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Kia Cerato Sedan

Cerato pic 2Seoul searcher

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


Formula One – Monaco Grand Prix

Like father like son

NicowinsKeke winsJohn Bentley

I was at Monaco 30 years ago when Nico Rosberg’s Dad took his Williams-Cosworth to victory in the Principality. So for me there was an element of déja vu in this year’s race. But, though those wins by father and son were both brilliantly skilful performances, there’s where the similarity ends. For, whereas Keke’s victory came after a feisty drive in the nimble, underpowered Williams, which outclassed its comparatively clumsy turbo opposition on the twisty track, Nico’s was a controlled one by a consummate professional eking out his tyres while positioning his car perfectly on every corner of every lap of a circuit where the car in front, if driven ‘perfectly’ will always have the advantage.

Monaco, more than any race this year, played right into the hands of the ant-Pirelli camp, the faction of the grand prix fraternity that decries the fact that Formula One is no longer a flat-out blind, but a tyre-conservation game.

But one needs to remember that Monaco is a rather special circuit on which overtaking is difficult, but it treats tyres kindly. So a fast car, as the Mercedes undoubtedly is, just has to take pole position and, provided its driver keeps his nose clean, has to be a shoe-in for victory. Once in front, Rosberg, with Hamilton riding shotgun behind, was able to keep the pace slow in the early laps, conserving his tyres, something he has been unable to do in earlier races, where more easy overtaking has resulted in him losing the lead within a lap or two, despite having the single-lap pace to score poles in Spain and Bahrain. But the chances of a return to the status quo in Montreal are pretty strong… unless Mercedes has been advantaged by attempts by the tyre supplier to mollify the Silver Arrows after much complaining, particularly in the German media.

I’ve been a strong supporter of Pirelli all along, but I must say that reports that they ran a secret three-day test with Mercedes after the Spanish GP have left a bad taste. Such a test, using the current car, is patently illegal under the regulations, as were earlier suggestions that, after complaints from Red Bull and Mercedes, the rubber compounds were to be changed as from the Canadian race. The FIA pointed out that the 2013 tyres had all been approved by the teams at a test in September last year, and the rules forbid such a change, unless on safety grounds. So all Pirelli is allowed to do is take steps to prevent a recurrence of a few delaminations that have happened so far this season, though many suggest that these have simply been the result of cars picking up accident debris.

Anyway, full marks to Nico Rosberg for a brilliant drive. Although the manner in which he won was different from that of has ol’ man all those years ago, the achievement was on the same level. Now all he has to do is go on to win a world championship!

Launch Pad: Citroën DS3 Cabriolet

DS3 Cab 2

Open season

John Bentley

It’s a rare windless day in Cape Town and we’re bowling along the N1 with the roof open. My hair’s being ruffled just a little by a light stream of air coming off the pop-up deflector above the screen. Nothing unpleasant, just a slight frisson that adds to the sense of travelling en plein air

I glance down at the speedometer to see we’re cruising at close to 120 km/h. I press the button to close the top, let it close, wait a few seconds, then open it again. No drama. The fabric unfolds, then folds again with no problem at all.

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Launch Pad: Mini Paceman

MINI Paceman

Future icon?

Reuben van Niekerk

Mini are fast becoming the leaders in terms of giving the public cars that they never knew they wanted. Their latest introduction, called the Paceman, takes the Countryman one step further by dropping two doors and fitting it into designer clothing. Where the Countryman is practical, the Paceman is stylish.

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Launch Pad: Hyundai Veloster

0805 Hyundai Veloster 1

Innovative fun

Reuben van Niekerk

The Veloster has joined the local model line-up of Hyundai – bringing a mixture of fun, innovation and attractive, sporty styling to the Korean carmaker’s range in South Africa. Packed with features and with cool looks that will attract new buyers as well as loyal brand customers.

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Launch Pad: Ford Tourneo/Transit

0805 Ford Tourneo:Transit 1

Perfect people mover

Reuben van Niekerk

The Ford Transit is absolutely an icon in the van market in Europe, with about 250 000 sold there annually. So its surprising that it took so long to get to South Africa where competitor models such as the Toyota Quantam, VW Kombi and more recently the Hyundai H1 have had the market to themselves.

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Launch Pad: Audi A3 Sportback

0805 Audi A3 Sportback 1

More is more

Reuben van Niekerk

The premium hatchback segment gains another competitor as Audi add the Sportback range to the A3 lineup, which was launched earlier this year. With two added doors and a slightly longer wheel base it takes of where the A3 left off.

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Launch Pad: Toyota Verso

0605 Toyota Verso 1

Wholesome goodness

Wendy Robinson

The aroma of soup emanates from my kitchen as I write this review. You know that familiar connection that the nose sends to the brain when all the senses start working together to cause the body to feel cosy and warm?  I guess that is what an MPV does for a family. You know, it’s not all exotic or particularly over-spiced, but rather a predictable sensation of familiarity. And what is wrong with that? When it comes to comfort, space and practicality, why force the issue with inappropriate vehicles for family comfort.

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Launch Pad: Mercedes-Benz GL


Class act

Richard Macaskill

Mercedes-Benz calls all its cars ‘Letter(s)-Class’. Now, while class is a word that can’t necessarily be used to describe all Mercs (let’s face it, some are found wanting, though recent years have shown improvement across the board), if I was forced to choose one word to describe the new GL-Class, it would be exactly that. Class.

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Launch Pad: Renault Clio


Cool curves

Wendy Robinson

Sensual, sexy, curvaceous, young, sporty and dynamic are key words when describing the all new Renault Clio.

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