Reuben van Niekerk
Kia are marketing their new Cerato sedan with the tagline, ‘The power to surprise’ and it does just that, surprise…
I think the biggest obstacle for Kia, yet also the factor that will help them mostt, is getting bums in seats. I say this because once people get over their preconceived idea of what a Kia is actually like and go and see for themselves, I can almost guarantee that they will be more impressed than they thought they would be.
The Koreans are no longer a threat approaching in the distance, they are here. With European styling that makes European cars look bland, they certainly stand out in the parking lot. Quality is also right up there with the Japanese – it is world class.
The Cerato is a – segment contender, and this caregory makes up 35%t of the South African market, so it is an important one. Kia believe that customers demand certain qualities in this segment, such as interior quality, safety and gadgets, and have built the new Cerato to fulfil these needs.
With improved sportier styling, the Cerato features an all-new bodyshell and boasts improved quality, upgraded equipment and a variety of additional convenience and safety features.
The Cerato will be offered in three different equipment levels across two engines – the 1.6 EX, 2.0 EX and 2.0 SX.
The 1.6 EX model has an array of standard convenience features, including a manual air conditioner, automatic light control, built-in bluetooth, steering- wheel-mounted 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 speakersand remote controls on the nsteering wheel. On the ‘spave front’ it also has 60/40 rear split seats.
Upgrading to the more powerful 2.0 EX model gets you a dot-matrix LCD cluster, leather seats and the option of a sun roof. Kia’s much-vaunted Flex Steer system allows the driver to individualise his driving style with the flick of a switch. Three settings are available: normal, sporty and comfort.
The top of the range 2.0 SX model features various high tech features including 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 and a supervision TFT LCD cluster.
The Cerato is available in a choice of two petrol engines – a 118 kW 2.0-litre engine and the popular 95 kW 1.6-liter Gamma engine.
Models featuring the 2,0-litre engine and manual gearbox accelerate to 100 km/h in 8,5 seconds. Automatic versions need 9,3 seconds, but both versions attain a top speed of 210 km/h.
Cars powered by the Gamma 1,6 engine top 200 km/h and reach 100 km/h in 10,1 seconds (manual) and 11,6 seconds (automatic). All transmissions, whether manual or auto, have six ratios.
While the specifications of the new Cerato’s fully independent front suspension – MacPherson struts – and coupled torsion beam rear axle are unchanged, both systems have been fine-tuned to improve agility, enhance shock absorbance and deliver greater refinement. The improvement is noticeable, with none of that ‘wallowy’ stuff that old Korean cars were famous for.
Kia has invested heavily in R&D to maximise occupant protection making the safety of people using its products and other road users a top priority.
Now, incorporating a much higher percentage (63%) of high-tensile strength steel than many competitors’ cars, the bodyshell structure features new engine bay bulkhead bracing linked to two new longitudinal chassis members each side of the central tunnel.
Torsional rigidity of the new bodyshell is increased by 37% (over the previous model), bringing the added benefits of improving refinement and creating a stronger foundation for the suspension and steering.
Safety technologies standard on all models include ABS with built-in EBD, active headrests, impact sensing auto door unlock, a passenger airbag on/off switch, six airbags consisting of driver, front passenger, side and curtain airbags, Isofix child seat anchors and fog lights.
The SX model features ESC (Electronic Stability Control), HAC (Hill-start Assist Control), which prevents slip-back during stop-start driving on inclines, and a VSM (Vehicle Stability Management) system that works with the ESC to provide ‘corrective’ steering inputs to help the driver avoid loss of control, especially on asymmetric (wet and dry) road surfaces.
But do yourself a favour, go and have a look at the Cerato if you are in the market for a C segment sedan. It is not without reason that Kia are selling all the stock pretty much as soon as it lands in South Africa.
1.6 manual R219 995
1.6 auto R229 995
2.0 manual R249 995
2.0 auto R259 995
2.0 manual SX R279 995
2.0 auto SX R289 995