kia has tried to ensure there is a vehicle for everyone’s taste. The three derivatives are the 1.6 EX, 2.0 EX and 2.0 SX.

Under the hood, you’ll find the familiar 1.6-litre Gamma engine producing 95kW of power and 157Nm of torque. This was the derivative we drove on launch as the bigger 2.0-litre model will only arrive in November.

Available in either six-speed automatic or manual guises, the 1.6 litre is sufficient to cruise around town in but it’s hardly going to go like a rocket.

If you are looking for something with more gusto and flair, especially in the looks department, I would try and hold out for the Koup, which is earmarked to arrive late this or early next year and features the company’s new turbo-motor. But if you can’t wait until then, there is always the 2.0-litre four-cylinder Nu petrol engine, producing 118kW of power and 194Nm of torque and also available with both manual and automatic transmissions.

In addition, the 2.0-litre model in EX trim features front and rear park distance control, as well as an optional sunroof, while the top-spec 2.0 SX ups the ante with standard LED tail lights, a smart key with stop/start button, rear-view camera and xenon headlamps.

Not skimping on safety, all models will boast ABS with EBD, active headrests, impact-sensing auto door unlock, six airbags consisting of driver, front passenger (with on/off switch), side and curtain airbags, Isofix child-seat anchors and fog lights. 

The SX model features electronic stability control (ESC), hill-start assist and Vehicle Stability Management, a system that works with the ESC to provide ‘corrective’ steering inputs to help the driver avoid loss of control, especially on asymmetric (wet and dry) road surfaces.

Overall, Kia’s done an impressive job of growing its brand locally and with models like the Cerato hatch on offer, it’s easy to see why it has such a strong following. It’s stylish and loaded with creature comforts at alluring prices, although it could do with a few extra horses under the hood.

Pricing for the whole Kia Cerato range includes a 5-year/90 000km service plan, 5-year/150 000km warranty and 3-year/unlimited roadside assistance plan.

Pricing:

Cerato 1.6 Manual EX                  R229 995
Cerato 1.6 Auto EX                      R239 995
Cerato 2.0 Manual EX                   R259 995 
Cerato 2.0 Auto EX                      R269 995 
Cerato 2.0 Manual SX                  R289 995 
Cerato 2.0 Auto SX                      R299 995

Article written by Stuart Moir
10.10.2013
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