Kia Cerato: say ‘si’ to extra features

Kia Cerato: say ‘si’ to extra features

Say ‘si’ to extra features

KIA’S refreshed Cerato may have missed out on a new generation chassis that underpins big brother Hyundai’s Elantra equivalent, but it takes a value path to gain traction with buyers.

Hi-tech driver assist technology now runs further down the Cerato food chain into the one-above-base Si model.

In the past, Kia has restricted advanced driver assist gear to top-of-the-range models.

This latest development adds a tremendous safety boost at a more affordable price.

Kia dropped the 1.8-litre engine from the line-up, opting for a 2.0-litre for all Cerato variants.

The Si sedan driven might not be the number one seller in the Cerato range but it stacks up strongly in the small sedan category.

Small sedans have a certain ‘grown up’ appeal over hatches with a clearly defined boot (plus lid for security) and passenger compartment.

Such is the case with Cerato Si, which would rate as one of the better looking choices in the category.

The mid-lifecycle upgrade to Cerato brings a refined exterior appearance with new lights and bumpers front and rear, new grille and more chrome bling.

Yet for some reason Kia went for 16-inch alloys instead of 17s… that’s old school.

The Cerato looks and feels bigger than it is. In the revised interior there is ample seating space for four (five at a pinch), with good headroom and adequate rear legroom. The boot’s large too.

Kia adds rear airconditioning vents, which occupants will appreciate, and folding rear seats accommodate long or odd loads.

Revised controls on the dash are stylish and easy to use. The same goes for the touchscreen and fast hook-up Bluetooth.

Adding more of a premium feel to the cabin are plenty of soft feel surfaces, and a modern and attractive dash design. But overall, the style leans to the conservative.

Several features make it a handy tool around town. The boot opens by remote, the turning circle is handy, and the reverse camera and rear cross-traffic alert come into their own in terms of safety and parking.

Access to all seats is easy, as is operating the dash controls, and there is ample storage.

On cold mornings, heated seats are great and push-button start is also handy, even if not entirely necessary. The satnav is quick and seems up to date while the audio delivers pleasing tones; the infotainment package is right up to the mark.

In Eco mode, Cerato sedan feels a little bit strangled so we drove chiefly in Normal or Sport. It didn’t seem to make that much difference to fuel consumption, which can be a tad heavy around town for a car this size.

The ride is comfortable and minimal jiggling or bump-thump intrudes into the cabin on rough roads.

On a good long journey, the Si can be driven with a bit of passion and will deliver more engagement than most of the competition.

All dynamics are certainly up towards the best of the rivals. Good brakes, well weighted steering, supple ride control, strong chassis: All the elements are there, but for sporty feel.

Kia’s excellent six-speed auto makes smooth and accurate shifts up and down.

Verdict: A good thing made better.