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Kia Cerato


Hyundai i30

Summary

Kia Cerato

You need a new small car and have $20-30k to spend, max. What do you do? Easy. You take $24,870 and go straight to our sister site autotrader.com.au and get yourself that sweet-as 2015 white Mazda MX-5 convertible with the manual gearbox and 32,141km on the clock. 

What? You need more than two seats? And a proper boot? For about the same amount of money? Oh… well this is awkward. Okay, have you met the Kia Cerato, then?

I did, I’ve met them all - every Cerato from this new generation model. I’ve driven the sporty one – the GT on some of Australia’s best roads, and I’ve driven the rest, the S and the Sport, on some of the worst roads.
 
My family and I lived with them, too. We drove hundreds of kays, did day care drops off, had supermarket car park meltdowns where nobody was talking to each other, singalongs (that was mainly me, by myself), fell asleep in them and did the daily commute in them.

I feel I know the Cerato so well now, I reckon I could almost build one if you gave me the pieces.

Here’s what I learnt about what could be the best value small car buy out there right now. Or there’s the Mazda MX-5.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.1L/100km
Seating5 seats

Hyundai i30

Hyundai's first i30 launched to quiet praise in 2007. Hyundai had just come off a rough patch of making pretty ordinary cars with only a few exceptions. At some point in the preceding few years, the Korean giant realised that dull, middle-of-the-road machinery was not going to turn it into the next Toyota. Instead, it was in danger of fading into a  pale imitation of the great white-goods maker.

That first i30 was the moment Hyundai set off on its own path, with a few key positions filled by industry veterans from around the globe. Kia did the same, almost in parallel, and look where it is today.

The third-generation i30 was an instant hit. Building on the success of the first and second generations, the car had built a reputation as dependable, solid and, as the years went by, good to drive. Excellent value has been a core competency for Hyundai since day dot, but adding all that other stuff took a while.

Safety rating
Engine Type1.6L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency4.5L/100km
Seating5 seats

Verdict

Kia Cerato8/10

The drive-away pricing and big features list makes the Cerato great value, and then there’s the practicality and warranty. Also, you have choice between something a little hardcore or more comfortable.
 
To me, the Sport Plus is the sweet spot in the range. The leather seats, dual-zone climate control with rear air vents, proximity key and heated seats clinch it.
 
The Kia Cerato could be the smartest choice you’ll make this year. Or there’s the Mazda MX-5. 

Do you reckon the Cerato is the best value-for-money small car on the market? Tell us what you think in the comments below.


Hyundai i307.9/10

The third-generation i30 was a hugely impressive car when it launched last year and continues to impress now. The added halo if the i30 N has rapidly solidifed Hyundai's reputation as a quality car maker.

With the Smart Sense pack fitted, either as an option on lower-spec cars or as standard from the SR up, the i30 is well in front of its rivals as a total package, even if it misses out on some details.

If you had to pick the best of the range, it would have to be the SR, with its bigger wheels and sportier tune, the 1.6 turbo and a cabin full of gadgets (while retaining the better cloth trim), it's sharply-priced and better again than just about anything in the segment or at this price point. It is, quite simply, a car that will make everyone happy.

And if it's outright performance you're after, you can't go past the i30 N.

Is the Hyundai i30 on your small car radar? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Design

Kia Cerato7/10

What a time to be alive: small cars have never looked better. Have you seen the new Ford Focus or the Hyundai i30? Even the current Toyota Corolla looks sexy.

But does the same go for the new Cerato? The sedan is certainly attractive, but the hatch looks hot from some angles and not from others. The hatch has whiffs of BMW X4 around the tail-lights, although its side profile is not as pleasing as the sedan’s. 

Both have the same angry Kia face with signature ‘tiger nose’ grille, while all grades in both body styles have the glossy black diffuser and lower bumper with integrated exhaust.

And that’s a bit of a tip for you right there. See, despite there being four grades and a $12K price difference between the entry level and top-of-the-range Cerato, the difference in styling is almost zilch. 

Really, the only way you can tell the difference visually between an S grade and a GT is the wheels and exhaust (the S has hub caps and one tail pipe, not two). 

All Cerato hatches have that same body kit, including the roof top rear spoiler. The Cerato sedans don’t miss out – they have a little boot lid spoiler.

If it came down to it, I’d say the sedan is a better-looking car than the hatch.

The cabins are also almost identical although the cloth seats in the S and Sport aren’t as premium looking or feeling as the leather ones in the Sport + and GT, and there are other similarly luxurious elements on these grades such as the push-button ignition and soft-touch plastics. Have a look at the interior photos, I took them myself.

What colours can you get your Cerato in? There are 10, but one ('Sunset Orange') is exclusive to the GT. 

Only one is a non-cost option, too – it’s 'Clear White'. The rest are premium paint colours and will cost you extra. You can have 'Aurora Black', 'Gravity Blue', 'Horizon Blue' (which was the colour of my S hatch and looks great), there’s also 'Runway Red' (that was the colour of my Sport hatch and it was hard to keep looking clean), 'Steel Grey', 'Snow White' and 'Silky Silver'. No green and no yellow.

The Cerato is a small car, but not the smallest Kia – that’s the Picanto and it’s tiny. Nope, the dimensions show the Cerato hatch to be 4510mm end-to-end, while the sedan is longer at 4640mm. Both are the same height at 1800mm tall, but their widths are different with the hatch being 1445mm across while the sedan is 5.0mm narrower.


Hyundai i307/10

The i30's basic shape is very clean and far more grown up than the previous generation. While that car had all sorts of interesting surfaces and big headlights, this newer look is more restrained. The segment is starting to converge on a more conservative, pan-European look, with even the new Focus calming down. The i30 puts me in mind of the Peugeot 308, with elements of the VW Golf.

As you move up the range, you'll see chrome, which suggests more gadgets inside. On the SR sports pack, a mild body kit includes a rear spoiler and side skirts but stops short of a rear diffuser. Even the performance version, the N, is reasonably subtle, so the philosophy is common across the entire range, and it looks the business.

Speaking of the N, it's reasonably easy to spot with its big 19-inch wheels, red flashes here and there, N badging and grille and, if you're listening, a poppy-bangy exhaust note from its chunky twin exhausts.

Interior photos show a light and airy space, with all that glass letting in the light. The light leather option on the Premium was bright, even on an overcast day. It's a well-constructed and designed space, with sensible choices all through the cabin and Hyundai's habit of nailing the driving position continues. Some of the materials are a bit ho-hum and in the Go and Active, the plastic steering wheel is pretty dire, but the quality look and feel of the switchgear and the tangible quality feel of including a big screen makes up for that.

Practicality

Kia Cerato8/10

You can get the Cerato as a four-door sedan or a five-door hatchback. They’re the same size, but which do you reckon has the biggest boot? The hatch? Nope.

See, the Cerato hatch’s boot has a luggage capacity of 428 litres and the sedan’s boot space is 502 litres.

Thing is, the hatch is the more practical of the two because of its tailgate which opens high and gives you a big aperture and you can fold those rear seats down to open up the cabin as a cargo area.

Another practicality win for the hatch is the segmented storage area under the boot floor. The sedan doesn’t get this which is a shame because it’s like a big bento box for wet clothes or muddy shoes. 

Storage throughout the cabins of both the sedan and hatch is excellent with two cupholders in the fold-down rear armrest and another two up-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. That top shelf under the dash in the GT also doubles as a wireless charging pad.

Room for people is also outstanding. I’m 191cm tall, and mainly all limbs, yet I had no elbow or legroom issues up front and I can even sit behind my driving position in both the sedan and the hatch with about 20mm of space between my knees and the seatback.

The Sport Plus and GT have directional air vents in the second row, but the lower grades don’t get these. That’s something I find pretty frustrating – my four-year-old sat for two weeks in the back of the Cerato S and Sport through the killer summer of 2019 and it was hot back there.


Hyundai i308/10

The i30's footprint contains a car with good interior dimensions. Passengers front and rear have plenty of headroom. Those in the back will fit easily if they're under 185cm, although the centre rear passenger might not be so happy if they're that tall.

Storage space varies between the models. Owners of the entry-level Go can expect just two cupholders but four bottle holders. There are also two bag hooks in the 395 litre boot and four tie-down hooks. The boot space dimensions are near the top of the class, easily wiping out the Mazda3 and Golf hatches' much smaller boots.

Step up to the Active and you get another two cupholders for a total of four.

Drop the 60/40 split-fold seats and the luggage capacity jumps to 1301 litres, meaning objects of a decent size will fit from your flat-pack furniture adventures. The Elite, Premium and SR Premium also pick up a luggage net.

Its external dimensions are reasonably compact and the turning circle is 10.6m. Ground clearance is 140mm when unladen.

Price and features

Kia Cerato9/10

You’ve had a look online and you’re a bit shocked to find that your $20-$30k may not go as far as you originally thought, especially when you include the on-roads costs.

There’s the new Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla and the Mazda3. All great, but they can get quite pricey as you step up through the grades. The Hyundai i30, then? Yep, damned fine automobile. 

But, take a look at its ‘cousin’ the Kia Cerato, too, because I reckon it’s the best value-for-money car on the market right now, and one that no doubt keeps its rivals awake at night as it steals buyers away from them.
 
The Kia Cerato sedan and hatch are priced the same and the value-for-money is outstanding. The entry grade S with a manual gearbox lists for $20,990, and at the time we published this review you could have it for $19,990 drive-away.

The same grade with an automatic transmission lists for $23,790 or $23,490 drive-away. Kia’s drive-away deals are long lasting so check to see if it’s still in place.

You’d probably think the ‘S’ stands for ‘Sport’ but it doesn’t because there is an actual grade called the Sport which is the next tier up and lists for $25,790 or $24,190 drive-away. Then there’s the Sport Plus which lists for $28,840 and can be had for $27,740 drive-away. At the top of the range is the GT which lists for $32,990 or $31,990 drive-away. 
 
Standard features on the S include an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, six-speaker stereo, air-conditioning, cloth seats, 3.5-inch LCD instrument screen, electric mirrors, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and 16-inch steel wheels with 205/55 R16 tyres.

Standard features on the Sport are almost identical to the S. The only difference is the Sport’s premium steering wheel and shift knob, sat nav, plus 17-inch alloys wheels with 225/45 R17 tyres.

The Sport Plus has the Sport’s features and adds leather seats, dual-zone climate control with rear directional air vents, heated front seats, push-button start, proximity key and LED running lights.

The GT has those features and adds wireless phone charging, a 4.2-inch instrument cluster an eight-speaker JBL sound system and 18-inch alloys with 225/40 R18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 rubber.


Hyundai i308/10

There are six distinct trim levels in the i30 range. Our price guide is purely based on rrp - how much you pay will depend on drive-away deals and the cost of any options and accessories.

Our model comparison takes you through each of the specifications to help you find which one suits you best.

The price list opens with the bargain basement Go. The manual petrol kicks off at $19,990m with the twin-clutch auto diesel weighing in at $24,990, via a manual diesel and petrol auto. 

Standard features include 16-inch steel rims, air-conditioning, reverse camera, cloth trim, remote central locking, cruise control, trip computer, auto headlights, power windows front and rear, heated powered door mirrors (auto only) and a full-size spare tyre.

The sound system is the same in every i30. With six speakers, AM/FM radio, Bluetooth and USB at a minimum, the system is controlled via a dash-mounted 8.0-inch touch screen. iPhone and Android users will be pleased to know all i30s have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so if there's no GPS, you can use your phone for satellite navigation. There is no CD player or DVD player in any of the cars.

Tailored floor mats are available as part of the $320 interior-accessory pack which also includes a dash mat and fabric rear bumper protector.

Move on to the Active and you can get a 2.0-litre petrol manual ($20,950), auto ($23,250), diesel manual ($23,450) and twin clutch ($25,950). In addition to the Go's spec, you get 16-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, LED daytime running lights, navigation system, park assist (a graphical display in the dash), folding heated mirrors and a full-size alloy spare.

The infotainment system also gains DAB radio.

The first of what you might call the sport editions is the SR manual and auto, starting at $25,590 for the six-speed manual and $28,950 for the seven-speed 'DCT' dual-clutch auto. Sporting the 1.6-litre turbo petrol, the SR has 18-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, the advanced safety features of the Smart Sense pack including lane assist, active cruise control, a bit of chrome here and there and sports pedals, 

Next up is the Elite for between $27,790 and $30,490. Added to the Active's spec are fake-leather seats, steering wheel and gear shifter and keyless entry via smart key technology. The Elite also has 17-inch alloy wheels.

The Premium Auto jumps to $32,790 for the auto petrol and $35,490 for the DCT diesel. This machine picks up further styling changes - including a lot of chrome detailing - front parking sensors, electric driver's seat, auto LED headlights, sunroof and electrochromatic rear vision mirror.

The SR Premium auto goes back up to 18-inch alloys and again runs the 1.6-litre turbo petrol. The price is identical to the Premium diesel at $33,950 and is basically the same spec.

The final step is an important one - the i30 N. The N brand is Hyundai's performance arm and this is the first fully fledged performance car from Hyundai. The N has most of the same goodies as the SR Premium but rolls on 19-inch alloys, has bigger performance brakes, its own specification of Pirelli P-Zero tyres, an extra selectable drive mode known as N, dual-mode exhaust, sports front seats, mechanical limited slip diff, torque vectoring, auto rev matching and active dampers. 

The N starts at $39,990 and you can add a 'Luxury Pack' for $3000, or a Luxury Pack with panoramic sunroof for $5000, both of which include keyless entry, auto wipers, electric heated fronts seats and front parking sensors.

Colours include 'Phantom Black', 'Intense Blue', 'Marina Blue', 'Iron Grey', 'Fiery Red', 'Platinum Silver', and 'Polar White'. All but the white attract an extra $495 cost. SR-badged cars score 'Sparkling Metal', 'Lava Orange' and 'Phoenix Orange' as extra colour options. The N also has its own colour schemes - 'Performance Blue', 'Clean Slate', 'Engine Red' and 'Micron Grey'. Brown is, sadly, off the menu.

Also off the menu are a self-parking function, bull bar, heated steering wheel, subwoofer, nudge bar, roof rails, design pack, xenon light bar or a launch edition (you're probably a bit late anyway).

Dealer accessories include things like tinted windows, roof racks, a cargo barrier, towbar and a cargo liner. No doubt they'll also try to saddle you with rust and paint protection.

Engine & trans

Kia Cerato7/10

So, you can get a Cerato S, a Cerato Sport and a Cerato Sport Plus, but only the top-of-the-range Cerato GT is the true sporty one in the family.

The GT has a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol making 150kW/265Nm. It’s a great engine and Kia has given it a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission for quick shifts.

The rest of the Cerato line-up shares a 112kW/192Nm four-cylinder petrol engine. If you want a manual gearbox, then you can only have it with the base grade S, otherwise the six-speed automatic, that is standard in the others, does the shifting for you.

Both are good powerplants, the 1.6-litre is smaller but more powerful and responsive and uses less fuel. How much less? Which we’re just about to get to. 


Hyundai i308/10

Engine specs vary across the range but all i30s are front-wheel drive.

The Go, Active Elite and Premium come with Hyundai's 2.0 GDi developing 120kW and 203Nm, driving the front wheels through either a six-speed manual or traditional automatic transmission. The 0-100km/h acceleration time for the Go and Active is around nine seconds.

The 1.6 CRDi diesel engine is available in the Go, Active, Elite and Premium with either a six-speed manual (Go and Active) or seven-speed twin-clutch automatic (all variants). The 1.6-litre turbo diesel produces an even 100kW and delivers 280Nm in the manual and 300Nm in the twin clutch. Performance figures appear leisurely - the race to 100km/h is a calm 10.2 seconds. Clearly it has less horspower and more weight, but once you're up and running, the in-gear acceleration is impressive. Emissions are kept in check with a diesel particulate filter.

The 1.6 turbo petrol is the same engine size as the diesel, spinning up 150kW and 265Nm. That engine is available in the SR and SR Premium along with a six-speed manual or the seven-speed DCT. The sprint to 100 is said to be around eight seconds, but independent testing has clocked it closer to seven.

The N's engine is a firecracker 2.0-litre turbo producing 202kW/353Nm, with 378Nm when the overboost function kicks in. That means a 0-100km/h time of 6.1 seconds, although it felt slightly quicker to me. In true Australian style, we don't get the lower-powered version of the N because we don't buy entry-level cars any more.

Across the rest of the range, the petrol vs diesel argument is fairly straightforward - the diesel is a happy, frugal cruiser while the petrols are a bit more rev-happy, particularly the turbo.

Oil capacity and type varies between the engines and it's all in the owner's manual if you need a top-up on the run. There are no 4x4/AWD/rear-wheel drive, LPG or plug-in hybrid versions.

Towing capacity for the 2.0-litre petrol is 600kg unbraked and 1300kg braked.

Fuel consumption

Kia Cerato8/10

As mentioned above, the GT with its 1.6-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder is the most fuel-efficient member of the Cerato family and after a combination of open and urban roads Kia says you should see it using 6.8L/100km in both the sedan and hatch. 

When I tested the GT at its launch in January 2019 the trip computer said I was using 7.6L/100km after driving the hatch on mainly country roads and 8.4L/100km in the sedan on similar open roads.

As for the other grades Kia says the combined fuel consumption for the S, Sport and Sport Plus grades with their 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engines and six-speed auto is 7.4L/100km. My own testing in the Sport hatch saw me measure bang-on 7.4L/100km (measured at the petrol pump), while the S hatch did 8.6L/100km (also measured at the bowser).

A manual gearbox is available on the S and Kia says you should see it using 7.4L/100km in the hatch and 7.6L/100km in the sedan. Along with that good mileage it's nice to know both engines are also happy to run on regular unleaded petrol.


Hyundai i307/10

Fuel mileage depends on the capacity and gearbox and varies between the different combinations.

As always, the official fuel-economy figures are only a guide, but Hyundai's numbers seem closer to reality than other manufacturers, at least in my experience.

The 2.0-litre's petrol consumption is listed at 7.3L/100km for the manual and 7.4 for the six-speed automatic. My most recent experience with an automatic Active resulted in a figure of 8.2L/100km in mostly suburban running.

The 1.6 CRDi's diesel fuel consumption is listed at 4.5L/100km for the manual and 4.7L/100km for the seven speed.

Moving on to the 1.6 petrol, the combined cycle is listed at 7.5L/100km for the manual and the seven-speed DCT dual-clutch auto. 

The N's 2.0-litre turbo has a claimed combined figure of 8.0L/100km and it's worth noting that it requires 95 RON fuel. If you drive it like I did, you'll find that the 50-litre tank is a little on the small side.

Fuel-tank size is 50 litres, whether diesel or petrol.

Driving

Kia Cerato7/10

This is simple. There are only two types of Cerato when it comes to driving. There’s the fast and hard one, or the comfy and easy one.

If you’re looking for a Cerato which is pretty quick and has great handling, then it’s the GT for you. The catch is, the GT’s ride is firm and jarring over potholes and speed bumps.

If you’re looking for something which has a comfortable ride and is fuss-free to drive then the S, the Sport and Sport Plus are for you.

See, Kia set out to make the GT a bit more hardcore – it has a more powerful engine, firmer suspension (the torsion bar set-up in the other grades was swapped for a multi-link system in the rear of the GT), it also sits lower and rides on 18-inch wheels with low-profile Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres. The result is a hatch which is knocking on the door of Golf GTI territory.

I drove the GT in hatch form at its launch on twisty country roads and it felt planted, with excellent body control and impressive grip. The only thing lacking was more grunt.

This chassis is now so good it feels like it’s in search of a more powerful engine to match it. The steering also felt a bit ‘lumpy’ in places. Still it’s accurate and not a deal breaker.

That lumpy steering feel is also present in the S, Sport and Sport Plus, too but it becomes irrelevant because these grades don’t have the performance bent of the GT. Instead they have a ride which is composed and comfortable, with an engine that provides plenty of oomph for highway cruising, overtaking and city sprints – especially when you select 'Sport' mode which sharpens throttle response.

And while they don’t have the handling and agility of the GT, I was impressed by how controlled and planted the Sport felt when I tested it over the route I normally take sport cars on.
 
More importantly, the S, Sport, and Sport Plus are easy and enjoyable to drive. I clocked up hundreds of kilometres in the S and Sport and found the seats to be wide at the base and supportive around my back, and they could be adjusted to find a great driving position.

Kia tunes most of its cars for Australia roads and the job its local engineering team has performed on these lower grade Ceratos is outstanding – the ride is compliant and comfortable and the car has good body control over bumps and corners.

If I could change anything it would be to improve visibility in the rear corners – those tiny porthole-like windows aren’t big enough.


Hyundai i308/10

One of the areas in which the i30 stands out is its dynamics, whether the bottom-of-the-range Go or the SR Premium warm hatch or the N. While you're probably bored witless of motoring journos mentioning Hyundai's crack team of local engineers, much of the praise must go to them for making the i30 the best in the segment and a standout car in its own right.

Front susenpsion is by MacPherson struts and the rear is a choice of a sophisticated multi-link setup (SR and SR Premium) or torsion beams (everything else). The torsion-beam cars are very well planted and mostly fitted with eco-style tyres. That means a pretty good ride and little in the way of road noise.

When you go for the warm SR hatch with its sportier tune and multi-link rear suspension, you really do notice the difference. While the other cars are excellent as they are, the SR's tune is a bit firmer but also lots of fun to drive.

The electric power steering is weighted just so, even  when you switch out of the laughable Eco mode, which ruins the throttle response (who really uses that, anyone?).

At speed, the i30 is quiet and composed, the multimedia system barely ticking over to cover what little noise invades the cabin. It's equally at home in the city and on the open road, with the diesel making long highway drags even longer with its impressive fuel economy.

On the downside, the diesel does feel a little heavy and firm around town,so unless you're super-keen for an oil burner, the cheaper petrols are the go.

If you were to score the driving experience solely on the i30 N, the 8/10 would become a nine. Hyundai has entered a space previously unknown to the Korean carmaker by racing headlong into the hearts and minds of Golf GTi wannabes. Except, it isn't a wannabe, it's a genuine GTi-beater - cheaper, more powerful, better-equipped and even more fun to drive. The N sends a loud message that Hyundai is after VW's mantle.

Again, Hyundai's local team took a super-hard riding, Nurburgring suspension spec and made it suitable for our rubbish roads. While still no magic carpet, the N is more than liveable in Comfort mode but supremely capable in N mode. It's completely unflappable down a mountain road on a cold morning and able to do things the Veloster SR Turbo - the closest thing Hyundai previously had to a hot hatch - could only dream of. It's fast, it's fun and, like the rest of its range, it leads its market segment.

Safety

Kia Cerato8/10

The Kia Cerato GT and Sport Plus hatch and sedan scored the maximum five-star ANCAP rating in 2019, but the Sport and S were given four stars because while they do have AEB it doesn’t detect pedestrians and cyclists like the version on the top two grades.

You can effectively turn a Sport or an S into a five-star car by optioning the $1500 safety pack which adds that version of the AEB plus blind-spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and adaptive cruise control.

The Sport Plus and GT come with all of that advanced safety equipment already. The GT also comes with LED headlights which are much brighter and more intense than the halogen units in the other grades.

As you'd expect all Ceratos come with a suite of airbags, ESP and a reversing camera. There are also three top tether anchor points across the second row – they’re easy to use, I’ve installed my four-year-old’s seat in both the hatches I had. There are also two ISOFIX anchor points.

Under the boot floor is a space saver spare.


Hyundai i308/10

The basic safety package on the Go and Active inludes seven airbags, stability and traction controls, ABS, brake assist, hill-start assist and brake-force distribiution.

As part of the 'Smart Sense' pack (auto and DCT cars only, $1150 extra), Go and Active owners pick up forward AEB, forward collision warning, blind-spot detection, lane-change assist, lane-keeping assist, rear cross traffic alert and active cruise. These features are standard on Eite, Premium, SR, SR Premium and N.

Two ISOFIX points take car of the baby car seat or you can use one of the three top-tether child seat anchor points.

All i30s carry a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating, even without the advanced safety features. It's annoying that the basic safety package on the Go and Active doesn't have AEB, though, while natural sales rival the Mazda3 has both forward and rear AEB.

Ownership

Kia Cerato10/10

The Cerato is covered by Kia’s seven-year/unlimited km warranty. Most carmakers are only just making the move to five-year warranties, but Kia has had this offering in place for years. The Cerato also comes with seven years of roadside assistance.

There’s also seven years of capped price servicing. Kia recommends you service the Cerato S, Sport, Sport Plus 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.

As for the GT Kia recommends servicing it every 10,000km or annually. Servicing is capped at $282 for the first service, $476 for the next, then $346, $630, $317, $604, then $640 for the seventh.

The aftercare Kia offers is outstanding and so the Cerato gets full marks for its cost of ownership.


Hyundai i309/10

Hyundai offers a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, which used to be the benchmark but is now slowly becoming the standard across the industry. The five-year warranty is accompanied by roadside assist for the first year. Capped-price servicing applies for the life of the vehicle and if you return to Hyundai for a service, you get another 12 months of roadside assist for flat battery or tyre incidents.

Resale value appears strong, as it has been for each version of the i30.

I'm often asked if the i30 engines use a timing belt or chain. All of Hyundai's engines use their own silent timing chain system, with the happy upside of lower service costs and no issues with snapping belts. The i30's reliability rating is impressive as a result.

As the car is still fairly new, no obvious six-speed automatic gearbox problems or seven-speed auto tranmission problems seem to have appeared. Gearbox issues have never really been a big problem with Hyundai and common diesel problems have long since been banished to history.

A quick search for any other common faults yielded nothing in the way of persistent problems or complaints.