Kia updates its mid-size hatch/sedan with some minor cosmetic details and changes the model specs.
The current iteration of the Kia Cerato has been on the local market since 2013. The Cerato hatch is a Volkswagen Golf/Opel Astra/Ford Focus competitor whereas the sedan is more of a Toyota Corolla/Volkswagen Jetta rival. The facelift hasn’t changed much about the car, but the spec levels of the 1.6 and 2.0 are slightly different.
As mentioned above, the aesthetic changes on this facelifted model are subtle. The exterior features redesigned head- and foglights, a reprofiled bonnet and front bumper, as well as black or gloss black grille trims. Sedan derivatives further receive a refreshed rear bumper and updated taillights, complemented by new, sportier alloy wheel designs. All models now feature electric folding mirrors as standard.
The Cerato is available in a choice of 10 exterior colours, including Clear White, Snow White Pearl, Silky Silver, Aurora Black Pearl, Metal Stream, Planet Blue, Temptation Red, Racing Red, Rich Espresso and Gravity Blue, the latter two being new additions to the line-up.
The interior design is identical apart from some new piano black trim around the fascia and Kia has updated some of the materials to make the cabin feel more upmarket. The dashboard plastic and door panel trim feel a bit softer to the touch and the gear lever has been revised to match the premium additions.
Updated materials have been used on the gear lever, dashboard and door panels
What's more, automatic derivatives drivers have a new Drive Mode Select (DMS) system at their disposal with three selectable modes – Normal, Sport and Comfort – which alter the effort required to turn the steering wheel, depending on their individual preferences.
Kia has persisted with naturally aspirated petrol powerplants: the 1.6-litre unit delivers 95 kW and 157 Nm, the 2.0-litre’s rated at 118 kW and 194 Nm and both motors are available with a manual or automatic transmission. At altitude, both models seemed capable on the short stint we drove on the freeways of Pretoria. The lack of turbocharged torque may make overtaking a little more difficult, but the performance was still adequate for those who aren’t in a rush.
Hatch and sedan get new alloy wheel designs for the facelift
Notable during our drive was the quietness within the cabin. Kia appears to have improved the build quality of its vehicles and it shows at freeway speeds where road roar from the tyres and wind noise from the joints are minimal.
The Korean manufacturer says that its fleet buyers tend to opt for the higher powered 2.0-litre, but prefer a lower specced interior with fewer features. The private buyer, by contrast, tends to prefer the 1.6-litre model, but with more features inside.
Kia has thus removed the 2.0 SX high-spec derivative and introduced a 1.6-litre SX high-spec hatch and sedan. The hatch is only available in a 6-speed manual, while the sedan is exclusively a 6-speed automatic. However, both sport xenon headlamps, front and rear PDC with a reverse-view camera, a smart key with stop/start button, a smart welcome lighting system, a supervision TFT LCD cluster and automatic dual-zone air-conditioning and leather upholstery.
Nonetheless, the entry-level 1.6 EX derivatives are equipped with numerous standard convenience features, including air-conditioning, automatic light control, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel-mounted controls for audio and cruise control, front and rear electric windows, LED daytime running lights, an MP3/iPod/USB compatible radio with CD front loader, rear air vents, 6 speakers, 60/40-split rear seats, as well as ISOFIX child seat anchors. The 2.0 EX features identical specification, except for an upgraded instrument cluster and leather upholstery.
The Kia Cerato will go on sale in October 2016 and comes Kia’s impressive 5-year/unlimited km warranty and 5-year/100 000 km service plan.
|KIA Cerato 1.6 EX Manual (Hatch & Sedan)||R299 995|
|KIA Cerato 1.6 EX Automatic (Hatch and Sedan)||R312 995|
|KIA Cerato 2.0 EX Manual (Hatch & Sedan)||R340 995|
|KIA Cerato 2.0 EX Automatic (Hatch & Sedan)||R353 995|
|KIA Cerato 1.6 SX Manual (Hatch only)||R344 995|
|KIA Cerato 1.6 SX Automatic (Sedan only)||R357 995|