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