Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE -

SIXTH on the sales lad­der is good, and more than good enough, for many car brands. Not Kia. And def­i­nitely not for Cer­ato.

The brand is look­ing to grow sales by ex­pand­ing ap­peal of its bud­get small be­yond the cur­rent 45-plus age group who dom­i­nate Cer­ato de­liv­er­ies.

Af­ter months as a run-out spe­cial, with an ef­fec­tive show­room deal at $18,990, com­pact Kia is fi­nally get­ting the work it needs to make run Toy­ota Corolla, Mazda3 and Hyundai i30 that dom­i­nate class.

The price line for new Cer­ato sedan hatch is rock solid at $19,990 on the road.

range of midlife up­dates in­cludes a 2.0-litre petrol en­gine as stan­dard, nose with big­ger grille open­ing and smaller head­lamps, im­proved in­te­rior trim

fit­tings, sharper sus­pen­sion and more safety equip­ment through­out the line-up.

“Our strat­egy was to add value to this midlife up­grade. The pric­ing has re­main un­changed for the vol­ume vari­ants,” says Kia Mo­tors Aus­tralia boss Damien Mered­ith.

“Drive-away been one of the great things our suc­cess. We’ve kept con­sis­tency with our pric­ing. We’re not go­ing to change that now.

“Our goal this model is break into the top five. I think fourth is where we should be.”

The up­dated Cer­ato def­i­nitely drives well for class and, af­ter Cars­guide cited harsh ride and noisy cabin of the pre­vi­ous model, there has been a lot im­prove­ment. Even Nexen tyres on are better.

Six airbags are stan­dard Kia Aus­tralia says it re­tains the five-star ANCAP score, al­though there is still PRICE: $19,990-$32,990 drive away WAR­RANTY: 7 yr/un­lim­ited km CAPPED SER­VIC­ING: From $2579 for years SER­VICE IN­TER­VAL: 12 months/15,000km SAFETY: 5 stars EN­GINE: 2.0-litre 4-cyl, 112kW/192Nm TRANS­MIS­SION: 6-speed man/ auto; FWD THIRST: 7.1L/100km WEIGHT: From 1770kg SPARE: Full-size al­loy (steel on base model)

no re­vers­ing cam­era on the starter car. A $500 op­tion pack that in­cludes a isn’t avail­able the ba­sic man­ual vari­ant.

“If we could get re­verse in un­der $20,000, would,” says Mered­ith.

In 2016 line-up of sedan and hatch, the 2.0-litre en­gine loses the out­go­ing en­gine’s di­rect fuel in­jec­tion. Kia says it’s happy with 112kW/192Nm own­ers will like 7.1L/100km econ­omy. The six-speed man­ual gear­box is avail­able only on the Cer­ato S, an auto as stan­dard S Pre­mium, Si and SLi.

in­fo­tain­ment is im­proved on all mod­els. It’s worth get­ting op­tion pack just to get a big­ger dis­play screen. the has front rear park­ing radar, even with­out a cam­era back.

Kia’s sus­pen­sion guru Graeme Gam­bold has im­proved steer­ing feel and re­sponse as well as the sta­bil­ity of the chas­sis, de­spite go­ing much firmer on all set­tings.

On the safety front, the Si gets blind-spot and lane-change warn­ings, SLi has a for­ward col­li­sion warn­ing, lane de­par­ture as­sist up­graded sta­bil­ity con­trol.

As al­ways, Kia is trum­pet­ing the long­est fac­tory war­ranty in Aus­tralia — seven years — and capped-price ser­vic­ing costs which it claims are the best class.


The bolder nose means the Cer­ato now stands out in traf­fic and we’ve al­ways liked styling of sedan and hatch.

It’s hard to see or feel much im­prove­ment cabin but car is def­i­nitely qui­eter on the go. The six-speed man­ual has a light feel but few will ap­pre­ci­ate this as they go for the auto with newly added driv­ing mode se­lec­tor.

move up model range brings more com­fort and kit but the ba­sic feel is much same.

In cor­ners, the tyres on S roll around a bit. The up­spec cars have more ba­sic grip but few Cer­ato driv­ers will reach the lim­its.

The ride is good, with no thump­ing or banging, reflecting again wis­dom of proper sus­pen­sion and steer­ing tun­ing in Aus­tralia. Even on some aw­ful coun­try roads north Syd­ney the Cer­ato drives well, for class and par­tic­u­larly the price.

Look­ing at its ri­vals, there is ev­ery rea­son to con­sider — take

a in a value-for-money cross-shop against Hyundai i30, and the war­ranty and run­ning costs also bring it into con­sid­er­a­tion

Toy­ota Corolla or Mazda3. It’s not as well known as those mod­els but looks good drives better now af­ter up­date. The Cer­ato is still the best in the class

it’s more than enough.

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