On the springboard
Kia’s firm local suspension tune underpins the Cerato’s leapfrog sales strategy
car. A $500 option pack that includes a camera isn’t available on the basic manual variant.
“If we could get a reverse camera in under $20,000, we would,” says Meredith.
In the 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 and owners will appreciate fuel economy rated at 7.1L/100km.
The six-speed manual gearbox is available only on the Cerato S, with an auto as standard on the S Premium, Si and SLi.
The infotainment is improved on all models.
It’s worth getting the option pack on the S auto just to get a bigger display screen, and the S has front and rear parking radar even without a rear camera.
Kia’s suspension guru Graeme Gambold has improved the steering feel and response as well as the stability of the chassis, despite going much firmer on all the settings.
On the safety front, the Si gets blind-spot and lanechange warnings, the SLi has a forward collision warning, lane departure assist and 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 in the class.
ON THE ROAD
The bolder nose means the Cerato now stands out in traffic and we’ve always liked the styling of the sedan and hatch alike. They are not nearly as bland as some in the class.
It’s hard to see or feel much improvement in the cabin but the 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.
The move up the model range brings more comfort and kit but the basic driving feel is much the same.
In corners, the tyres on the S roll around a bit. The upspec cars have more basic grip but most Cerato drivers won’t reach the limits except in an emergency.
The ride is good, with no thumping or banging, reflecting again the wisdom of proper suspension and steering tuning in Australia.
Even on some awful country roads north of Sydney the Cerato drives well, for the class and particularly for the price.
Looking at its rivals, there is every reason to consider — and take — a Cerato in a value-formoney cross-shop against the Hyundai i30, and the warranty and running costs also bring it into consideration against a Toyota Corolla or Mazda3.
It’s not as well known as those models but it looks good and drives better now after the update. The Cerato is still not the best in the class but it’s more than good enough.