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Kia reinvents its small-car contender to head-turning effect

23 Jan 2009

ON styling alone, Kia is hoping the second-generation Cerato brings more buyers into its showrooms than the dated old car ever could. The new model’s high specification levels and vastly improved driveability should even help ensure that many people actually hang around to sign on the dotted line for the first Kia that you might want to buy for reasons beyond just a low price tag. Following in the footsteps of parent Hyundai with the impressive i30, the Korean brand has at last come of age in Australia with its latest small car offering.
Model release date: 1 February 2009 to 1 April 2013

Previous model

Kia Cerato

Released: July 2004
Ended: January 2009
Family Tree: Cerato

BASED on the 2000 Hyundai XD Elantra, the LD Cerato was a world away from its flaky FB Spectra predecessor, but still well off the small-car pace set by the then equally new Mazda3. Under the drab four-door sedan body lurked a competent suspension set-up, but refinement and driving pleasure took a back seat to cheapness and cabin convenience. The sole engine choice was a 101kW/185Nm 2.0-litre twin-cam four-cylinder petrol engine, mated to a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox. An equally dull five-door hatch joined the sedan in late 2005, along with a subtle facelift, but the first Cerato failed to excite the small-car buying public.

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