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Review: The New 2009 Kia Cerato - The Verdict

March 19th, 2009
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Read the complete Kia Cerato review

We test drive the Kia Cerato and tell you what we think. The new Kia Cerato (pronounced 'Charato' in those clever new TV commercials) is the perfect choice for people seeking a modern, well-engineered and more efficient car to reduce their ownership costs without compromising quality, safety or reliability. In our opinion, don't judge this car by your perceptions of the badge, Kia is a new company, new designers, new stylish products attracting new customers. Competitor's beware.

What size?

Small Passenger, 4 door sedan, 5 seats

How much?

$18,990 - $24,990 ball park

The new Kia Cerato

Fuel economy (Combined L/100kms)

7.8L to 7.9L, whilst not that thirsty, not that great for a modern small car either.

How Green?

4.5 stars (Green Vehicle Guide rating)

186 to 187 CO2/km

How safe?

ANCAP rating – Not tested

Active Safety: ABS, ESP (Option on S grade, standard on SLi grade)

Passive Safety: Airbags (x6 – Dual front, side front and full length curtain)


5 year / unlimited kilometre

The Verdict

Design and Engineering
For Contemporary, modern looks; wide stance; Kia’s best design to date; stylish 17” alloys on SLi grade.

Against Nothing groundbreaking; fat rear pillar makes exterior appear chunky from rear ¾ view; yet to be independently crash-tested.


For Modern design; standard USB audio input with iPod compatibility; quality feel to dials and buttons; storage options up front; large 415 litre boot.

Against Hard finishing interior plastics (however at this price it should be expected); doors close with a cheap sound; lack of storage options for rear seat passengers; lack of manual release for boot lid.

The new Kia Cerato


For Class leading 115kW of power (for a naturally aspirated engine) and impressive torque; relatively quiet engine when cruising. The 2.0 Litre four cylinder petrol engine proves to be a good choice, well actually the only choice at the moment.

Against Disinclined to be hurried, struggles when pushed; engine lacks refinement; unnecessarily coarse and loud under heavy acceleration; notchy manual gearbox; imprecise auto transmission.

The new Kia Cerato

Ride and Handling

For Handling is significantly improvement over previous Kia’s; relatively refined at highway speeds.

Against Steering a touch too light for spirited driving (but fine for in town) and could do with greater accuracy; ride on base S grade unsettled on coarse surfaces.

Buying and Owning

For Excellent value for money, competitors will struggle to offer this amount of equipment for the same price; 6 standard airbags; generous five year unlimited kilometer warranty.

Against Question mark over whether it will hold its value as well as Japanese competitors.

The New Kia Cerato


For Smart design inside and out; excellent value; decent handling.

Against Average economy; unrefined auto transmission.

Overall Rating

3.5 stars

The Kia Cerato grades

S – 2.0L Petrol 4cyl, 115kW 194Nm, 7.8/7.9L, 186/187 CO2
SLi – 2.0L Petrol 4cyl, 115kW 194Nm, 7.8/7.9L, 186/187 CO2

We'll have a full review including road test coming shortly.

All information correct as at 10th March 2009

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