Kia Cerato is sporty with a touch of bling

Bobby Cheetham

KIA South Africa launched the eagerly awaited Cerato Koup T-GDI last week. First seen at the Johannesburg International Motorshow late last year, the sleek and sexy looking two-door vehicle is the next evolutionary step in the Cerato's line-up which is going to turn heads and fill the order books. What is it?

Following the local launch of both the Cerato sedan in May and Cerato 5 Hatch in the first week of October last year, the all-new two-door Cerato Koup boasts European-inspired design with matching performance delivered by the turbo powered four-cylinder petrol engine.

How does it look?

The Koup is a stunning looking car.

The legendary Peter Schreyer at the helm of design studio at KIA Motors America's (KMA) corporate campus in Irvine, California, has again worked his magic.

The Koup's sporty two-door profile, swooping roofline and large wheel arches give it an athletic and aggressive stance that continues KIA's tradition as a design leader.

The swept headlights stretch deep into the front fenders while the aggressive looking front fascia features a large bumper with black gloss grille inserts. The raked windshield and broad shoulders further add to the front end's sleek and muscular appearance. The front LED positioning lights create a distinctive on-road presence and the premium look is completed by rear LED tail lights and twin chrome exhaust tips. Gone are the days of shoddy design and poor quality of KIA vehicles of 10 years ago. In its place is a vehicle which takes its place with pride against some of the luxury German brands.

Inside the interior of the car features premium materials and soft touch points.

There are large, easy-to-read white-on-black gauges nestled deeply into the instrument cluster.

And for those who like bling, chrome accents around the controls, along with carbon fibre-like textures on the dash and seats, add a sporty touch.

A grippy leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob are further evidence of the Koup's performance intentions.

Several storage areas are provided for Koup's cabin. The size of the glove box is increased by 30% to eight litres, each front door pocket holds a 700ml bottle, while a cup holder is built into the rear side trim of the cabin.

Along the car's centre line, there is a sunglasses holder, covered two-litre console multi-box (ahead of the gear lever), twin cupholders (behind the gear lever) and a 5.6-litre centre console box between the front seats.

What's it like to drive?

The 1.6 turbo engine powers the Koup along at a very respectable rate and there's very little evidence of turbo lag, except on take off where it was noticeable.

It's a pity Kia had only two automatics on the launch and we did not get a chance to drive them.

The automatic transmission in the new Koup features two operating modes – fully automatic or 'Sport' engaged by moving the lever towards the driver when in D mode. For city driving, fully automatic mode is ideal, while 'Sport' mode allows for clutch-less sequential manual gear changes for greater driver involvement.

To reduce fuel consumption and lower CO2emissions when cruising at speed, both the six-speed transmissions feature high top-gear ratios and low first-gear ratios that enable drivers to fully enjoy the new Koup's off-the-line performance, claim KIA.

The advanced powertrain features double overhead cams with dual continuously variable valve timing to help improve efficiency and performance.

Power is seamlessly transferred to the front wheels via a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

To help further improve performance, the Koup features a sport-tuned suspension with a McPherson strut setup in front and a torsion beam rear design, ensuring an enhanced and exhilarating driving experience.

Any special features?

The Koup comes fully loaded as far as spec is concerned. All the gismos and gadgets are there. From touch screen display to full digital instrument display are standard. The only options are an auto box, sunroof and metallic paint.

Once again Kia has shown the competitors that a long list of options is only one way of skinning the buyer into forking out more hard earned cash.

Should you buy one?

KIA has forged ahead in design and quality and there's no doubt that, at the price of R334 995, the car will find many willing buyers.

The Korean car manufacturer has once again worked its magic.


KIA Cerato Koup T-GDI

Engine: 1591cc litre four cylinder turbo

Power: 152kW at 6000rpm

Torque: 265Nm at 1750 - 4500rpm

0-100km/h: 7.4 seconds

Top Speed: 222km/h

Fuel Consumption: 7.2/100km (man claimed combined) 7.9 auto

CO2: 170 / 187 g/km (man, auto)

Price: R334995 man R346995 auto

We like:

General driveability of the 1.6 turbo engine

We don't like:

Turbo lag on take-off

WHAT A STUNNER: The Cerato Koup's sporty two-door profile, swooping roofline and large wheel arches give it an athletic and aggressive stance