[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith more than 3 million units sold globally over three generations since 2004, KIA Motors this week introduces an upgraded version of its highly successful Cerato range.
With a strikingly refreshed exterior design, a tangibly upgraded interior as well as a spattering of innovative new features, the enhanced KIA Cerato range is poised to continue the success of its predecessors.
Manufactured at KIA’s Hwasung facility in Korea and launched in South Africa in May 2013, the current, third-generation KIA Cerato quickly established itself as a high-quality offering in the C-segment, as evidenced by the high ratings the model has received from its owners.
With an average Reevoo score of 8.8 out of a possible 10, the Cerato scores almost full marks from current owners and drivers for its comfort, value for money, practicality, features and specification. KIA Motors South Africa remains the only manufacturer to make use of the independent Reevoo customer satisfaction survey, and to publish owners’ opinions – positive and negative – on its website.
Originally created at KIA’s USA Design Centre in Irvine, California, the updated Cerato benefits from a new, more modern look, that emphasizes the dynamic muscularity of the car while retaining its low, coupe-like roofline, sleek silhouette and cab-forward styling.
For sedan and hatchback models, the front of the car gets updated black or gloss black trim for KIA’s signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille, as well as newly-designed headlamps, a new front bumper and fog-lamps, as well as a reprofiled hood. Sedan models also receive a new rear bumper and tail-light design, complemented by new, sportier alloy wheel designs. All models now feature electric folding side mirrors.
The Cerato sedan’s dimensions are unchanged (4560 mm long with 2700 mm wheelbase, 1780 mm wide, and 1445 mm high), offering buyers ample interior space, high levels of practicality, and the same sporty appearance. The Cerato is available in a choice of 10 exterior colours, including Clear White, Snow White Pearl, Silky Silver, Aurora Black Pearl, Metal Stream, Planet Blue, Temptation Red, Racing Red, Rich Espresso and Gravity Blue, the latter two being new additions to the line-up.
New materials and features
Every model in the upgraded KIA Cerato line-up has received a range of updates to the interior to create a more premium ambience. KIA’s interior designers have, for example, introduced new materials to the dashboard and door trims, as well as to the centre fascia and console hood, while silver and piano black trim add a more sophisticated ambience to the cabin. The gear-shift lever has also been redesigned for a higher quality look and feel, as well as improving comfort when actuating shifts.
However, upgrades to the KIA Cerato go beyond visual modifications: in the automatic models, to enhance driver engagement, drivers have a new Drive Mode Select (DMS) system at their disposal with three selectable modes – Normal, Sport and Comfort – which alter the effort required to turn the steering wheel, depending on driver preference.
Choice of four-cylinder engines and six-speed transmissions
The enhanced KIA Cerato range is still available with a choice of highly-efficient four-cylinder engines and six-speed transmissions, each channeling power through the front wheels. At the entry point, Cerato is powered by a 95 kW 1,6-litre ‘Gamma’ engine, while a 118 kW 2,0-litre ‘Nu’ engine is also on offer. Both engines are comparatively light in weight, aided by cylinder blocks and heads made of cast aluminium, while multi-point injection aids lower emissions and higher efficiency.
Revised model line-up
Based on segment trends and customer demand, KIA Motors South Africa has revised the Cerato range slightly. Both hatch and sedan are still available in EX trim (1.6 and 2.0, both offered with a choice of 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission), but the former range-topping 2.0 SX models have been deleted. In its place comes a new, previously unavailable 1.6 SX model, also available in hatch or sedan. The 1.6 SX Hatch is only available with a 6-speed manual transmission, while the 1.6 SX Sedan is only available with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The 1.6 EX models feature a vast array of standard convenience features, including air-conditioning, automatic light control, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel-mounted controls for audio and cruise control, front and rear electric windows, LED daytime running lights, an MP3/iPod/USB compatible radio with CD front loader, rear air vents, six speakers, 60/40-split rear seats, as well as ISOFIX child seat anchors. The more powerful 2.0 EX features identical specification, except for an upgraded instrument cluster and leather upholstery.
The higher specification 1.6 SX models build on the comprehensive standard features of the EX models, but gain a number of features such as HID xenon headlamps, a rear view camera, a smart key with stop/start button, a smart welcome lighting system, front and rear park distance control, a supervision TFT LCD cluster and automatic dual-zone air-conditioning.