Kia Cerato Hatchback Review & First Drive

by under Review on 16 Aug 2013 06:46:54 AM16 Aug 2013
Price Range
$NaN - $NaN
Fuel Consumption
NaNL - NaNL/100km

Good looks, spacious interior, drives well, sharp prices


Tyres a little noisy on poor roads

Now here’s pressure. The Cerato is Kia’s best-selling car globally with more than 2.4-million sales in the books and the hatchback model accounts for 70 per-cent of Cerato sales…now it’s time for an all-new model.



Luckily Kia has German Peter Schreyer heading its styling team and one of the best engineering departments in the business, so…


Boom! The all-new Kia Cerato Hatchback has arrived brandishing a new look which is more dynamic, sleeker, lower and wider. It’s also better engineered and more spacious inside.


Best of all for local buyers, Kia has kept the pricing razor-sharp with the all-new Cerato Hatchback starting from $19,990.


“We have raised our game yet again with the all-new Cerato sedan, and – particularly with the addition of the hatch – the new range has added emotional appeal to its established core values of design, quality and value,” revealed Kia Australia chief Tony Barlow. But the all-new Kia Cerato range isn’t complete yet as the racy two-door ‘Koup’ – Kia’s first turbocharged car – is still en-route.



Kia Cerato Hatchback Overview

The all-new Kia Cerato Hatchback comes to market in the familiar Kia model grades – entry-level ‘S’ (exclusively powered by the 1.8-litre MPI petrol engine), mid-grade Si and range-topping SLi (both powered by the 2.0-litre GDi petrol engine).


Over the ‘S’ model, Kia Cerato Hatchback Si gains extras such as knit and tricot interior trim, 16-inch alloy wheels, rear-view camera, ‘leather-like’ dashboard trim and carbon-fibre-like fascia, 4.3-inch colour LCD touch-screen, premium steering wheel and power front windows.



Of course SLi goes further with additional features including interior leather (front seats heated), 17-inch alloy wheels, LED DRLs and rear lights plus HID head-lights, electronically-adjustable drivers’ seat, alloy pedals, colour TFT instrument cluster and satellite navigation (seven-inch colour screen). 


The full range is:

S 1.8 (manual)                                 $19,990

S 1.8 (automatic)                             $21,990

Si 2.0 (manual)                                $23,990

Si 2.0 (automatic)                            $25,590

SLi 2.0 (manual)                              $27,990

SLi 2.0 (automatic)                          $29,990

SLi 2.0 with nav. (manual)             $28,990

SLi 2.0 with nav. (automatic)         $30,990



Kia Cerato Hatchback Engine

Both of Kia Cerato’s engines (1.8-litre multi-point injection and 2.0-litre direct injection) are from the ‘Nu’ family (replacing the Theta II) and, helped by the new transmission ratios, these contribute to a 12.2 per-cent gain in power.



The 1.8-litre now delivers maximum power of 110kW at 6500rpm and peak torque of 178Nm at 4700rpm. Fuel consumption (combined cycle) is 6.6l/100kms (manual) and 7.1l/100kms (automatic).


For the 2.0-litre, you can chalk-up 129kW at 6500rpm and peak torque of 209kW at 4700rpm. Combined cycle fuel consumption is posted at 7.4l/100kms (both manual and automatic).


All Kia Cerato hatchback models employ six-speed manual or automatic transmissions with higher top gear ratios for enhanced fuel consumption and lower first gear ratios for faster standing starts.



As with the Cerato Sedan, Kia worked hard to improve the refinement of the all-new Cerato Hatchback with extensive efforts to reduce NVH. For starters the bodyshell is stiffer and the front-end sees vibration-damping subframe mountings.


In addition, acoustic deadening material fills the front side chassis members, A-pillars and side sills while the rear parcel shelf and hatchback get a thinsulator filling.



Kia Cerato Hatchback The Interior

Extra space inside the all-new Kia Cerato Hatchback is evident as soon as you climb in. It’s the old trick of a lower floor height facilitating extra headroom (12mm front and 10mm rear). There’s also extra shoulder room 9.0mm front and 5.0mm rear).



That spaciousness is exaggerated further up-front with large cushions for the seats. Even the glovebox is 30per-cent larger.


Drivers will appreciate the extra adjustment for the rake/reach adjustable steering wheel. As usual for Kia, the all-new Cerato Hatchback provides the driver with a slick instrument array (dot-matrix LCD for ‘S’ and ‘Si’ models and the excellent 4.2-inch colour TFT LCD for ‘SLi’).


We liked the curved centre stack with its modern IT-like appearance (boosted by a carbon-fibre look in Si and SLi).




Kia Cerato Hatchback Exterior & Styling

Kia’s design-lead new product development strategy has been fascinating to watch over recent years. Signing-up German ex-Volkswagen designer Peter Schreyer was a coup for Kia and the results are there in the metal, in showrooms – a range of vehicles boasting slick, contemporary styling which not so long ago would have been unheard of from any Korean brand.


Schreyer has established Kia design centres in Europe and North America and now also has an overseeing role for design at sister company Hyundai.



For the all-new Cerato Hatchback Schreyer sought to introduce some extra muscularity for the top-selling small car. Oozing European influences, the latest Kia Cerato hatchback is wider and lower and your eyes are drawn to the distinctive concave door contours.


Also getting attention are the extra front and rear side windows – a boon to design and also all-round visibility.


Compared to its predecessor, the all-new Kia Cerato Hatchback adopts a shorter bonnet and you’ll notice the Kia badge is affixed here and not on the grille.



We like the wide-looking rear hatch and the standard spoiler lends a sporty touch.


Dimensionally, the all-new Kia Hatchback is 10mm longer at 4350mm, 10mm lower at 1450mm and 5.0mm wider at 1780mm. The wheelbase is 50mm longer at 2700mm (same as Kia’s Sorento SUV).


And the aero is impressive – drag Cd 0.30 – helped by that rear spoiler and underbody panels.





Kia Cerato Hatchback On The Road

During our day on the Gold Coast for the national media launch, Car Showroom took two ends of the Kia Cerato Hatchback range – the entry-level S manual ($19,990) and the near range-topping SLi automatic ($29,990).


Once again the Cerato shows the benefits of Kia’s comprehensive local suspension and steering tune which sees our cars running unique spring and damper rates as well as calibration for the ‘Flex-Steer’ system.


Over the twists and curves of the Gold Coast hinterland both Kia Ceratos we drove impressed with nice behaviour of the MacPherson strut front/torsion beam rear suspension. There was excellent isolation over some of the major league bumps left after recent rains and turn-in/balance was high standard.


We did prefer the dynamics of the 17-inch alloy wheels on the SLi grade, but the S model was not far behind.



Same with engine response – good performance from the 2.0-litre, but the 1.8-litre was a willing and refined worker and made good use of the six-speed manual transmission.



Kia Cerato Hatchback Challenges

Just a bit of tyre noise on some of those crook, rain-damaged secondary roads.



Kia Cerato Hatchback Verdict

Kia Cerato remains one of our small car favourites. Impressive though the previous Cerato was, the all-new model is better all-round.


For us, Kia has made great strides in refinement – the all-new Cerato now really gives the best of the Europeans a run for their money. In fact the only small cars quieter on-road than the Cerato come from Germany and have starting prices well north of $20,000.


Go for one of the 2.0-litre-powered models if you can stretch, but there’s no ‘entry-level’ in the performance of the 1.8.




Kia Cerato Hatchback The Competition

Considering the stature of the opposition in Australia’s small car segment, the fact Kia Cerato has been a hot-seller underscores both its inherent qualities and strong value-for-money proposition.



Mazda3 remains the benchmark but as we write, the stunning all-new Mazda3 is just weeks away from launch at the Frankfurt Motor Show. We heard the latest Mazda3 challenges the Volkswagen Golf 7 for driving dynamics and we know, Mazda being Mazda, its all-new global superstar will be handsome in the looks department and ooze technology (just like the current Mazda3). Mazda Australia’s challenge, complicated by the Aussie dollar’s decline, will be to maintain the current $20,330 starting price for the Mazda3.


Ford Focus is the other superstar on Car Showroom’s ‘Small Car  Favourites’ list. The German-origin Focus, priced from $20,290 stamps its European design inside and out, drives brilliantly and offers 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre powerplants.


Good news for buyers in this league has been Honda’s intensive sharpening of its pricing pencils. The latest British-origin Honda Civic hatchback, from $20,650 is a great buy. Great to drive, great to look at and enjoying a 1.8-litre petrol engine, we’re huge fans of the Honda Civic.


Likewise the Renault Megane. French style and priced from $20,990, the latest Megane is all-class and makes you feel good every time you climb inside.



And of course the latest Toyota Corolla (from $19,990) and Hyundai i30 (from $20,990) must be in the mix.


Small cars are a dog-eat-dog business and so it really pays to shop around and carefully compare precise specifications and special offers.

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