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Kia Cerato Sport hatch 2019 review


The thing about traditional 'small' cars is that they’re not so small anymore. Because there are other, smaller cars, and even cars that are masquerading as larger cars, that are also smaller. Confused? Just know that the Kia Cerato hatch is not as small as its exterior would have you believe and you will fit a family of four in there. 

The Cerato has had a makeover for 2019 and I’m in the Cerato Sport, which is second from the bottom of the range, but you wouldn’t know that from the outside. I got drenched in comments this week from people wondering what it was, who thought it looked way beyond its $24,190 price tag. It competes with cars like the Mazda3, Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus. Here’s how it performed over seven days with my family. 

How spacious is it?

The interior space surprised me because it easily fit my family of four. I’m not sure where we got the idea that we all need a giant car as soon as we start having children, but guess what? We used to fit and we still do.

Up front, Leg and headroom are good enough for both me and my taller husband. Up front, Leg and headroom are good enough for both me and my taller husband.

Leg and headroom are decent enough in the front seat for both me and my taller husband, and my kids fit comfortably in the back seat. Granted, they are only little, aged five and seven, but I also fit in the backseat nicely at 161cm, with room to spare between my knees and the seat in front. 

In the back, two baby seats fit nicely. (image credit: Dean McCartney) In the back, two baby seats fit nicely. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

The boot is on the large side for this category, at 473L, it fits a pram, and you can also fit groceries around it or school bags if you need to. This particular pram won’t fit in some small SUVs, like the Mazda CX-3, so the fact that it gets in here is good. 

  • Boot space is rated at 473-litres. (image credit: Dean McCartney) Boot space is rated at 473-litres. (image credit: Dean McCartney)
  • The boot is big enough to fit a pram. (image credit: Dean McCartney) The boot is big enough to fit a pram. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

What does it look like?

From the outside it looks great, and as mentioned, I had quite a few comments on it this week with people thinking I was driving something super flash, not a budget-friendly Kia. It’s quite sporty looking, living up to its name, and looks rather elongated for a small car too. 

  • From the outside the Sport model looks great. (image credit: Dean McCartney) From the outside the Sport model looks great. (image credit: Dean McCartney)
  • The Cerato is quite sporty looking, and looks rather elongated for a small car too. (image credit: Dean McCartney) The Cerato is quite sporty looking, and looks rather elongated for a small car too. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

The inside though is fairly basic, with not much in terms of styling in this second-from-the-bottom of the range Cerato Sport. However, keeping the price of the car in mind, you’re not really expecting anything luxurious, and the standard design works well enough. 

There are a few more buttons and knobs than in some other cars these days, but when you’re driving, it becomes clear that old-school buttons and knobs work quite well - features can be easier to find than some of the more swish, electronic systems. 

The inside is fairly basic, but there is a leather-trimmed steering wheel. (image credit: Dean McCartney) The inside is fairly basic, but there is a leather-trimmed steering wheel. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

You’ll still get things like a leather-trimmed steering wheel in this model, with fabric seats that felt a bit scratchy at first but got more comfortable (or I just switched off) as the week wore on.

How easy is it to use every day?

While the kids fit easily, bending over to do kids seat belts up is still harder to do in a regular car than in a higher SUV, so there is that to consider. There are two cupholders in the front, two in the back centre armrest, a spot to throw keys and a phone in the front and a centre storage bin, plus bottle holders in each door. 

Being low to the ground means the kids can climb in easily, and the boot is a good height off the ground so you can lift groceries into it without hurting your back. 

There are no air vents in the rear seats but the air flows very well through the car. I drove it during a particularly hot, Sydney summer week and my kids got out of the car one afternoon with cold arms, after only five minutes. So it doesn’t take too long to flow to the back either.

Despite not having rear air vents air flows very well through the car. (image credit: Dean McCartney) Despite not having rear air vents air flows very well through the car. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

How does it drive?

It’s a good driving experience in the Cerato Sport, there’s nothing to complain about, and it’s a fairly standard driving experience - which I think is a good thing. You want the car to do what you ask and behave exactly the same way every time you drive it, which it does. 

There’s a 2.0-litre engine which is plenty to get up hills quickly and coast along highways. It handles really well and it’s not bumpy to drive, which is a great thing. It cruises along quite happily. 

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder makes 112kW/192Nm. (image credit: Dean McCartney) The 2.0-litre four-cylinder makes 112kW/192Nm. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

The size makes it easy to park and I found myself doing more u-turns than three-point-turns this week, because the turning circle is smaller than most SUVs. There’s also a very clear reverse parking camera so you can see what’s behind you. 

How safe is it?

The Cerato Sport comes with front and side airbags for driver and front passenger, plus side curtain airbags that extend to the back row. There is also auto emergency braking as standard which is great, but it received a four out of five star ANCAP rating because the AEB doesn’t have pedestrian and cyclist detection. 

You can upgrade for that or buy the $1500 safety pack which will also give you things like blind spot monitoring, lane departure alert and rear cross traffic alert.

There are two ISOFIX points and three top tether points for kids’ car seats. 

What’s the tech like?

The only technology you need to be up with the best is Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and the Kia Cerato has both as standard. That means you can plug your phone into the USB port and be instantly connected to the multimedia screen for app usage like maps and Spotify. You can also use voice control to make calls and send text messages. 

How much does it cost to own?

The Kia Cerato Sport comes in at $24,190, and that’s drive-away, so that’s a pretty sensational price. Fuel consumption is on the higher end for this category at a claimed 7.4L/100km

It’s covered by Kia’s seven-year/unlimited km warranty which is also pretty great and there’s seven years of capped price servicing, which is recommended every 12 months or 15,000km. 


The Wrap

The best bit about the Cerato Sport is the value - for what it is, you get a lot of value in there for a low drive-away price. There’s a good amount of interior space, a decent sized boot, it drives well and has a great exterior. 

I gave it a family rating of 7.5, taking points off for interior styling. My children also gave it a 7.5, they love getting into a red car! 

Likes

Exterior design
Interior space
Drives well

Dislikes

Interior design

Scores

Nedahl:

3.8

The Kids:

3.8

$26,790

Based on new car retail price

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