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The Kia Cerato Sport. Got it? Not the Cerato Sport +. Not the Cerato S, either. Actually, ignore the word Sport altogether because it’s really no more Sporty than an S. Let me explain…
The Cerato range kicks off with the entry-level S and then steps up to the Sport, then above that is the S+ and then the truly sporty one of the family, the GT.
So, if you’re after a Cerato that’s hard and fast, in the spirit of 'Choose Your Own Adventure' turn to my Cerato GT review here.
If you want something which looks sporty, but is actually comfortable to drive and great value, then keep on reading the Cerato Sport review here.
|Kia Cerato 2019: Sport|
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
|Price from||No recent listings|
The Cerato Sport is a step above the entry-grade S with its $26,210 list price. At the time we published this review, Kia was doing a drive-away price of $25,690 and in the past these special offers have lasted years, so even if you’re reading this months from now be sure to check Kia's website to see if the deal is still in place.
Standard features on the Sport include an 8.0-inch touchscreen with sat nav, there’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a six-speaker stereo, air-conditioning, cloth seats, 3.5-inch LCD instrument screen, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and 17-inch alloys wheels with 225/45 R17 tyres.
What features don’t you get? You’re not getting dual-zone climate control, but trust me, my family and I have just lived through the Summer of 2019, which will be known in meteorological journals as the hottest on record, or simply the end times, and we were crispy cool inside.
The refinement in the styling of this car has been stepped up again, and from the front and back the hatch is stunning. It’s just the side profile I’m not in love with. The fastback roofline just doesn’t seem to work with a small hatch, in my eyes.
Stepping up from an S to a Sport in the Cerato range isn’t really going to buy you a different look. They're almost identical with gloss back diffusers, a single chrome exhaust tip at the rear, upper and lower mesh grilles up front, and a roof-top spoiler.
The most noticeable difference is the wheels – the Cerato Sport has 17-inch alloys while the S has steel wheels with hubcaps.
The cabin only differs slightly from the Cerato S with the Sport getting a jazzy pattern to the cloth seats.
Still, the cockpit is a stylish, modern and premium looking place, which is only let down slightly by the hard plastic around the glove box, window sills and centre console.
The Cerato Sport is just over 4.5m long, 1.8m wide and a bit more than 1.4m tall. The makes the Cerato Sport a small car, but what does that mean for room inside?
Not all small cars are created equal and the lack of space in some is a deal breaker for me – not the case with the Cerato Sport (or any Cerato for that matter). I’m 191cm tall which is big enough to live in constant fear of hitting my head and smash my knees on almost everything.
There’s plenty of shoulder and elbow room up-front, while legroom in the back is also great – I can sit behind my driving position with about 20mm to space and headroom is excellent.
Storage is also generous. The Cerato Sport’s boot has a healthy cargo capacity of 428 litres and I like the triangular shaped wells in the corners which we used for holding bottles and plants upright.
Storage elsewhere is great with two cupholders in the fold-down rear armrest and another two in the front, while the centre console bin is deep (there’s a USB charging port in there, too) and the shelves under the dash were a great place to plonk my wallet and phone. Also hiding in there is a USB charging port, a USB media port and a 12-volt outlet.
My only gripes about the Sport’s useability are the lack of directional air vents in the back for our little boy – come on Kia, put them in - plus, no standard dark window tinting. Parents know what I’m talking about.
Ah, so this is where the Sport gets its name from, right? Ah, no. The Sport has the same engine as the base grade Cerato S – a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine making 112kW/192Nm.
Those are still decent outputs for a small car, I just don’t want you to think that because this grade is called the Sport that it’s a sports car. If you want something with a performance bent then the Cerato GT is for you – I’ve reviewed that one, too.
Like the Cerato S the Sport can be had with a manual, but our test car had a six-speed automatic, both sending drive to the front wheels.
After 82.4km of testing on open and urban roads the Cerato Sport used 6.06L of 95 RON which works at to be 7.4L/100km and that is bang-on the official fuel economy figure Kia says you should get for the car.
The Cerato Sport missed out on scoring the maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was given four stars in 2019. That’s because while the Sport comes standard with AEB, the system can only detect cars, not pedestrians and cyclists. That said, you can option that more sophisticated AEB and effectively turn this into a five-star car.
While you’ll need to step up to the Sport + to get blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert there’s other standard advanced safety equipment such as lane keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control. A safety pack will add all of that equipment and costs about $1500.
Installing child seats is easy – ours is the top tether kind and there are three mounts across the rear row, but if you have an ISOFIX kind there are two in the second row as well.
Under the boot floor is a space saver spare.
7 years / unlimited km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
The Cerato Sport is covered by Kia’s seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty. Most carmakers are only just making the move to five-year warranties, but Kia’s had this offering in place for years.
There’s also seven years of capped price servicing. Kia recommends you service the Cerato Sport annually or every 15,000km. You can expect to pay $275 at the first service, $469 at the second, $339, $623, $309, then $596 and finally $328 for the seventh.
It’s good to know that after seven years of regular servicing you can expect to pay no more than $2939, and the Cerato Sport also comes with seven years of roadside assistance.
The aftercare Kia offers is outstanding and so the Cerato Sport get full marks for its cost of ownership.
The Cerato Sport has a misleading name. The Sport in this case is the sports jacket kind of sport, in that it doesn’t offering any performance advantage over a regular jacket... or Cerato.
Really, Sport is just a word to let you know that this grade is not the entry-level S which is also confusing because that letter is often used to denote sporty variants of cars, too.
What’s not confusing or misleading is how good the Cerato Sport is to drive. The seats are comfortable and supportive – the driving position, too is excellent.
The engine, while not at all sporty, suits the car well with enough grunt for overtaking and merging. But the best part about the driving experience is the ride and handling.
Kia’s Australian engineers have tuned the suspension and chassis for local conditions, resulting in a ride that’s compliant and composed, but still leaves the car with good handling and body control.
I took the Cerato Sport on my ‘sports car’ test route and was impressed with how planted and balanced it remained.
Steering is one area that’s not great – it’s to do with the feel. The electric power steering makes the small movements you make when driving straight ahead feel ‘lumpy’. It’s no big deal and totally safe, just not as smooth as say in a Ford Focus.
Still, for the money and this segment the Cerato Sport is one of the easiest, most comfortable and best handling cars you can buy.
The Cerato Sport is great value from the price and features to the cost of ownership. It has premium looks, it’s practical, comfortable, plus it really is good to drive. And if you want to have a bit of fun it handles well, too.
Should you get the Cerato S instead and save about $2000? Well, the sensible thing to do would be to get the Cerato S and spend $1500 getting the safety pack, but could you live with those plastic hubcaps? Nah, I’d go the Cerato Sport and also get the safety pack. Crikey, it’s still good value.
|GT (turbo)||1.6L, ULP, 7 SP AUTO||$21,200 – 28,820||2019 Kia Cerato 2019 GT (turbo) Pricing and Specs|
|GT Safety Pack||1.6L, ULP, 7 SP AUTO||$21,300 – 28,930||2019 Kia Cerato 2019 GT Safety Pack Pricing and Specs|
|S||2.0L, ULP, 6 SP MAN||$12,700 – 18,370||2019 Kia Cerato 2019 S Pricing and Specs|
|S (AV)||2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$14,700 – 20,790||2019 Kia Cerato 2019 S (AV) Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||9|
|Engine & trans||7|