Is a sub­tle nip and tuck enough to keep the Cerato rel­e­vant in one of the mar­ket’s tough­est seg­ments?

Car (South Africa) - - TEST -

R299 995

Y11,09 sec 95 kw/157 N.m 200 km/h OU would be for­given for not re­al­is­ing the Kia Cerato had re­cently un­der­gone a facelift. The changes are that sub­tle. Up­dates in other mar­kets in­cluded a new trim line and seven-speed dual-clutch trans­mis­sion, but here in South Africa, the com­pact hatch merely makes do with an up­dated “tiger nose” grille. And that’s ba­si­cally it; ev­ery­thing else remains the same.

Why the test, then? Well, in our March 2014 is­sue we pit­ted the Cerato 1,6 EX sedan against the Toy­ota Corolla 1,6 Pres­tige and Hyundai Elantra 1,6 Premium, but we had yet to sub­ject a hatch ver­sion to our rig­or­ous road-test pro­ce­dures. Given how com­pet­i­tive the com­pact- 7,80 L/100 km 154 g/km hatch­back mar­ket is, it remains a very rel­e­vant test. In that 2014 shootout, the Kia was deemed the vic­tor, but only just. Its sporty na­ture, com­pet­i­tive pric­ing and the added se­cu­rity of six airbags con­trib­uted to its vic­tory on that oc­ca­sion, but since then, a lot has changed and most of that in­volves the weak­en­ing of our cur­rency. And that means the Cerato range is now signi cantly more ex­pen­sive.

It’s not an ideal sit­u­a­tion for the Korean, as there are el­e­ments in the Cerato that have be­gun to show signs of age. The dot-ma­trix LCD in­fo­tain­ment screen is one – though it does re­main pleas­antly func­tional – but the cli­mate controls and other switches feel mod­ern and solid to the touch. Over­all, the de­sign comes across as clean and the switches and di­als are neatly placed.

The ne­ces­si­ties are all there as well, and safety fea­tures in­clude the afore­men­tioned six airbags and Iso x on the outer rear seats. A cen­tre arm­rest, rear air ven­ti­la­tion, mul­ti­func­tion steer­ing wheel and cruise con­trol are all specced as stan­dard, while ex­te­rior fea­tures in­clude LED day­time run-

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