Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Neutral Blog & Car Reviews

A collection of stories, reviews and rants

Review - Kia Cerato

cerato2Some years ago, to say Kia and their countrymate, Hyundai, had quality cars, was stretching the truth just a tad. A succession of pretty average cars such as the Spectra and Mentor barely troubled the tallyboard and Kia was in danger of being seen as an also ran Korean supplier.

Come 2008 and a stylish, reasonably well sorted car hit the market. Called Cerato, it flagged promise and delivered it.

2013 sees a revamp of the small mid-sizer; sharing its basic architecture with Hyundai’s i40, it’s immediately quite a pretty car to look at. From the curvy headlight cluster framing Kia’s corporate grille, down the lithe and subtly scalloped flanks through to the neon look taillights (SLi) and looking proportionally pretty bloody good, the question is then asked: does it go as good as it looks?

cerato1I back to backed the Si with six speed manual against the SLi with auto, both with the two litre GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine. Up front, the manual gearchange in the Si is a shocker. The clutch is light, not unexpectedly, but the gear lever in the test car had no spring pressure, leaving the feel of it as vague, indecisive, unsure and unwilling to be hurried.

As a manual preferred driver, this was simply yuck. Sitting mid pack in the Cerato sedan range, the Si deserves better. The auto in the SLi supplied is well ratioed, smooth and quick changing, with the choice of sports shift via the lever or paddle shifts. Gear shift aside, both transmissions work well with the bigger engine (there’s a 1.8L MPI available) and with 129kW/239Nm @ 6500/4700 rpm on tap (roughly 10 kilos per kilowatt), the Cerato’s near 1300kg kerb weight gets hustled along pretty reasonably.

cerato6Somewhat oddly, the SLi has the more sporting ride; shod with 215/45 tyres riding on gorgeous 17 inch wheels (vs 205/55/16s), it’s a little harder, a little more grippy thanks, one can presume, to the slightly lower sidewall. Not, by any measure, is it unpleasant, quite the opposite but one would expect the middle car to be more the sport. Both turn in quickly, bumps are absorbed a touch softer in the Si and there’s no tramlining or disconcerting bumpsteer.


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