Kia has bolstered its Cerato line-up with the addition of a hatch variant. Offered with two engines in automatic and manual setups, the Cerato hatchback takes aim at market favourites such as the Volkswagen Golf and Toyota Auris.
The two engines are a 1,6- and 2,0-litre. The latter of the two will only arrive towards the end of November, so we climbed behind the wheel of the smaller of the two with a manual ‘box and in EX spec.
While the five-door shares the sedan’s striking design features, the front-end shows reworked, angled headlamps, a slimmer grille and deeper lower air intake. At the back, Kia’s designers have opted for a large bumper and elegantly styled taillamps for a distinctive look.
Like it’s sedan sibling, inside the Cerato hatch feels very upmarket with chrome accents, white on black for the instrument cluster and the neat, logical layout of the controls. The cabin feels spacious and airy – the result of a longer wheelbase when compared with the previous model. The boot space is now 385 dm3.
This 1,6-litre unit has a peak output of 95 kW and torque of 157 N.m. The engine is smooth and power delivery is gradual. It’s such a refined unit that if you left the car to idle you would hardly notice the engine noise. Cog changes of the six-speed manual ‘box are exceptionally smooth and easy to carry out, while the clutch is light and easy to modulate. Dynamically, it’s not going to blow your hair back, but this car doesn’t warrant dynamic driving. The steering is light, but has enough feel to it to know what the front wheels are doing. The 2,0-lirte models will be available with Kia’s FlexSteer system that that adjusts the feel of the steering. The default mode is “normal” with “comfort” (lighter steering for easier parking) and “sport” (stiffer steering feel) also on offer.
Even in this base-level form, the Cerato has a lot to offer. Standard features include adjustable headlamp levelling, side-mirror indicators, LED daytime-running lights, automatic door locking, cruise control, Bluetooth functionality, rake and reach adjustment on the steering column, rear air vents and an audio system that is MP3, iPod and USB compatible. Standard safety features include ABS with EBD active headrests, impact sensing auto door unlock, six airbags consisting of driver, front passenger, side and curtain airbags, Isofix child-seat anchors and foglamps.
Overall, I don’t have anything bad to say about the Cerato hatch. It’s a very refined vehicle with an impressive drivetrain. It’s certainly capable of taking on the currently favourites. The weak rand may have influenced the rising price of the Kia models, but it’s still good value when you compare what you get in the similarly priced Golf and Auris. A good contender in this segment.
Price: R229 995
Engine: 1,6-litre petrol
Power: 95 [email protected] 6 300 r/min
Torque: 157 N/m @ 4 850 r/min
0-100 km/h: 10,1 seconds
Top speed: 200 km/h
CO2 emissions: 154 g/km