A cut-price sporty small car is put through its paces
The Cerato GT brings a sporty edge to Kia's affordable small car. A punchy engine and head-turning exterior styling touches combine with a long equipment list and turbo engine to entice buyers.
Value is Kia's middle name. The Kia Cerato GT sedan is priced from $33,990 drive-away until May 31, a discount of about $3500, and it is absolutely loaded with gear.
It stands out from the crowd with a sporty body kit, auto folding gloss-black side mirrors, LED daytime running lights, chrome dual exhausts and flash 18-inch alloy wheels.
Inside there's a leather wrapped flat-bottomed steering wheel, alloy sports pedals, satnav and an eight-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A booming eight-speaker JBL stereo and a wireless charging pad for devices will appeal to younger buyers.
The Cerato GT is covered by Kia's industry leading seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty but the higher-powered turbo engine requires more expensive servicing at shorter 10,000km intervals. They will cost you $2000 over five years.
The inside is well appointed, with soft-touch materials throughout and heated and ventilated leather seats with contrast red stitching. The cabin is one of the most spacious in its class. The rear seats easily accommodate adults and the rear armrest has two cupholders. There is dual-zone air conditioning with two vents servicing the rear seats.
Kia has stiffened the GT's suspension to make it more stable and engaging through corners. But the downside of that is a firm ride that picks up even small bumps. It does get better at higher speeds, though. Road noise is noticeable on coarser surfaces.
The GT has an abundance of safety gear. The auto emergency braking can detect both pedestrians and cyclists. It's backed up by blind-spot detection, lane-keep assist and rear-cross traffic alert, one of the most underrated safety features. The GT's lane-keep assist can be a little overbearing in traffic but works well on the motorway, especially when combined with the GT's radar cruise control.
Front and rear passengers are protected by six airbags and the Cerato has a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
The GT is urged along by a willing 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol unit paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch auto. The quick shifting auto works well to deliver both brisk acceleration and respectable fuel efficiency. A satisfying serve of torque is delivered at a low 1500rpm. The steering is heavier than some. It gives reasonable feedback through corners, but doesn't feel quite as connected as some competitors. There is ample grip thanks to Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres. The GT is composed and quiet at highway speeds, chewing up the kays with ease. Fuel use is rated at 6.8L/100km.
The Kia Cerato GT is a quality option for those that want a little bit of excitement in their daily driver. The value is undeniable and for those that like to drive they can overlook the firm ride for the benefits it brings in the twisty stuff.
Honda Civic RS, from about $36,500 drive-away
The Honda feels more special to drive but comes with a higher price tag and a less powerful engine.
Ford Focus ST-Line, from about $32,700 drive-away
The Focus is cheaper and comes in either hatch or wagon body, but you'll have to pay more for the same level of safety equipment as the Kia.
Hyundai i30 N-Line Premium, from about $39,400
The i30 is the Cerato's twin, but only comes in a hatch body style and is more expensive with a shorter warranty.
KIA CERATO GT SEDAN VITALS
Price: $33,990 drive-away
Warranty/servicing: Seven-years, unlimited km / $2051 over five years, 50,000km
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol, 150kW/265Nm
Safety: Auto emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, driver attention alert, reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors and six airbags.
Originally published as Tested: Cut-price sporty small car