THE new Kia Cerato, launched in Dubai last week, is going to cause a flutter in the C segment dovecot!
This segment of the market is one of the most keenly contested and where price and car specification play a major role in one's decision in buying a vehicle. Kia has shown in the past when launching new models, that their vehicles are fully specced and priced right.
The new Cerato carries on this tradition and when combined with a good build quality it should feature well in the sales charts.
What is it?
The new Cerato, to be launched in South Africa in May in a four-door sedan version, is powered by either a 1.6 or 2 litre petrol engine in manual or 6-speed auto gearbox.
Compared with its second-generation predecessor, Kia's best- selling model, is now 30mm longer (4560mm), 15mm lower (1445mm) and 5mm wider (1780mm). The wheelbase has been extended by 50mm to a height of (2700mm), becoming the longest in the C1 segment and is now the same as Kia's Sorento SUV.
How does it look?
The good-looking, spacious four-seater was created at Kia's American design centre in Irvine, California. The design team was directed by Peter Schreyer, Kia's legendary chief design officer and headed by Tom Kearns, chief designer, Kia Motors America.
Schreyer, known for his design of the iconic Audi TT and who also worked on various Volkswagen products, has produced yet another eye-catching car, although some may question the front grille styling.
The Kia badge is moved from the grille to the panel in front of the shortened bonnet. At the rear, the trunk lid is shaped to reduce aerodynamic drag and the rear combination lamps smooth the airflow while also reinforcing the car's wide stance.
What's it like to drive?
The launch took place on the superb freeways in and around Dubai and unfortunately did not include any challenging or dynamic driving conditions on the virtually dead straight roads.
We would have liked a more challenging route.
However, we were very impressed with the low levels of the noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) of the vehicle, a big improvement on the previous model. The Cerato had no visible faults in the handling, braking and overtaking departments, thanks to the peppy engines.
Any special features?
As mentioned above, we were impressed with the quality and quantity of the gadgets and gizmos on the test vehicle, which included a 10-way powered and ventilated driver's seat, heated front and rear seats, leather upholstery, smart keyless entry with engine start/stop button, Xenon headlamps, Bluetooth hands-free system with steering wheel-mounted remote controls, automatic windscreen de-fogging, plus manual and dual-zone climate control automatic air-conditioning.
Should you buy one?
The Cerato, Kia's best-selling model, should definitely be on one's shopping list but prices have not yet been announced and will play an important part in that decision.
Kia Cerato Sedan 2l
Engine: 2 litre direct-injection petrol
Power: 118kW @ 6500rpm
Torque: 194Nm @ 4800rpm
0-100km/h: v 8.5 seconds (9.3 auto)
Top Speed: 210km/h
Fuel Consumption: 6.9/100km (claimed combined)
Price: To be announced
Kia Cerato Sedan 1.6I
Engine: 1.6l Gamma, MPI, four-cylinder, DOHC
Power: 95kW @ 6300rpm
Torque: 157Nm rpm @ 4850 rpm
0-100km/h: 10.1 seconds (11.6 auto)
Top Speed: 200km/h
Fuel Consumption: 6.5/100km (claimed combined)
Price: To be announced
Finish, fit and spec
We don't like:
Not evaluating vehicle on more challenging roads