Engine: Four-cylinder petrol 1.8-litre 110kW/178Nm; four-cylinder 2-litre 129kW/209Nm.
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 7.1litres/100km – 7.4 litres/100km
Emissions: 169gr/km – 177gr/km (Euro4)
Equipment: Includes Bluethooth wireless
Safety: Not yet tested
Factory warranty: 5-year/100,000km
The growth of Kia sales in New Zealand can be measured in part by the success of the Cerato sedan: The first-generation model averaged 220 units a year between 2004-08 and the second-generation 339 between 2009-12. Now Kia expects the third generation four-door to account for an average of 500 annual sales. The new model is appreciably bigger than before, with bold new looks and a generous list of equipment. Step inside and there is an immediate impression of roominess, thanks in part to the cabin-forward design and an expansive dash. Chrome highlights thankfully give the black interior a lift. Kia has paid more attention to the driver – the centre console is angled slightly towards the go-to seat. Door apertures are generous, so is legroom front and rear. Headroom is a tad tight for six-footers. Stowage for small items is also good, especially the open-and-shut box in the centre console for an iPod or smartphone. The boot offers 421 litres of space – but flipping the rear seatbacks forward increases luggage room. On the road the 1.8-litre powertrain was a good match, down on power and torque against the 2.0-litre unit but sweeter overall. Ride and handling, apart from a bit of bump and grind over sharp surfaces, was up there with the best in the segment. To add to the Cerato’s sportier look and feel, Kia has borrowed the Flex-Steer variable steering system from South Korean partner Hyundai. It offers three levels of weight – comfort, normal, and sport – via a steering wheel-mounted button. Flick through all three on a winding road and the difference in comfort and normal is negligible – but the helm certainly firms up in sport mode.
Looks, cabin, equipment levels, drivetrain
Not so good
Will anyone bother to use Flex-Steer?