Korean hatches differ yet are similar. plots their strengths and weaknesses
KIA CERATO SLI HATCH VALUE
The Cerato’s price is drive-away, which makes it $1660 cheaper in the traffic. It has an array of advanced driver assist technology along with generous luxury features. In SLi spec, it has leather, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dedicated satnav, dual-zone climate control and so on. Warranty is seven years/unlimited km and capped price servicing for three years/45,000km costs $985.
The revamp looks a bit like a cheese wedge in profile. Kia has dressed it up with splashes of chrome, new lights and the corporate “dog bone” grille, with the roomy interior undergoing a similar refresh. Carbon trim inserts look cool but the interior doesn’t feel as modern as the i30. Has a large touchscreen and plenty of dials to play with, though.
The Cerato runs an older-tech multi-point injection 2.0-litre four cylinder (112kW/192Nm) that’s been around for yonks. The rationale is that it’s easier to meet coming Euro6 emissions regulations. It consumes a claimed 7.1L/100km. Transmission for the SLi is six-speed auto only driving the front wheels.
It’s a five-star performer with seven airbags and the necessary range of safety kit associated with that rating. However, Kia equips this model with such highly desirable driver assist features as blind spot detection, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert and lane departure warning plus forward collision warning, auto headlights and wipers and a reverse camera.
The Cerato’s suspension tune is calibrated for a sporty drive feel. It’s handy to drive with verve, giving more engagement than you’d expect from a hatchback econobox. Despite its age, Cerato has superior drive feel compared with most competitors. The engine is OK but doesn’t function as smoothly with the auto as the i30. There’s a bit of a rumble from under the bonnet. The driving position is widely adjustable.
HYUNDAI i30SR PREMIUM VALUE
This top-of-the-range i30 scores plenty of kit, Hyundai’s newest direct injection engine and arresting looks but it misses out on advanced driver assistance technology. As the top-spec i30, the SR Premium gets Apple CarPlay, rear-view camera, rear park assist, leather trim, auto headlights and wipers, satnav and plenty of luxury goodies. Capped price servicing is available over three years/45,000km and costs $747. The warranty is five years/ unlimited km.
Handsome from every external angle and inside, new i30 sits at the front of the pack in design terms. Driving is facilitated by a roomy interior and functional dash with 7.0-inch touchscreen. Dedicated satnav backs up streaming from your phone. It has a basic torsion beam rear suspension. Rear aircon ducts are a bonus as is the 10-way driver’s seat adjustment.
There’s a naturally aspirated, 2.0-litre direct injection four-cylinder (124kW/201Nm) under the bonnet and other technology to boost power and cut emissions and fuel consumption. Six-speed manual and auto are the transmission options. Minimal engine noise intrudes into the cabin and drive is to the front wheels. Fuel consumption is 7.7L/100km.
Five stars all the way with the benefit of seven airbags as well as a strong chassis and advanced materials. But as already mentioned, there is a glaring lack of equipment such as autonomous emergency braking, 360-degree camera, blind spot warning or lane keeping etc.
The i30 is a good thing to drive in all normal environments and has a sporty flavour in keeping with its looks. Hyundai’s local engineering input shows in the way it rides and handles and of particular note is how well the engine and auto transmission operate — the driveline is silky smooth like a luxury car.
VERDICT This is line ball. Do you want advanced driver assistance or a more modern looking cabin and a new technology engine? For me, it’s the i30