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Kia Cerato 2013 review

Kia's handsome Cerato has both bases covered with 1.8 and 2.0-litre engine availability.

Kia's handsome Cerato has both bases covered with 1.8 and 2.0-litre engine availability. Not too long ago, the Cerato S's 1.8-litre engine was as big as you could get in a small car. Some manufacturers have stayed with this capacity but others have upped the ante to 2.0-litre units and beyond.

In reality, a 1.8 fits the segment size perfectly, especially with new efficiency technology optimising engine performance.

Engine and transmission

While you might aspire to the larger donk, the smaller one is all you really need. Coupled with a more affordable price, the 1.8-litre Cerato S ($21,990) doesn't use much fuel, rated at 6.6-litres/100km for the 6-speed manual (regular unleaded). The six speed auto uses slightly more.

This particular engine doesn't get direct injection like the 2.0-litre but does have variable valve timing on the inlet and exhaust sides as well as other efficiency boosting systems. Maximum power for the 1.8 is 110kW at 6500rpm with 178Nm of torque from 4700rpm.


Though it's the entry level model, Cerato S sedan has plenty of kit and you'd be hard pressed to tell it's the base car from the outside apart from the wheel covers. Included in the price is a vehicle management system, a/c, hill start assist, front and rear parking sensors, speed sensing auto door locks, remote keyless locking, cruise, trip computer, user selectable options and a decent entertainment system with full multimedia connectivity and Bluetooth. You don't need much more.


On the road, the Cerato S feels comfortable, controlled even a bit sporty thanks to local suspension tuning. It has good performance and the engine runs smoothly and quietly -- it offers plenty of zip, strong throttle response across a wide engine speed range. It happily revs freely in auto and manual with our preference being the slick six speed auto.

The roomy interior has seats for five and the boot is large containing a full size spare. We love the sedan's styling with its arcing 'coupe' roofline and swoopy highlights along the side. Better than the Hyundai Elantra? We think so, especially with the new Kia 'face.'

Other aspects of the car have plenty of appeal  the three mode Flex-steer electric steering system for example. This gives drives the option of comfort, normal and firmer sport steering feel. Doesn't sound like much but it makes a big difference to the driving experience.


Shop it against the entry level Corolla, Elantra, Cruze, Lancer, Mazda3 --  or any other rivals, really. We're sure you'll like what you see.


Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

Koup Si 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $8,250 – 11,550 2013 Kia Cerato 2013 Koup Si Pricing and Specs
Koup SLS 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $10,230 – 14,080 2013 Kia Cerato 2013 Koup SLS Pricing and Specs
Koup Touring 1.6L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $11,950 – 12,880 2013 Kia Cerato 2013 Koup Touring Pricing and Specs
Koup Turbo 1.6L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $8,800 – 12,430 2013 Kia Cerato 2013 Koup Turbo Pricing and Specs