I’m so glad I drove this car before getting into the new turbocharged GT.
The Cerato Sport is a genuinely sporty car, despite its station and close to ideal if you’re on a tight budget.
I was however disappointed to find many of the high end safety features fitted are in fact part of an optional safety pack.
Even so you’d be crazy not to fork out the $1500 for them.
The safety pack also lifts the car’s safety rating from four to five stars.
For mine, the sedan is the pick, with its sporty stance, coupe-like profile and smart, 17 inch alloys.
We’ve watched this car grow and mature over the years, morphing from basic transport, into something that looked vaguely interesting, and now into something you’d definitely like to see sitting in your driveway.
It’s a better looker than its cousin the Hyundai Elantra too, in the same way that an Audi is more attractive than a Volkswagen.
What’s it cost?
There’s four models: S, Sport, Sport+ and GT Turbo.
Prices currently start from $19,990 driveaway for the S with a manual and you can pick from the hatch or sedan for the same price.
Our test vehicle, the Sport, is $24,190 or $25,690 driveaway with the safety pack, .
For your money you get cloth trim, standard air conditioning, 17-inch alloys, daytime running lights (though not LEDs), height and reach adjust steering wheel, height adjustable driver’s seat, dusk sensing headlights, cruise control, front and rear park sensors, reversing camera, anti-theft alarm, and six-speaker audio.
The freestanding, tablet-style 8.0 inch touchscreen includes satellite navigation, DAB digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Safety stuff includes six airbags, electronic stability control, auto emergency braking, lane keep assist and driver attention monitor.
The auto emergency braking is less sophisticated than that which comes with the safety pack, in that it does not extend to cyclists and pedestrians.
Safety Pack includes the following (note also active cruise control):
AEB (Autonomous Emergency Brake) with FCWS (Forward Collision Warning System) – Pedestrian & Cyclist Avoidance (AEB with FCWS – Car Avoidance, is standard on theCerato Sport)
BSD (Blind Spot Detection)
RCTA (Rear Cross Traffic Alert)
SCC (Smart Cruise Control ) with steering wheel mounted controls
Electric folding outside door mirrors with automatic folding function
What’s it go like?
The 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four cylinder petrol engine in this model produces 112kW of power and 192Nm of torque, the latter from 4000 revs.
It’s paired with a 6-speed auto that features Smart, Comfort and Eco and Sport modes, the first three engaged via a console button, the latter by nudging the gear selector across to manual mode (confirmed by the appearance of an S in the display).
You don’t get gear change paddles however.
Let’s get something straight. This set up won’t hold a candle to the recently released GT with its 150kW turbo.
BUT there’s nothing dull or lifeless about the naturally aspirated engine, as you might expect given its near entry level status. It’s a willing worker, that likes to rev and even produces a healthy note when you’re really going for it.
The clincher however is that it can deliver claimed fuel consumption of 7.4L/100km. In fact, we did better than this, with a 6.9L figure after exactly 500km — and it takes standard unleaded.
You’ve got to love this!
The Cerato is large for its size, bridging the small and medium categories, can seat four adults comfortably and has a large boot.
There’s a surprising amount of legroom in the back, but alas no outlets for the aircon.
The driver’s seat is height adjustable, the wheel reach and height adjustable, with a dash that comprises two large, easy to read white on black analogue dials with an info screen between them that can display speed digitally.
And of course there’s the big, beautiful, tablet-style touchscreen, with creamy rich graphics that lets you know when you’re approaching a speed camera.
It’s an easy car to drive, with nicely weighted steering and a ride that is neither firm nor soft, benefiting from Kia’s local suspension tuning program.
It corners flat too, with plenty of grip from the 225/45 Kumhos.
The one thing that drove me to distraction was being unable to unlock the boot from the back. You have to either use the key fob or pull the release lever located on the floor in the front.
A first world problem, I know . . .
What we like?
Big small car
Seats four adults comfortably
Genuinely sporty feel
Front and rear park sensors
What we don’t like?
Can’t unlock boot from the back
No gear change paddles
No CD player
Auto lights, but no auto wipers or mirror
Tyre noise on coarse bitumen
Space saver spare
The bottom line?
The Cerato Sport looks great, goes as good as it looks and uses hardly any fuel. In terms of value for money it doesn’t get much better than this and let’s not forget that market leading 7-year warranty.