The Pre­mium pre­sen­ta­tion

Kia’s lat­est of­fer­ing is a sleek and un­com­pli­cated pack­age of what buy­ers tend to go for, PETER BARN­WELL writes

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE -

KIA’S Cerato com­petes in a stove-hot small car seg­ment but has the ad­van­tage of be­ing one of the best-look­ing con­tenders.

It’s pretty sharply priced and has a de­cent amount of stan­dard kit.

But Kia saw an op­por­tu­nity to slip in a lower cost, well specced ver­sion and fully tap the mar­ket. So it came up with the S Pre­mium – es­sen­tially the base model op­tioned to the next level up the Cerato food chain – at a tempt­ing price.

It’s a five-door hatch/four­door sedan that sells for $24,590, com­plete with sixspeed auto trans­mis­sion, sat­nav, re­vers­ing cam­era, seven-inch info screen, auto head­lights and wipers, trip com­puter, cruise con­trol, front and rear park sen­sors, air­con, key­less en­try and 16-inch al­loys.

Blue­tooth phone and au­dio stream­ing is a given at Kia these days, along with a five-star crash rat­ing.

Kia ba­si­cally looked at what buy­ers were go­ing for, added the fea­tures into the base spec car and came up with the S Pre­mium.

Good move.

But it misses out on the re­ally im­pres­sive 2.0-litre, di­rect in­jec­tion, petrol en­gine and all it brings, es­pe­cially en­hanced re­sponse from more power and torque.

In­stead, the S Pre­mium gets the older 1.8-litre, multi-point, four cylin­der, still with a handy 110kW/178Nm out­put that more than cov­ers the com­pe­ti­tion.

It’s helped along by Kia’s im­pres­sive six-speed auto trans­mis­sion that’s avail­able in most of the Kia line-up.

This trans­mis­sion gives smooth, pre­dic­tive op­er­a­tion and is rarely, if ever, caught in the wrong cog – un­like some other au­tos. It’s hugely bet­ter than the usu­ally hor­ri­ble CVT “au­tos” fil­ter­ing into the small car seg­ment.

The en­gine is rel­a­tively smooth run­ning but can be heard when you use the throt­tle vig­or­ously.

We would rate the S Pre­mium’s per­for­mance on par with most of its com­peti­tors in terms of drive feel, per­for­mance and fuel ef­fi­ciency rated at be­tween 7.1 and 7.4 litres/100km (hatch/sedan). And that’s reg­u­lar 91 oc­tane.

It weighs about 1300kg but feels lighter, thanks in part to the lo­cally fet­tled dy­namic cal­i­bra­tion, which im­parts a dis­tinct sporty feel the Cerato S Pre­mium’s drive feel.

Kia set the steer­ing and sus­pen­sion to suit lo­cal con­di­tions by test­ing and cal­i­brat­ing the car here. It’s the only way to go.

Flex­is­teer is on this model too, of­fer­ing three dif­fer­ent weight­ings to the steer­ing – nor­mal, com­fort and firm (sporty).

In prac­ti­cal terms, the Cerato S Pre­mium doesn’t dis­ap­point, of­fer­ing five seats and a large load space in an at­trac­tively styled in­te­rior (a lit­tle too much grey though).

But most sur­faces are soft feel and the dash is stylish and func­tional.

Like the looks, the trans­mis­sion, the stan­dard fea­tures and the price. Awe­some war­ranty.

Def­i­nitely worth a look (and drive) in the small car seg­ment.

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