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.


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.

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