Living up to expectations

Bobby Cheetham

IN January, World of Wheels attended the global launch of the new Kia Cerato in Dubai and we came away suitably impressed.

Now the Cerato has reached South Africa and we drove it in KwaZulu-Natal to see if it lived up to those earlier impressions.

The short answer – yes!

What is it?

This third-generation Cerato is styled and designed by the legendary Peter Schreyer, Kia’s chief design officer. Schreyer, who designed the Audi TT and other vehicles, had this to say about Kia: “In the past, the Kia cars were very neutral. When you saw one on the road, you didn’t really know if it was Korean or Japanese …I think it’s very important that you are able to recognise a Kia at first sight.”

How does it look?

Schreyer has waved his wand to produce a vehicle which, in some aspects, is better than many European models.

The sleeker new Cerato has cab-forward styling, a lower coupe-like roofline, distinctive eye-catching concave door contours and a rising beltline with a chrome window moulding extending into the C-pillar to project an aura of elegance.

At the rear, the boot lid is shaped to reduce aerodynamic drag and the rear combination lamps smooth the airflow.

What’s it like to drive?

The Cerato is available in three equipment levels across two engines – the 1.6 EX, 2.0 EX and 2.0 SX.

The 1.6 EX is a good runner and handles well. The engine likes to be whipped to get its true potential out of it, especially on hills. The 2.0-litre model has more “get up and go” and is our choice as the best of the bunch.

Steering is good, if a bit “light”.

This is due to a responsive steering “feel” and precise vehicle control, because of Kia’s MDPS (motor driven power steering) system. Kia says electric power assistance, rather than hydraulic assistance, delivers a significant (up to 3%) fuel saving.

In the 2.0 EX model, an advanced flex steer system allows the driver to individualise his or her driving style with the flick of a switch. Three settings are available: normal, sporty and comfort.

Any special features?

We have mentioned before that most Kia products generally have all the gadgets, bells and whistles one needs and are not optional extras as in many other cars. This puts the Cerato ahead of most competitors.

Should you buy one?

Yes, there is no reason to pass up on a good car like this one. And yes, the Cerato has a full- sized spare wheel.

All models come standard with a five-year/90000km service plan, a five-year/150000 km warranty and a three-year/unlimited roadside assistance plan.

THE SPECS

Kia Cerato Sedan

Engine: 1.6 litre In-line 4 cylinder 16 valve DOHC dual CVVT

Power: 95kW at 3 000 – 6 300rpm

Torque: 157Nm at 4 850rpm

0-100km/h: 10.1 seconds (auto 11.6)

Top Speed: 200km/h

Fuel Consumption: N/A

CO2: 154g/km (160 auto)

THE SPECS

Kia Cerato Sedan

Engine: 2.0 litre In-line 4 cylinder 16 valve DOHC dual CVVT

Power: 118kW at 6 200rpm

Torque: 194Nm at 2 000 – 4 300rpm

0-100km/h: 8.5 seconds (auto 9.3)

Top Speed: 210km/h

Fuel Consumption: N/A

CO2: 164g/km (170 auto)

PRICES:

1.6 – R219 995

1.6 AT – R229 995

2.0 – R249 995

2.0 AT – R259 995

2.0 SX – R279 995

2.0 SX AT – R289 995

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