Take the direct route
I’m considering buying a Kia Cerato. I would prefer the Si with the 2.0-litre motor but dealers I’ve spoken to say it’s been dropped — as has the SLi. Rumours suggest a facelift is on the way, then a complete new model in 2017. What have you heard? I notice on the web that South Africa has just had a facelift with a 1.6 and 2.0-litre. I’d like to buy soon — should I jump just yet or wait a little? David Keates
Hold your horses. A new-look Cerato will be in dealers by the end of the month. It’s only a facelift but importantly for you it’s unlikely to have the direct injection engine that you want. We hear it will make way for a less powerful old-school 2.0litre with multi-point injection and better fuel economy. It’s always a difficult decision whether to wait or jump when a new model is on the way. You need to weigh up the sharp runout deal on the current model against the benefits that come with a new model. Here are the current alternatives. Kia Cerato 2.0 Si Auto, from $28,990 This car has come of age. The runout S is a steal at just $19,990 drive-away, with an auto and $1000 gift card. But the Si has the engine you want — the powerful 129kW direct injection unit. The only question is whether it’s worth the extra $9000. Si adds leather, 16-inch alloys and satnav. It’s surprisingly sporty and has six airbags, rear-view camera and front and rear parking sensors. Fuel use is 7.5L/100km and it will cost you $982 to service over three years.
Mazda3 2.0 Touring Auto, from $26,790 Touring is the value model with a 114kW 2.0-litre engine and six-speed auto. Looks a million bucks, goes extremely well and uses hardly any fuel. Five-star safety with six airbags, rear-view camera and rear sensors. It’s more economical than the Cerato, using just 5.8L/100km, while services cost $918 over three years. Hyundai i30 2.0 SR Auto, from $27,890 One of the top sellers in the segment and deservedly so. With a six-speed auto and gets the same 2.0-litre direct injection engine as Cerato but tuned to 124kW. Impressive allround package, with excellent performance and superior ride and handling. Five-star safety with seven airbags, rear view camera and rear parking sensors. It is slightly thirstier, using 7.7L/100km but servicing is $747 over three years.
VW Golf 1.4T Auto Comfortline, $27,990 A 1.4-litre engine putting out 92kW sounds a bit pedestrian but trust us it goes. Uses hardly any fuel too, if that’s a consideration. The price includes a seven-speed DSG auto. The Golf sets the benchmark for ride and handling but the brand carries some baggage on reliability and the emissions scandal. Five-star safety with seven airbags, rear-view camera and front and rear parking sensors. Fuel use is an impressive 5.4L/100km but servicing is more expensive at $1052 over three years.
For mine the i30 is the standout. Good warranty, similar performance from the directinjection engine, cheap to service and the interior design and finish is better than Cerato.