Kia Cerato impresses with bells and whistles

By JAY WONG | 15 July 2015

The Cerato clears the misconception that Korean-made cars are low on specifications and value.

Ever since the Kia Cerato (K3 in Korea) made its debut back in 2013, the C-segment practically scrambled to find an answer to this feature packed ride.

It was not our first time in the Cerato, mind you, but rather a revisit to something that still gets plenty of eyeball attention from its sleek aerodynamic design.

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It’s attractive, no doubt, with its masculine lines, sensual curves, long bonnet and a coupe-like rear end that contributes to its ability to cut through the air with coefficient of drag rating of just 0.27 (the closer to “zero” the better).

We did not seem to notice this before, but stare at the Cerato’s side profile long enough and the image might just begin to get replaced by the Silver Surfer’s board – only it comes with a tiger-nose grille.

Yes, we probably watch too much movies and also yes, our test car came in Bright Silver, but nonetheless, this executive sedan would be an attractive one to own.

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For the price of RM117,680 (on-the-road with insurance and GST), it’s now RM1,208 more affordable compared to pre-GST days andcomes with a sprightly-tuned 2.0-litre engine.

A smooth six-speed automatic - with paddle shifters, is mated to the engine that delivers 159bhp at 6,500rpm and 194Nm of torque at 4,800rpm – all sent to the front wheels.

The engine gifts the Cerato with that nimble feel that’s brought about with the abrupt throttle response and the quick changing automatic gearbox, which should have a few causing some havoc on the roads.

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Don’t get us wrong, it’s not going to be a “pin the ears back” experience, but the Cerato does well to get into its hustle very convincingly thanks to the engine’s torquey low-end grunt.

For a car equipped with a rear torsion beam, it handles the corners well when close to the limit.

There’s little fuss when holding the proverbial “racing-line” - thanks to a host of intrusive electronic safety programmes, even on normal city roads and deserves some much needed applause.

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The Cerato lights the way forward with a pair of high-intensity-discharge projector headlamps with automatic function and each gets a strip of LED daytime running lights above them (like eye-brows) to help exude an aggressive character.

Not to mention, even the rear uses LEDs for its light clusters that’s been cleverly done in a way that its red LEDs look like one continuous band – rather than a host of “dots”.

To complete the car’s stylish exterior, it rolls on 17-inch alloy wheels with relatively low profile 215/45 series tyres from Korean tyre-maker Nexen.

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Furthermore, the Cerato gets you feeling like you’re an owner of a luxury vehicle with its keyless entry and push start function.

Not that it’s an uncommon feature, but consider this – there aren’t many cars out there that are able to unfold its wing mirrors and switch on its ‘welcome home’ lights (puddle and door-handle lights) when it detects the key-fob is near.

Inside the dark cabin, there’s that relatively soft rubbery dashboard surface and upon closing the door and pushing the start-button while your foot’s on the brake pedal will get the engine started.

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Simultaneously, the 10-way power adjustable seat (driver only) with two memory settings brings the driver closer to the wheel, while a nice tune plays and the 4.2-inch LCD in the centre of the instrument cluster bids you ‘welcome’.

The Cerato just isn’t short of creature comforts, and with us being in hot and humid Malaysia, the ventilated leather seat (driver only) is an extremely large bonus in this case.

Ever had a seat on leather after parking out in the sun for a few hours? Think rump-roast on an open fire.

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Other luxury amenities include an eight-inch LCD touch-screen for the six-speaker sound system with reverse camera, Bluetooth connectivity, GPS navigation and sunroof.

The Cerato’s motor-driven power steering system comes with Flex Steer and this allows drivers to choose their preferred steering weight beginning with Comfort (lightest), Normal and Sport (heaviest).

In terms of climate controls, dual zone is the only way to go, and comes together with a cluster ionizer, glovebox cooling as well as rear air vents.

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While equipped with six-airbags, there’s even a host of electronic safety supplements that include electronic safety control together with vehicle stability management, brake assist and traction control.

The Cerato 2.0 is still a value deal, because it’s a symbol of “getting more for less” with its capable engine, rare paddle shifters for those spirited moments, host of luxury amenities and plenty of safety equipment.

And, it also comes with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty, but should anything go wrong, there are 44 service outlets located nationwide to tend to your needs.