Mazda 3 2014 Review
Luke Madden reviews the Mazda3.
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Kia has launched the third generation of its Cerato five-door hatchback into the most crowded of all market segments in Australia. In recent years this South Korean carmaker has evolved into a producer of world class products with modern styling and high build quality.
And there’s a touch of Europe in the lines of the new Cerato hatch, which is also wider, lower and has a longer wheelbase with shorter overhangs than the outgoing model.
The $19,990 price of the entry-level Cerato S hatch is the same as that of the four-door sedan that was introduced back in April. Though it’s listed as being ‘plus on-road costs’, Kia in Australia is doing an introductory ‘driveaway’ offer, so the car is yours for $19,990. To be honest there are so many cars in this segment that don’t charge extra on-roads the Kia would have missed out on sales by not doing this.
New Kia Cerato is well-equipped, with even the lowest cost S model getting cruise control, Bluetooth; Auxiliary and USB sockets; and steering wheel mounted controls.
The mid-level Cerato Si gets 16-inch alloy wheels, smart key with push-button starting, chrome highlights on the body, a more upmarket interior trim; 4.3-inch display screen, a reversing camera and automatic headlights.
Topline Cerato SLi has 17-inch alloys of a neatly sporting design, LED daytime running lights front and rear, leather trim, heated front seats with the driver's being powered, and dual-zone climate-control.
Interestingly, satellite navigation isn’t standard on the Cerato SLi as had been anticipated. The importer reasons that many people already have a portable satellite navigation. So satellite navigation is on the options list, but only for the SLi, at $1000.
Kia Cerato comes with a five year, unlimited kilometre warranty. Capped price servicing is offered for the five years or 75,000 km. Prices are different for each service and model, ranging from $261 to $496. We suggest contacting your Kia dealer for details.
The gen-three Cerato features new petrol engines that trim fuel consumption and emissions in comparison to the superseded Cerato. The entry level Cerato S has a 1.8-litre unit producing up to 110kW of power and 178Nm of torque.
The mid-level Cerato Si and topline SLi get a sophisticated direct-injection 2.0-litre petrol engine with 129kW and 209Nm. That torque figure is impressively high for an engine of this capacity, putting it up with the expensive German marques in efficiency. All three models offer a choice of manual or automatic transmission, both are six-speed units.
Safety is strong on the list of items specified for Australia buyers. The Cerato hatch boasts a full five star ANCAP rating, with Electronic Stability Control with traction control, ABS brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist; Emergency Stop Signal that activates the hazard lights under hard braking. Front and rear parking sensors prevent minor damage in tight situations. Six airbags prevent damage to people in major situations.
The new Cerato, like all of the latest Australian Kia models, has considerable local input in the suspension department. It has an impressively smooth ride over corrugated roads.
Handling is predictable and keen drivers will find there’s more feel and response in the Cerato that in most of its competitors from Asia. European it’s not, but this South Korean hatch comes a lot closer than you might expect.
Some may find the ride firmer than they like, the endless compromise between ride and handling sees Cerato lean in the latter direction. Try for yourself by making sure your personal road test includes some rough and ready backroads.
The all-new body has a solid feel that’s almost up there with the best of its European rivals in this class, with no squeak or rattles even on some pretty ordinary back roads we traversed during a Kia organised drive program out of the Gold Coast as part of the national launch.
Though it’s classed as a small car in Australia, the Cerato five-door hatch really is a mid-sized machine that can be used as a family car. There’s enough legroom for four adults to sit comfortably, although it’s best if the rear occupants aren’t of above average height because Cerato’s sloping rear end does will infringe on headroom.
This third generation Cerato is well worth consideration by all shopping in this increasingly crowded market segment.
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