The Cerato’s big selling point was value for money, writesGRAHAMSMITH
SOME drivers like their motoring to be exciting, but others simply want basic transport that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. It’s the latter group who will appreciate the Kia Cerato.
One of the last of the South Korean brands to launch here and a cousin to Hyundai, Kia is steadily finding its feet in this market.
It takes time for new brands to get their message out and Kia is still a relative newcomer, having only arrived here in the mid-1990s.
With improved models such as the Cerato, introduced in 2004, it’s finding acceptance with those who want the frills, but not necessarily the thrills of motoring. with the Elantra, which was made by Kia’s parent Hyundai.
The Cerato looked good, was well equipped and was good value with a competitive sub-$20,000 price tag.
It had a bigger cabin than its predecessor, had independent suspension at both ends and airconditioning was standard, along with twin airbags, all of which gave it an edge over many of its rivals.
Initially the Cerato was offered only as a four-door sedan, but in 2005, a year after the launch, Kia added a five-door hatch to the range.
The Cerato’s heart was a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with 101kW at 6000 revs and 182Nm at 4500 revs.
In standard form it came with a five-speed manual gearbox; a fourspeed auto was an option. At the time of its launch Kia claimed it would do the 0-to-100 km/h dash in 10.5 seconds — not startling, but around the mark for small cars.
Underneath it had a MacPherson strut front suspension with twin links and coil springs at the rear.
It was competent, but there was nothing inspiring in the way the Cerato rode or handled. Brakes were disc all round, but there was no antiskid braking system offered.
The Cerato had plenty of standard features, including airconditioning, CD sound, remote central locking and power windows and mirrors. PAY $8000 to $13,000 for the Cerato sedan, and $10,500 to $13,000 for the hatchback. SOUTH Korean build quality has come on in recent years, particularly that from Hyundai factories, which bodes well for Hyundai and Kia.
The Cerato build quality wasn’t rated as highly as similar Hyundai models such as the Elantra, but it was considered quite acceptable.
Here at carsGuide we receive few complaints from Kia owners, suggesting either they are getting a good run out of their cars, or don’t care.
The latter can be a problem when buying a used Kia because they are sometimes looked upon as disposable goods not to be looked after. Check for a service record— there’s no greater killer of cars than a lack of maintenance. It’s important that engine oil and filters be regularly changed to prevent the build-up of sludge in the engine. TWIN front airbags set the Cerato apart and make a good case for buying it. But the absence of antiskid brakes weakens the argument.
Anti-skid brakes give a driver the capability to avoid a crash, whereas an airbag provides protection once the metal starts to crumple.
Both systems are desirable, and should be high on the list of features for anyone shopping for a used car. MODEST performance suggests decent fuel economy, which is pretty much the case with the Cerato.
Most testers reported 8-9 litres for 100km at the time, carsGuide’s own testers reported a slightly higher figure of 9.7 litres/100km. NOTHING fancy, but if you’re on a tight budget, think about the Cerato.
Looking good: the Kia Cerato was well equipped and good value with a competitive sub-$20,000 price tag.