Econ­omy’s all-Kia

The Cerato’s big sell­ing point was value for money, writesGRAHAMSMITH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Cars 2004- 2008 Kia Cerato -

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.

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