[This article was first published on sgcarmart.com]
Necessary nips and tucks make the Kia Cerato ace in its looks and features departments.
In the past, it's natural for Korean brands to compete against each other instead of the Japanese makes. Pricing, features and specs tend to be more alike for Koreans and Japanese objectively.
However, things are slightly different by today's standards. Korean cars have improved so significantly that it can easily be compared to its Japanese peers. Hence, it comes as no surprise that the Kia Cerato faces stiff competition. You have the ever-popular Toyota Altis, the sporty Honda Civic and the modern, good-looking Hyundai Avante.
Annyeong haseyo (Hello)
But let's get down to it, shall we? The car you see here is the first model adorned with Kia's new logo as it strives to revitalise its image as it moves further into the mainstream by becoming an icon for innovation.
And it certainly shows with its sheet metal. From the front, the Korean sedan boasts tasteful new LED headlamps featuring 'dotted-line' LED daytime running lights, accompanied by a revamped grille that now stretches across the width of the bonnet.
Same goes for the rear here, with the Kia Cerato sporting new taillights that stretch across the width of the boot, boot lid and a redesigned bumper that would mistake the car for something sportier and more premium.
Annyeong hashimnikka (Good day)
Of course, it won't as sporty and premium as something like, say, a Stinger, but it will still hold its own well.
Powered by the same engine as its predecessor - that is to say the 1.6-litre four-pot that offers 126bhp and 155Nm of torque to the front wheels - the car manages to stay up to speed on the highway. Yes, overtaking is done with a more shaken than stirring style, but in a manner that's very mature and safe, thanks to excellent visibility all around. It's a car that doesn't fail as a sedan that's supposed to ferry you and occupants safely.
It comes with driver assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control and forward collision avoidance assist, which are safety features found only on more expensive and luxurious models from brands like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Knowing that a Kia now has them is nothing short of impressive.
Also, you get the usual blind spot monitor system as well as lane keep assist, but what's unusually good is the fact that the car comes with a huge 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen that projects a display screen that's sharp, sleek and striking.
Oraenmanieyo (Been a while)
And thankfully, despite all that nonsense touch-sensitive controls that we've been recently getting from new cars, the Cerato still comes with physical knobs and buttons that control the stuff you need to meddle with on a daily basis, such as air-con controls, fan speed and the air circulation.
More relevantly, the standard infotainment in our test car also comes with must-have features such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
More than just these, the car also comes with useful everyday features such as wireless charging, ventilated front seats (thank God for that) as well as a new electric park brake button with Auto Hold function (it was previously equipped with a handbrake).
There are also important ingredients such as sufficient head and legroom to fit five occupants in total as well as a remarkable boot space of 502 litres that will easily fit your bags, shoes, luggage and a market aunty trolley.
Yeoboseyo (Greetings over the phone)
In all, Kia has done well to better the Cerato from before. It certainly feels more like a brand new car than a facelifted one. It's better packaged and more stylish than before, but most importantly of all, the price of the car has remained competitive.
At $106,999 (as of 6 August 2021), the Cerato GT Line is $8k and $4k cheaper than the Toyota Altis and the Honda Civic respectively, whilst being better equipped with tech and safety features. It may cost a couple of thousand dollars more than the Hyundai Avante, but it remains to be better equipped than its Korean counterpart, too.
I suppose while the Kia Cerato is a tad low on power, just like the rest of the cars in this segment, you're undoubtedly still getting a lot of car for the money you're paying. And if you're looking for a straight-up family car that will do its job well, this may well be the best option now.
[Source article: sgcarmart.com/news/review.php?AID=1821]