A Week With Kia Cerato Sli – Review (2011)

July 24, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

Deceiving, spritely, roomy, simplicity are words which describe the Kia Cerato or so I found out after a week long road test.

Released into the Australian market in 2009, the Kia Cerato falls into the mid size car category competing with the likes of the Mazda 3, Hyundai i30, Honda Civic, and the Mitsubishi Lancer.


With a current price of $18,990 for the base model it certainly is not as expensive as many of the competition and the 5 year unlimited kilometre warranty provides the purchaser with the perception of trouble free driving for years to come.

All models are powered by a Euro IV compliant 2 litre, four cylinder, front wheel drive engine generating 225kw of power and 194nm of torque with either a five speed manual or 6 speed automatic transmission.

Safety features standard across the range include 6 airbags, ESC and ABS with EBD which contribute to the overall 4 star crash rating.


Putting aside all the technical specifications the Kia Cerato follows the trend of most car manufacturers by incorporating European styling in the design. Styling which is evident in the flared mudguards, swooping boot and the stream lined tail lights, head lights and grill. 

Externally the Kia Cerato is further evidence of the significant progress that this Korean manufacturer has made over recent times. The build quality can not be faulted and from my perspective the Kia Cerato would not look out of place parked alongside the likes of a 3 series or a C Class. But don’t let them know I said that.

Internally is where the Kia Cerato is deceiving. For a mid size car the Kia Cerato was able to comfortably seat 5 adults even with the front driver steat at full extension. 

The boot is deceptively large which was proven by the Ashley test (see below) with even room for another.


Simplicity describes the interior design from the cloth trim through to the plastic dash and storage areas. Thankfully, this simplicity has also found its way to the climate control and audio allowing even the most inept techno tragic, such as myself, to adjust the heat or tune the radio and program the blue tooth. 

With three dials on the dash, Speed, Fuel and Tacho Kia continues this simplicity theme which is a welcoming change. For those of us desperate to know the temperature and trip distance this is all satisfied by the unimposing trip computer.

While the bluetooth was effective and simple to configure an annoying observation was that it would not recognise voice mail (on the Apple iPhone).


Included in the Sli model is the flappy paddle gearbox which like many others I consider a gimmick but in the Kia it is responsive and works. The steering wheel is also home for the cruise control, audio and blue tooth controls. All of which performed as expected.

Road handling and performance is where the Kia is spritely, with its 2 litre engine, flappy paddle or quick shift transmission the Kia takes off at the lights and before you know it you are cruising along the road. 

It is not only in a straight line that the Kia is responsive, cornering and contending with the seemingly ever present traffic calming measures the Kia Cerato did not miss a beat.

Fuel economy, dependent on driving style, ranges from low 6s per up to 7s per 100.

When attempting to identify the negative features with the Cerato care must be had not to compare it with the more expensive brands in the market place which given the build quality and performance would be easy to do. 

This is a car with a starting price of sub $19,000 and which for that price offers so much.

The lack of a storage pocket behind the drivers seat and adjustable electric seats are the main omissions identified but lets be honest neither would be considered a deal breaker.

Another negative, and it is something common across a lot of other brands, is the blandness in the interior trim with manufacturers seeking the safe options, where has our individuality gone?  

Also given the wide range of colours available I would recommend that as a purchaser to stay away from the white, I know it is safe but it also screams company car.

From the family point of view, the Cerato would represent the perfect second or infact primary family vehicle. My children, Ms 9, Ms 7 and Mr 5 enjoyed the driving experience and there were no complaints or fights emanating from the back seat. When asked what they liked about the car Mr 5, the adventurous one, loved the 60/40 rear seats not because it offered increased storage but for the fact that he could climb through the car from the boot into the cabin. He also liked the keyless entry which meant that he could open the boot with the press of a button. Ms 9 and Ms 7 liked the road visibility and stereo although thankfully both aren’t into Justin Beiber.

The Kia Cerato is a strong competitor, in this sector of the market, and having driven the car for a week and put it through the trials of family life it is clear to see why. So when looking for that second or primary family car the Kia Cerato should certainly be on your list if not only for the reasons that it is deceiving, spritely, roomy, and its simplicity.

For further information: www.kia.com.au

Tags: , ,

Category: Reviews

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.