The revamped Kia Cerato is the complete car for our times, especially for entrepreneurs – much like the VW Golf 1 or the Ford Cortina back in their day.
Let me explain.
The Cerato is just the right size, not too small not too big; just the right performance, not overly powerful, but also not “pap”; just enough style, not outrageous but also not bland – in short a car that delivers more than its price tag. Bear in mind that Kia quality is as good as any of the so-called premium brands and better than some of them.
The fit and finish on the Cerato is excellent, as is the choice and use of materials, textures and colours. The cabin is a very pleasant place. Sensible use of leather on the multi-function steering wheel and stitching on the instrument binnacle cover lend the interior a feeling of luxury.
The 1.6 manual EX hatch, as tested, does not have climate control, but its air-conditioning system works very well. The 2.0 litre models have climate control and leather seats. The sound system is a pleasure to use and includes Bluetooth connectivity and USB/jack.
The cloth-covered seats are comfortable and quite adjustable. Leg room at the back is good. The boot has a tough non-slip rubber mat.
The Kia is well-equipped as a standard. Front fog lights, daytime running lights, projection-type headlights, automatic light control, cruise control, as well as many passive and active safety features.
The SX models in addition have a rear view camera, front and rear park distance control and Xenon headlamps.
I found the handling and roadholding to be very good. Kia engineers have really put a very competent deal together. It is also a very economical package. I got an average use of 6.8 litres/100 km, but this drops to below 6 litres/100 km on the open road at 120 km/h. Acceleration between the gears of the 1.6 litre, which I tested, is acceptable but the 2.0 litre model will perhaps be better at high altitudes.
The Cerato 1.6 manual EX is priced at R233 995 and the auto version costs an extra R12 000. The 2.0 litre models start at R264 995 with the top spec 2.0 auto SX coming to R306 995. There are no diesel versions available in the range at present. The hatch and sedan models are priced the same.
All Ceratos come with a five-year or 150 000 km warranty and five year or 90 000 km service plan, with a three year roadside assistance plan.