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Used Kia Cerato review: 2009-2013

Graham Smith reviews the used Kia Cerato and Koup 2009-2013, their fine points and flaws and what to watch for when you are buying them.

Anyone doubting the improvement in Kia should take a look at the TD Cerato. It would be unrecognisable to those who remember the first cars the Korean carmaker launched here.

It looks good, is solidly built, and performs as well as any of the rivals it competes with in the small car market.


There has been a marked change in the styling of Korean cars in general, and Kia in particular. Not surprisingly it's the result of European influence on the company's latest models.

The Cerato is a case in point. It looks good from all angles, its lines are clean and fluid, and the proportions are neat and balanced.

It came in three body styles, a four-door sedan, five-door hatch and a sweet two-door coupe, with S, Si and SLi variants designating increasing levels of standard equipment.

The sedan was a good size with comfortable accommodation for four, or five at a squeeze, and there was a big boot as well.

Inside there was a pleasant mix of black plastic fittings with bright trim and appealing cloth trim, none of the dull greys of the past.

The Cerato was a car for the ordinary motorist rather than the enthusiast, and it did that job well

Power came from a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, which while willing if revved was at its best at the lower end of the rev range.

When first launched it was equipped with either a five-speed manual of a four-speed auto, not the sort of transmissions you'd expect of the time for fuel efficiency or driveability.

Those inadequacies were dealt with an update in 2011 when Kia went to a six-speed manual and a six-speed auto.

The Cerato was a car for the ordinary motorist rather than the enthusiast, and it did that job well. It performed well in an everyday driving context, it handled well, was comfortable and held its own in the hurly-burly of today's traffic jam.


The solid 'thunk' of the door closing tells you the Kia build quality has come on leaps and bounds in recent years as each new model has arrived on the market.

It's a reflection of the overall quality of the cars now coming from the South Korean company, something that flows through to the reliability and durability of the car in the hands of owners.

If you hear any squeaks or rattles while test-driving a potential purchase thoroughly check the car for crash damage. A car that hasn't been crashed shouldn't rattle and clunk, but one that has been can have issues after being repaired.

Owners tell us they have little or nothing to complain about with their Ceratos, almost all are happy with the comfort and performance of their cars and few have had any issues with them.

One complaint that cropped up a couple of times in our survey of owners is the availability of parts when needed, causing delays in getting cars back on the road.

Generally the engines, gearboxes, and drivelines are robust and reliable and give little trouble.

Ask for a service record to assure yourself that your chosen car has been well treated.

Smithy says

Ideal small car for the average motorist looking first and foremost for reliable transport.

Owners say

Angelo Nardi: My 2013 Cerato is comfortable, powerful, safe, looks great and has a huge boot. It's a car you buy and drive, one you don't have to worry about. So far I have had no issues at all.

John Harrow: I've now done 30,000 km in my Cerato and I'm still happy with it. The engine is free revving and there's plenty of mid-range performance.

Dan Bold: My 2010 Koup is the first Kia I've bought and I am impressed with how well it is screwed together and how well it drives and handles. There are no squeaks or rattles, the auto trans shifts smoothly and the engine has enough power for me.

Nicole Henderson: I wanted a car to get from A to B when I bought my new Koup in 2011. I can't fault it in any way, it is stylish, comfortable, and a dream to drive.



Year Price From Price To
2013 $6,050 $15,840
2012 $5,170 $13,200
2011 $3,960 $10,230
2010 $3,300 $7,480
2009 $2,750 $6,270

View all Kia Cerato pricing and specifications

Pricing Guides

Based on 35 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

Koup 2.0L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $3,990 – 8,990 2009 Kia Cerato 2009 Koup Pricing and Specs
(base) 2.0L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $3,190 – 5,060 2009 Kia Cerato 2009 (base) Pricing and Specs
(base) 2.0L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $3,850 – 5,610 2009 Kia Cerato 2009 (base) Pricing and Specs
Limited Edition 2.0L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $3,300 – 5,170 2009 Kia Cerato 2009 Limited Edition Pricing and Specs
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist


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