KIA Cerato Hatch 1.6 EX Manual Review
The new 2011 Cerato hatch breaks new ground for the KIA brand, which with this car establishes itself as a serious aspirational, sporty automotive brand alternative to the same old marques and announces itself as the BMW or Alfa of Korea. It’s that good. And very affordable for the package you get. The competition is going to battle to match this.
We tested the 1.6 manual in basic trim. In truth you don’t need more at sea level. It goes well, it’s nippy, a pleasure to drive and does everything it should, ticking all the right boxes on the way. I was pleasantly surprised with this car. The 2.0 litre models must be quite sporty with their extra 15% power.
Initially the electric (motor driven) power-assisted rack and pinion steering seems too light, almost unpleasantly so, and has a mid or centre spot which feels dead, until you get used to it. The steering becomes progressively stiffer the faster you go. You quickly become accustomed to it. The gears, clutch and handling are just right. It’s fun to drive and very responsive.
The interior has been well thought out. The controls for the aircon and fans feels a bit flimsy compared to the rest of the switchgear, but is much like other cars in its segment. The rest of the interior has a smart, sporty (but not boy racer) feel to it. Legroom at the back is surprisingly good. The cloth seats are comfortable and adjust easily.
Cerato Hatch comes standard with ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and EBD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution), as well as dual front, side and full-length curtain airbags. Active headrests are also standard on all models.
The 0 – 100 km/h sprint takes 10.3 seconds, average fuel economy is a claimed 6.6 L/100km and CO2 emissions are 158 g/km. I got just over 7 L/100km and the acceleration felt quick.
Standard equipment includes aircon, iPod and USB connectivity, MP3 compatible CD/radio with 6 speakers, electric mirrors and windows, immobiliser and full size spare wheel.
Nice touches are keyless entry, speed sensing auto door lock, Electric Chromic rearview mirror and three spoke leather steering wheel and gear knob.
The 1.6 we tested produces 91.2kW @ 6 300 and torque of 156 Nm @ 4 200.
Price is R185 995, the top of the line 2.0 Auto costs R215 995. Warranty is 5 year / 100 000km, Service plan 4 year / 90 000km and service intervals 15 000km.