First Drive: Kia Cerato Hatch | SACarFan

25 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on First Drive: Kia Cerato Hatch | SACarFan
Kia Cerato

First Drive: Kia Cerato Hatch

Kia: ‘The Power to Surprise’. It certainly says a lot about self-image and fair dues to Kia, nine times out of ten their offerings most certainly do surprise. They’ve entered a market that has traditionally been dominated by the European brands and doubly intimidating; brands that build their cars on our shore thus enabling them to sell at a reduced price than the imports.

This, however, has not scared Kia off the starting blocks and it certainly hasn’t intimidated them into stumbling amongst the competition, rather the opposite. Designed in Seoul, with European styling thanks to global chief of design, Peter Schreyer (he of Audi-origin, lest we forget), the Cerato Hatch seems adamant on beating off the locally made competition. Kia is definitely surprising and now known for affordability matched to quality, reliability and a distinctive design.

Their latest offering to the South African market is the Kia Cerato Hatch. A refreshing new contender to the hatch market, where some designs seem to be getting a bit over complicated on some of the newer competitors, the Kia Cerato Hatch has an eye-catching and sporty hatchback profile. This is complemented by larger wheels and an aggressive stance, whilst keeping clean lines along the body work.

The Kia Cerato Hatch has the standard ‘tiger nose’ design incorporating larger grille openings and a larger front bumper, housing swept headlights, with LED daytime running lights deep into the front fenders and following the line to a smoothly raked windshield. The roof profile continues the low, sporty stance down to the rear hatch where the reworked, integrated spoiler with LED tail lights (on the SX model) meets the twin chrome exhaust tip. The Kia Cerato Hatch is subtle, but a properly well-styled car.

The model line-up consists of three models based on two engine capacities. The entry-level 1.6-litre ‘EX’ petrol 4-cylinder engine will give you 95 kW and 157 Nm of torque, mated to a 6-speed manual or automatic gearbox. The 2.0-litre ‘EX’ and ‘SX’ models will share a larger displacement 4-cylinder engine producing 118 kW and a chunky 194 Nm of torque, with a 6-speed manual or automatic gearbox as well.

Choose your weapon.

The interior flows with cleans lines, no complicated dials and buttons littered about, and all housed within premium soft touch finishes and textiles; while the steering wheel itself weighs in on the sporty feel wrapped in grippy, premium-feeling leather. Keeping things easy on the senses, the dials nestled in the instrument binnacle are white on black, whilst chrome finishes and carbon fibre like textures throughout the cabin indulge the sporty accent.

As standard the 1.6-litre EX will carry auto lights, LED daytime running lights, Bluetooth, cruise control, wheel mounted controls, electric windows and side mirrors and a radio with MP3/iPod/USB functionality, and new to the interior is the 4.3-inch TFT LCD centre fascia screen; so you won’t be wanting for specification on the ‘entry-level’ model.

Kia Cerato

On the 2.0-litre EX model there’ll be leather seats all round, Park Distance Control, Flex Steer System whilst the SX model will further upgrade to 17-inch alloys, welcome home lights, smart key entry with a Stop/Start button, rear view camera and xenon headlamps with both having the option of a sunroof. As per expectation of the Kia brand, a standard model comes fitted with multiple ‘optional extras’ at no extra cost. If you need to haul a whole lot of bits and bobs around the boot space is 385-litres, if some items and chunkier than others, simply pop down the rear seats that are spilt 60:40.

The 1.6-litre EX was the only derivative on offer for driving at the launch and proved more than capable of the task at hand, winding through the Cape Winelands efficiently. The steering was the most surprising factor, being absolutely silky smooth with plenty of accurate feedback from the road whilst handling driver inputs with complete accuracy.

The suspension is standard fare in this segment consisting of independent McPherson Strut up front with coupled torsion beam axle bringing up the rear; both handled the Western Capes roads with comfort. The 1.6-litre lost of bit of gusto on the climbs, though I suspect that won’t be a problem in the 2.0-litre version.

The interior is comfortable, whether you’re tall or short and the wider stance has allowed for an open cabin eliminating pesky blind spots. Safety comes standard with ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, six airbags all round, ISOfix points and fog lights, on the range topping SX you have Electronic Stability Control working cog in cog with Vehicle Stability Control and Hill Assist Control to prevent roll backs.

Overall, the new Kia Cerato Hatch gives a first impression of an easy, uncomplicated drive matched with a logo that is renowned for offering keen value for money. Starting at R229 995 for the 1.6-litre EX and topping out at R299 995 for the 2.0-litre SX, it’ll be a worthy competitor for the Toyota Auris, Chevrolet Cruze, Mazda3, Ford Focus and even the Hyundai i30’s of the world.

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