Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack
Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

The Kia Cerato S is good value for money and more spacious than some of its rivals.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

I think the Cerato is a fairly good looking car.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

When you look at the side of the car, it resembles a few other hatches on the road, but it’s the wheels that let the side profile down.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

The intense design of the front bumper makes it stand out, but I do think it’s a bit transformer-y looking.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

It’s a decent sized hatch with smooth lines.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

Inside, the base model has a simple design but the car feels very spacious and still quite modern.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

Everything is easy to operate and quite intuitive in its layout which means you can easily access what you need while you’re driving.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

The seats are fairly comfortable for the price point of the car, and you get basic black cloth seats with the S model.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

I’m 177 centimetres (5'10″), and sitting in the back I had quite a lot of room sitting behind my driving position.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

The boot space is 428 litres.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

There's also an under floor storage box, a parcel shelf, and 2 luggage hooks, plus a handle to help close the boot as the tailgate isn't electric.

A lot of people upgrade to an SUV when they start a family, but it’s worth considering a hatch like the Kia Cerato S. It competes with the Hyundai i30, Mazda3 and the Toyota Corolla, but it’s pretty spacious inside for its class and the ownership options are a stand out.

This is the cheapest variant of the Cerato range at $28,990, and it comes with the optional $1500 Safety Pack. It lacks any real bells and whistles, and the price of the base model has risen quite a bit over the years.

There are two sport models in the in the middle of the range, and if you are willing to spend roughly an extra $9000, the GT line has the turbo-petrol engine and extra standard equipment. In fact, I think it feels like a completely different car, Kia throws in pretty much every other feature it has for the price difference.

If you go for the base model, you get the 16-inch steel wheels, the 8.0-inch touchscreen and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

What does it look like?

I think the Cerato is a fairly good looking car. It’s a decent sized hatch with smooth lines and the intense design of the front bumper makes it stand out, but I do think it’s a bit transformer-y looking. The front was actually designed to match the new Kia logo, and the angular headlights tie it all together, along with the black grille.

Our test vehicle has the ‘Clear White’ paint finish, which is very sleek, but it is the most basic colour available (and the only one that doesn’t come at an extra cost). When you look at the side of the car, it resembles a few other hatches on the road, but it’s the wheels that let the side profile down. The 16-inch steel rims (with plastic hub caps) make the Cerato S look quite cheap, but every other Cerato gets sportier looking alloys.

Inside, the base model has a simple design but the car feels very spacious and still quite modern. There is quite a lot of plastic, though, and there isn’t much to break it up in terms of fancy add-ons, but everything is easy to operate and quite intuitive in its layout which means you can easily access what you need while you’re driving.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

The Kia Cerato S is good value for money and more spacious than some of its rivals.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

I think the Cerato is a fairly good looking car.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

When you look at the side of the car, it resembles a few other hatches on the road, but it’s the wheels that let the side profile down.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

The intense design of the front bumper makes it stand out, but I do think it’s a bit transformer-y looking.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

It’s a decent sized hatch with smooth lines.

How does it drive?

The S model has a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine and comes with a regular six-speed automatic. I noticed a lot more power driving the turbocharged GT-Line grade, but the S still gives a smooth drive and it only struggled when I had to increase speed while going up a steep hill.

During my week with the Cerato, I did quite a few suburban and city trips plus I visited my sister’s family who live a couple of hours away on the New South Wales South Coast. The S handled sunny and wet conditions equally well and easily overtook large trucks on the highway. It’s also nice and easy to park thanks to a small turning circle and great predictability.

I found visibility okay, but the optional blind spot monitoring that comes with the Safety Pack really helped as my view was a bit constricted by the side pillars. The suspension is okay, although a little firm, I could feel all of the huge potholes around at the moment.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack
The S model has a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine and comes with a regular six-speed automatic.

How spacious is it?

Up front, I had quite a bit of room as the driver or passenger plus a decent amount of headroom. The seats are fairly comfortable for the price point of the car, and you get basic black cloth seats with the S model, but they could do with lumbar support for a long drive.

I’m 177 centimetres (5’10”), and sitting in the back I had quite a lot of room sitting behind my driving position. Another important note is that the rear doors open pretty wide for installing a car seat, plus there’s enough space left for the front passenger when you put in a rear-facing child seat, but it does eat up a bit of the middle seat in the back.

The boot space is a lot more practical than you might expect for a small hatch, it was great for my road trip down south. I had two medium-sized suitcases side-by-side plus pillows and some smaller bags packed in as well.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

Inside, the base model has a simple design but the car feels very spacious and still quite modern.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

Everything is easy to operate and quite intuitive in its layout which means you can easily access what you need while you’re driving.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

The seats are fairly comfortable for the price point of the car, and you get basic black cloth seats with the S model.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

I’m 177 centimetres (5'10″), and sitting in the back I had quite a lot of room sitting behind my driving position.

How safe is it?

One great feature for families is the design of the three ISOFIX points in the back. They stick out, and two of them are coloured white, so I could see them and access them easily. The Cerato S also comes with three top-tether anchorage points but I think it would be a tight fit for three car seats, particularly if one is rear-facing.

This Cerato S with the Safety Pack gets a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating, dating from 2019. But if you don’t add the safety option it brings the rating down to a four. I think it’s definitely worth the extra $1500 for the blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and cyclist AEB. Plus you get electric folding door mirrors and a safe exit warning, but really… those features should come as standard given the car’s price point.

You get front and side airbags for the driver and front passenger, plus side curtains that extend to the back row. It’s a pretty good reversing camera and the front and rear parking sensors come in handy, plus you get adaptive cruise control and cyclist AEB, among other things, with the safety pack.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack
Our test vehicle has the ‘Clear White’ paint finish, which is very sleek, but it is the most basic colour available.

How easy is it to use every day?

The centre console is a great size, and the glove box is fairly spacious as well, plus you get two cupholders up front and bottle holders in all four doors. I like the sunglass holder, but the S model doesn’t get the extra light under the visor that a lot of other Kias have, including the more expensive Cerato’s.

The boot comes with an under floor storage box, a parcel shelf with different sized compartments, and two luggage hooks. When the rear seats are folded down it’s easy to transport large bulky items, as well. Plus, there’s a handle on the door of the boot to help you close it, which is a great addition because the tailgate isn’t electric.

In the back, the standout for the kids is the directional air conditioning which is always a plus in summer, and the cupholders in the centre armrest. But the car doesn’t have any pockets on the back of the front seats. I think the person who designed the Cerato S has never had two kids in the back seat, because there’s only one USB point in the back which my nieces quickly pointed out.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

The boot space is 428 litres.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack

There's also an under floor storage box, a parcel shelf, and 2 luggage hooks, plus a handle to help close the boot as the tailgate isn't electric.

What’s the tech like?

The 8.0-inch touchscreen is easy to use but it was a bit harder for me to see while driving compared to the larger screen in the more expensive models that seems to be mounted at a better angle (or just large enough in that same space to provide better visibility).

You also get Bluetooth and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with the S model (the more expensive models have in-built sat nav and come with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto).

This model doesn’t have digital radio but you do get a small digital information screen in the middle of your instrument display that takes you through the driving information. I found there was actually something really easy about the analogue feel of the car.

There’s a well-designed storage space for your phone up front as well as one USB point, plus a basic six-speaker audio system.

How much does it cost to own?

The current price tag of $28,990 drive-away ($26,990 before on-road costs) means it’s competitively priced in the small passenger category, and it’s good value-for-money when you look at the running costs. Ownership is a great area for the Kia Cerato because of it’s seven-year, unlimited kilometre warranty.

If you have it serviced with Kia you also get capped price-servicing for the same time and up to eight years roadside assistance which comes in handy. The Cerato needs a check-up every 12 months or 15,000km, which is pretty good.

Kia Cerato 2023 review: S Hatch Safety Pack
The current price tag of $28,990 drive-away ($26,990 before on-road costs) means it’s competitively priced in the small passenger category.

If you want extra features like digital radio and a bigger touchscreen, it will set you back at least $2000 more for the Sport model. But even then you still get those yellow halogen headlights.

My petrol usage was great at 7.9 litres per 100 kilometres on average, considering I did a decent highway trip plus quite a bit of stop-start city and suburban driving. The official specs are 7.4L/100km on the combined cycle, and it’s rare for me to be so close to the official test results, which was good.

 

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