Kia’s smarter Cerato hatched in SA
Kia has never been a big player on the Golf's field, its previous two generations of Cerato hatchback quietly soldiering through life as solid yet somewhat uninspiring alternatives at a much lower price.
The third-generation Cerato hatch, just launched in South Africa, aims to be a game-changer for Kia. Although it's significantly more expensive now, with prices ranging from R229 995 to R299 995, it follows the recently-launched sedan version in taking a proper stride upmarket.
Like its sedan and soon-to-be-released Koup siblings, the new five-door was penned under the guidance of Kia's hot-shot design chief Peter Schreyer and it shows in the Cerato's more charming lines.
This Cerato also promises a more elegant atmosphere inside, where it features soft-touch surfaces along with various chrome accents and carbon fibre-like textures.
TWO MOTORS, THREE MODELS
Kia is offering two petrol engine options: a 95kW/157Nm 1.6-litre unit that's available immediately and a 118kW/194Nm 2-litre that will come on stream in November.
Both are normally aspirated and can be ordered with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
All models are rather well appointed, with cruise control, a six-speaker audio system linked to steering wheel controls, Bluetooth, rear air vents, electric windows and 16-inch alloys appearing on the base 1.6 EX version, along with six airbags and ABS.
In addition, the 2.0 EX gains leather seats and Kia's Flexsteer system that allows drivers to adjust the level of steering assistance.
The 2.0 SX adds a reverse camera and smart key with stop/start button while also distinguishing itself on the street with 17-inch alloy wheels, Xenon headlights and LED taillights. The SX also packs additional safety features in the form of ESC stability control, VSM stability management and hill-start assist.
Financial safety comes in the form of a five-year/150 000km warranty and five-year/90 000km service plan while a roadside assistance package is in place for three years, regardless of whether you cover 10km or three-trillion.
1.6 EX - R229 995
1.6 EX AT - R239 995
2.0 EX - R259 995
2.0 EX AT - R269 995
2.0 SX - R289 995
2.0 SX AT - R299 995
PS: If the new hatch doesn't get your blood pumping, CLICK HERE to read about the new turbo-charged Koup that we drove in South Korea last week.