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2013 Kia Cerato S Review

Joel Helmes reviews the entry-level Kia Cerato.

2013 Kia Cerato S Review

The new Kia Cerato takes what was a reasonably good model and pushes things to a whole new level.

The new Cerato shares a lot of the same underpinnings as our 2012 Car of the Year – the ultra-impressive Hyundai Elantra.

From the outside you can see some similarities, though I must say I do prefer the cleaner and more understated lines of the new Kia offering.

Starting at just under $20,000 ($19,990 to be exact), the Cerato S features a 1.8L four cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission.

I had the six-speed automatic version, which will set you back exactly $2,000 more.

At $21,990 the new Kia Cerato represents tremendous value for money and the same premium feel that attracted us so strongly to the Elantra last year.

That 1.8L engine is the same unit as what’s found in the Elantra, it delivers 110kW and 178Nm and while that may seem a little tame I really don’t think for most applications you would need any more.

Though this is where the Cerato does have a point of difference over the Elantra, if you want a little more get-up-and-go a 2.0L engine with 129kW and 209Nm is available in upper-spec versions of the Kia offering.

Power delivery from the smaller engine is smooth and it’s certainly quite willing even at speed. The engine does however get just a little noisy when pushed hard, but in all I was again quite impressed with this power plant.

Fuel economy was excellent, I did some highway runs and got down to a combined 7.4L/100km, around town expect to use about 7.9L/100km and the official combined figure is 7.1L/100km.

On the road the Cerato is just a pleasure to drive. It delivers a great ride, really nice handling and you also get the option of changing steering weight and feel with Kia’s Flex-Steer system (my preference was the ‘Comfort’ setting).

From the drivers sear visibility is excellent and the gauges are clear and easy to see at a glance. The driver info screen though is probably just a touch busy and trying to focus on info on the run can be a bit distracting.

The dashboard layout is a little more ‘conventional’ than the Elantra, though it is quite attractive. I enjoy a simple climate control interface and the Cerato S certainly boasts that.

Cabin storage areas could be described as adequate but not great, same really for legroom which I thought was perhaps just a touch disappointing especially in the rear.

The feel inside the cabin, while in parts is very impressive, is also a little disappointing with some rather uninspiring hard plastic used in fairly large proportions. The Elantra, from memory, has a nicer feel and finish in the cabin.

I thought the arm-rests could also have just been a little softer and a bit more forgiving.

Unfortunately on the S spec Cerato a reversing camera and satellite navigation are going to be things you will have to do without, neiher are available even as options.

In saying all of that there are plenty of good points in the cabin too, including; really comfortable seats, a nice steering wheel button arrangement, twin 12v power outlets in the centre console and quite a good stereo system.

The boot is also very spacious and with a folding 60/40 rear seat you have plenty of cargo capacity.

On the safety front the new Kia Cerato is yet to be ANCAP rated.

Summing it up – the Kia Cerato S offers great looks, really good pricing, a good standard features list, impressive road manners, excellent fuel consumption and a willing engine.

Overall one of the best cars I have come across in 2013.


Engine: 1.8 litre petrol delivering 110kW and 178Nm

Transmission: Six-speed auto or six-speed manual

Safety: Not yet tested

Warranty: 5 years

Price: From $19,990

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