Kia Cerato Si takes big car spaciousness and comfort and wraps it up into a neat small-car package
What we like:
- Surprisingly cavernous interior
- Comfortable seats
- Quiet and able engine
- Great ride quality
Not so much:
- Temperamental infotainment system
- Average fuel consumption
- Interior design is a little “unusual” in places
- Whole package lacks a little sparkle
The Kia Cerato is Kia’s entrant to the small hatch market, and it shares a number of components with its sister, Hyundai Group’s other small hatch, the Hyundai i30. In the market place, the Kia Cerato takes on everything from the award-winning i30, the Mitsubishi Lancer, Holden Cruze to the Ford Focus, Mazda3 and even the Volkswagen Golf.
Price and Equipment
The Kia Cerato range is offered in sedan, coupe and hatchback body styles. As we sampled the Kia Cerato Si hatch, we’ll focus on the hatchback line-up for this review.
The Kia Cerato hatch line-up consists of the entry level S, the S Premium, the Si and SLi. Prices start at $19,990 for the Cerato S manual with a 1.8 litre petrol engine and rise to the Kia Cerato SLi with a six-speed auto and a punchier 2 litre petrol motor for $31,990. The Kia Cerato Si hatch is priced from $28,990 plus onroads.
Standard equipment on the Si includes leather trim, a touchscreen infotainment system with satellite navigation, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera with guidance lines, Bluetooth handsfree and audio streaming, a host of airbags and alloy wheels.
We’ll cut to the chase – the Kia Cerato hatch’s interior is impressively packaged. This becomes immediately apparent when one slips into the backseat and finds there is an abundance of rear legroom for a car of this size.
Yours truly is around six feet tall and was able to easily stretch one’s legs. Head room is equally accommodating and the rear pew provides great back and under thigh support. Two passengers ill fit in the rear quarters easily, however three still may be at a pinch.
Front passengers enjoy a similar level of comfort, although those front leather seats aren’t heated or ventilated. Not a huge deal admittedly, but they can heighten a car’s appeal just that little bit further.
The dashboard design is simple, easy to navigate and everything seems pretty well screwed together with quality plastics and commendable build quality. They could do away with the fake carbon fibre trim, though.
The infotainment system is generally a useful piece of equipment, but we found it could be a little temperamental, with the unit being a little slow to boot up on occasion when the car was started.
Boot space is a generous 385 litres.
Engine and Transmission
The Kia Cerato Si is powered by a 2 litre petrol engine with direct injection produces 129kW @ 6500rpm and 209Nm @ 4700rpm and is paired to a six-speed automatic that drives the front wheels.
Again, the drivetrain is shared with the Hyundai i30. Together, the mechanical pair are a more the satisfactory portion of the Cerato Si package – the engine is smooth and quiet and only making itself heard in the upper to higher portions of the rev range. There’s more than enough zip to get the Cerato Si – lesser models use a 1.8 litre motor – confidently.
Official fuel consumption is rated 7.4 litres, however we struggled to better a notably thirstier 9 litres per 100 kilometres.
On The Road
The Cerato’s competent demeanour continues on the road. Kia has been wise in using its engineers to tailor the suspension and steering to local needs. The ride is smooth and composed at all times. Handling is neutral too – it’s not quite sporty, but it this isn’t a hot hatch, it’s value focussed small family car.
The electric steering has three settings – Sport, Normal and Comfort. Don’t bother with Sport which is too artificial and too heavy and Comfort is too light, vague and woolly. Normal is a good compromise – heavy enough to be communicative but light enough to make city driving a breeze.
The Kia Cerato range has been awarded a Five Star ANCAP safety rating. Dual front, side and curtain airbags are standard, along with anti-lock brakes, electronic traction control, electronic brakeforce distribution, front and rear parking sensors and a quality reversing camera with very effective guidance lines.
The Kia Cerato is backed by Kia’s market leading 7 year/unlimited kilometre warranty.
Kia Cerato Si Specs
Make and model: Kia Cerato Si
Engine type: 1999cc, inline four-cylinder petrol engine with DOHC, VVT and direct fuel injection. Power: 129kW @ 6500rpm
Torque: 209Nm @ 4700rpm
Transmission: six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Fuel consumption: 7.4 litres (combined)
Dimensions: 4350mm long, 1780mm wide, 1450mm high and 2700mm wheelbase
Steering: Electrically assisted Rack and pinion Country of Origin: Korea