The latest generation 2019 Kia Cerato has proved to be quite a hit locally, regularly finding its way into the top ten best sellers list every month. Sharing its basic platform and drivetrains with the Hyundai i30 gives it a solid foundation to build on. The Kia differs from the i30 with a 50mm longer wheelbase, Kia’s unique styling language and its seven year unlimited kilometre warranty.
Starting at $31,990 (before on-road costs), the top-of-the-range GT model tested here offers a mighty impressive 150kW and 265Nm, giving it a significant performance advantage over many rivals in the same class.
With a stylish exterior package, high levels of standard equipment and Kia’s knockout 7-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, we borrowed the 2019 Kia Cerato GT for a week to test the depth of its charms.
2019 Kia Cerato GT Review: Cabin Space and Comfort
Cerato’s long wheelbase and almost wagon-esque silhouette bodes very well for interior space, regardless of which seat you’re in. Boot space is 428 litres with the rear seats up and extends to 1100L when they are folded. As far as small cars go, the Cerato seems to be one of the more spacious and comfort-oriented.
A comfortable driving position was easily achievable thanks to a high level of adjustment on offer from both the seats and right-sized steering wheel. The ribbed leather seats with red stitching were not only pleasing to look at but also proved very comfortable and supportive.
2019 Kia Cerato GT Review : Infotainment and Ergonomics
Featuring a tablet-style infotainment system, the Cerato GT is equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, built-in navigation and digital radio connected to an outstanding nine-speaker stereo. All major buttons are easy to find and logically arranged, meaning minimal distraction to the driving experience. Other highlights include wireless phone charging and heated seats came in handy as Winter hit the nation.
2019 Kia Cerato GT Review: Design
The fundamental design of the car lends itself well to a sporting variant, with LEDs tucked into the headlamp housing and red highlights in the grille as well as the alloys, where they resemble a centre locking cap. Neat touches include indicator lamps which are integrated into the rear bumper, seperate from the main taillamp cluster.
Philosophically, it is more restrained than its i30 N-Line cousin, but carries an appealing level of sportiness inside and out, with a decidedly premium canvas to begin with.
2019 Kia Cerato GT Review: Engine and Performance
The Cerato GT’s 1.6-litre turbo engine generates 150kW at 6000rpm and 265Nm between 1500 and 4000rpm. The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission features a great spread of ratios and can be operated by steering-mounted shift paddles. Thanks to switchable driving modes, the car can be placid in city or heavy traffic driving or menacing in Sport mode, where an artificial engine sound is piped into the cabin.
A sub 7.0-second 0-100km/h time and 15-second quarter mile time are achievable with this responsive powertrain, for those of you wondering about performance times.
2019 Kia Cerato GT Review : Transmission
The dual-clutch automatic transmission is the only choice here. If you absolutely must have a manual with this engine, the Hyundai i30 N-Line starts from $26,490 (before on-roads), but you’d be missing out on extra features in this vehicle. In any case, with the dual-clutch transmission on this vehicle being able to manage the dual nature of subdued cruiser and switchback -devourer with ease, you don’t want for a self-shifter.
2019 Kia Cerato GT Review : Handling and Steering
Various levels of steering weight can be dialed up, depending on driving mode. In its hardest-edge ‘Sport’ setting, the Cerato GT encourages you to carry some speed through the bends and puts a smile on your face. In ‘Comfort’, while not fingertip light, it is demonstrably easier to negotiate tight city lanes and parking spots.
The brakes stood up rather well to consistent punishment while the wheel and tyre combination afforded higher than expected grip levels. Turn-in is pleasingly sharp, if not best-in-class, while you get an overall sense that surefooted stability was the aim of Kia’s local chassis engineers, which is a good thing.
2019 Kia Cerato GT Review : Ride and NVH
While you could be forgiven to expect ride to suffer due to the 18-inch rims, low-profile tyres and good handling, we’re pleased to report the GT has a compliant ride. This makes day-to-day driving that much more relaxed and less frenetic than some competitors which might suffer an overly stiff suspension calibration.
The rest of the refinement story is positive too, with the Cerato being well-insulated against wind, tyre and engine noise (except in Sport mode).
2019 Kia Cerato GT Review : Fuel economy and running costs
Despite its respectable performance, the Cerato GT will happily drink regular 91 octane unleaded and has an official combined fuel consumption figure of 6.8L/100km. A heavy right foot will see it in the low 8.0L/100km range.
Servicing is capped price, but unlike the base 2.0-litre cars, servicing occurs every 10,000km rather than every 15,000km. The prices for each visit vary between $282 for the first service to $640 for the 7 year/ 70,000km. Total cost over 70,000km is $3295 and servicing your vehicle with Kia tops up your roadside assistance coverage for up to seven years.
You can find Kia’s own pre-purchase servicing costs guide here.
2019 Kia Cerato GT Review: Safety
Like all models in the 2019 Cerato range, the GT scores a full five star ANCAP safety rating.
It managed an impressive 34.3 out of 38 for adult occupant production, 41.1 out of 49 for child occupant protection and is even kind to cyclists and pedestrians. Standard autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assistance, active criuse control, pedestrian avoidance control, hill holder, reverse camera and parking sensors.
You can read the full report here
2019 Kia Cerato GT Review : Value for Money
Aside from the Hyundai i30 and Elantra, no other rival can match the Cerato GT for engine potency and performance. The level of kit for this price is definitely better than expected. A strong showing here –some rivals might have more styling flair and more interesting interiors, but there’s usually a trade-off of a weaker engine, less equipment or a less reassuring warranty.
2019 Kia Cerato GT Review : Conclusion
The Kia Cerato has climbed the Australian sales charts to record an impressive 8541 units to the end of May 2019 (VFACTS). Spending a week with the flagship (for now) GT, it is apparent why many Australians are falling for the Cerato as a package. Showroom appeal, standard equipment, a great drive and confident looks mean that buying a Kia stopped being something you felt the need to justify with: “ but I got it at a good price.” It’s a car that stands proudly on its own merits and is genuinely class competitive in most areas.