Review: 2019 Kia Cerato Hatch

Posted by Motorama in Vehicle Reviews


  • ​Starting price under $20k
  • Bang for your buck
  • Advanced safety features standard


  • ​​Engine lacks punch
  • Unrefined ride quality

The Cerato is one of Kia's most popular vehicles, so after releasing the new sedan last year it's now up to the hatchback to show its face. It's been completely redesigned and like with its bigger brother, you get a whole lot of car with all the safety technology you need for a sharp price.

Initial Impression

Having taken inspiration from the sporty Stinger, Kia has improved the looks of the new Cerato drastically. It’s no longer the dull ‘safe choice’ for the elderly, but transformed into a rather good looking vehicle a younger generation would feel good to be seen with. A sharp and aggressive grill, tight lines and a rear with a build in lip spoiler and wrap around lights.

The blacked out front lip and rear diffuser tie in together with the accents around the blinkers and give the car an even more modern flavour. You have to opt for the Sport version to get rid of the out-dated hub caps and upgrade to 17” Alloy wheels. Otherwise, even the base S version is pretty well equipped. Especially the safety features stand out with autonomous emergency braking (AEB), forward collision warning (FCW) and lane-keeping aid (LKA) as standard. Plus of course, a boot that holds 428 litres (or 741 with the back seats folded down).


Where the looks are obviously trying to mimic the Stinger, the engine unfortunately doesn’t. Kia has opted to carry-over the 2.0-litre ‘Nu’ multi-point injected normally aspirated petrol that puts out 112kW of power and 192Nm of torque. Sufficient for economical, A to B driving, just not exciting. 

When overtaking on the highway, it will roar and shift back abruptly, but it misses the confidence to do so with a B-Double. When cruising about it’s a quiet and fuel efficient power plant though, getting about 8L/100km. If you want 'hot-hatch' power you'll have to go for the GT, which comes with a smaller 1.6-litre petrol but has a turbo that manages to put out 150kW of power and 265Nm of torque. Quite the improvement.

The Drive Mode Select software that comes standard with the automatic gearbox lets you choose between Smart, Eco and Comfort mode, which changes the throttle calibration and gearbox mapping. The difference is marginal, but the Kia Cerato seems most pleased to drive in Comfort, providing the smoothest shifts and almost no over-revving. The manual version of the Cerato equates to just five per cent of sales at best, and is for those who insist on a stick or want to save a few coins.


Step into the new Cerato and you’ll be greeted by a nice ‘opening tune’. The same happens when shutting off the car. You either hate it or love it; there is an option to personalise the car and turn it off. It does make you feel somewhat at home in the car, a task the conservative and almost spartan interior itself doesn’t fulfil.  A hard plastic dash and seats that aren’t particularly suitable for a long road trip. It does the trick though and this way Kia manages to keep the price down. In exchange, they have fitted a floating tablet-style touchscreen, three USB inputs and a sporty steering wheel with all the controls imaginable. And the stereo sound turns down automatically when reversing; smart.

Everything in the Cerato feels solid - from the stylish vents to the air-conditioning buttons and gear lever. They 've improved the trim by putting some soft-touch materials on the dashboard and doors, but if you want a simply improved interior the only way to go is for the Sport version. Better, more supportive seats, satellite navigation and a ‘premium’ steering wheel make all the difference. The Sport+ variant even comes with leather and rear air vents, for those who want to really indulge.


Kia’s seven-year warranty with unlimited kilometres is hard to beat. Add that to the capped price servicing and the fact you can buy a Cerato Hatch for just under $20k drive-away and you know you’ve got a great deal. That would be for the base S version with a manual, so it’s wise to add a few thousand and opt for the Sport variant with an automatic; more comfort and options and still a lot of bang for your buck. The combination of price, space and features is at the top of its range. The top of the line GT competes with the best of them for just over $30k, which is a bargain when compared.


If you’re in the market for a car that delivers a decent ride, has a range of options, is packed with safety features and looks the part, there is no way you want to pass by the new Kia Cerato Hatch. With its looks resembling his sporty sibling the Stinger, no one can knock it for not looking good. Inside it might not excite everyone, but when you go for the Sport version that problem is easily overcome. The Cerato Hatch provides a lot of bang for your buck, especially with all the perks that come with every new Kia

Interested in a test drive? Motorama Kia is the place to be - so make sure you come and see the Motorama Toyota team in Moorooka or Browns Plains.

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