2018 Kia Cerato S Review

2018 kia cerato

I’d have thought Kia’s Sportage or Rio would be its top seller here but no, it’s the Cerato small car in sedan and hatch that tops the sales charts.

It’s because Cerato offers great value for money especially the test drive entry level S model with six speed auto selling for an incredible $19,990 drive away.

Add the optional $500 audio visual package with reverse camera along with Apple/Android streaming and Bob’s your uncle. But there’s a new generation Cerato around the corner with the sedan here mid year and the hatch towards the end of 2018.

Get in quick for a bargain.


Recently restyled, current shape Kia Cerato has been with us for quite a while but still looks good particularly around the frontal area with its trademark tiger nose grille and ‘predatory bird’ headlights.

The hatch has attractive lines from every angle and is a neat design but is a little too derivative of many other cars in the class.

Who was first?

Who knows, who cares, Cerato won’t cause you any aesthetic angst that’s for sure.

2018 Kia Cerato interiorInterior

Standard Korean 21st century here with a neat scalloped effect to the passenger side of the dash and door cards.

Bit too much grey plastic in this model but a decent size info screen, easy to use switches and buttons and plenty of close coupled functions for the driver’s cockpit.

The cloth upholstered seats are comfy and there’s adequate rear seat legroom with a decent size boot down the back. It’s all very functional and practical but could do with a bit more pizzazz.


As the base model, the 2018 Kia Cerato S misses out some goodies but gets a reasonable amount of handy kit expected in any new car these days like:

  • Front and rear park sensors
  • Remote central locking
  • Cruise control
  • Trip computer
  • Aircon
  • No cost auto transmission

Drive and Engine

Power comes from a 2.0-litre petrol four cylinder with old school multi-point fuel injection that’s good for 112kW and 192Nm while sipping E10 at a rate of 7.2-litres/100km.

The engine delivers good performance for the 1332kg Cerato and matches well to the slick six speed auto transmission.

Three drive modes are available, Normal, Eco and Sport and the dynamic package has been fine tuned for Aussie conditions by Kia’s suspension guru.

The 16-inch steel wheels look OK with spoked covers and the suspension, though a rudimentary torsion beam at the rear, gives the Cerato a sporty, controlled drive feel limited only by average tyre grip.

Minimal noise intrudes at any speed and the engine has enough go to cover most contingencies.

kia cerato side profileSafety

Cerato scores a five star ANCAP crash rating but all models miss out on advanced driver assist technology due to the age of the design. Even the reverse camera is in optional (together with Apple and Android Phone connection) on the S.

In scoring a five star rating, Cerato has the usual mandated features such as multiple air bags, multiple child seat harnesses and stability control.

Good Bits:

  • Affordable purchase price
  • Auto no cost option on S standard on other models
  • Respectable engine performance and economy
  • Tidy dynamics
  • Attractive looks
  • Unbeatable warranty 7 years/ unlimited km
  • Affordable fixed price servicing
  • Full size spare

Not So Good Bits:

  • No advanced driver assist features
  • Reverse camera optional
  • Steel wheels
  • Generic looking interior
  • Average tone from audio

2018 kia cerato rearSummary

If I was buying a Kia Cerato it would be this model because the top of the range variant costs 12 grand more and only gains luxury equipment, no net safety gains.

Buy the Cerato S at the rock bottom price, put a set of schmick 17-inch wheels and tyres on it and away you go. That warranty is extraordinary and Kias in general have a decent reliability reputation.

Facts and Figures: 2018 Kia Cerato S auto

  • Engine: 2.0-litre petrol four cylinder 112kW/192Nm
  • Transmission: Six-speed auto
  • Safety: 5-star ANCAP
  • Origin: Korea
  • Warranty: 7 years/unlimited km
  • Price: $19,990 drive away

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