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First drive: Updated Kia Cerato arrives from $25,990 d/a

New face and corporate logo headline MY22 Kia Cerato updates as manual gets axed

10 Jun 2021

KIA’S biggest seller in Australia, the Cerato small hatch and sedan, has arrived on local roads debuting the brand’s latest corporate logo and bearing updated looks plus a handful of specification and pricing tweaks.


The model line-up remains the same – S, Sport, Sport+ and GT, in hatch or sedan guises but compared to the outgoing MY21 model, recommended retail pricing for the MY22 Cerato has increased slightly – $500 for Cerato S auto, $600 for Sport and Sport+ auto, and $1100 for Cerato GT – with so cost difference between hatch and sedan body styles.


Kia is offering permanent drive-away pricing across the range, however, spanning Cerato S ($25,990 DA), Cerato S with Safety Pack ($27,490 DA), Sport ($27,990 DA), Sport with Safety Pack ($29,490 DA), Sport+ ($31,690 DA) and GT ($36,990 DA).


As uptake for manual Ceratos was just one per cent and this transmission option incompatible with pedestrian and cyclist detection for the autonomous emergency braking system, Kia Australia chose to delete it and ensure the entire range qualified for five ANCAP stars.


Now ranking third in the Australian small-car sales race behind the Toyota Corolla and Hyundai i30 – compared with 11th position in 2014 – the Cerato makeover promises to further improve its market-share penetration.


That said, Kia Australia expects to maintain approximately 1500 units a month with the updated MY22 Cerato, split 60:40 in favour of the hatch, with the base S variant accounting for around half of all volume and the flagship GT soaking up 20 per cent.


Between January and May this year, 8045 Ceratos were sold compared with 10,808 units of the i30 and 11,644 Corollas. The Mazda3 sits in fourth place with 6554 units.


Kia Australia says the Cerato’s sales mix between private and fleet buyers is weighted toward private at 66 percent.


The most substantial Cerato styling changes have been applied to the front end with new headlights – featuring distinctive ‘dotted-line’ LED daytime running lights – that flow into a razor-blade-like grille, while the GT gets LED headlights.


All variants get new bumpers, the GT going one step further with red detailing in its grille and the lower air intake outlining new diagonal LED foglights. Hidden exhausts on sub-GT models are replaced with dual tailpipes on the GT and, on the sedan, new tail-lights mirror the two-layer effect of the DRLs. 


New logo aside, hatches have identical rear-end styling to their MY21 predecessor. The 16-inch wheel trim designs on S variants are carried over from MY21, as are the 18-inch alloys on the GT.


Sport and Sport+ models wear new multi-spoke 17-inch alloys (with 225/45R17 Kumho Ecsta tyres) while all sedan models feature a reprofiled bootlid shape.


Interior-wise, the main change is to multimedia. The base S gets an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and three USB ports, whereas the rest of the range scores a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen with wired Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, sat-nav, digital radio, rear-seat sleep mode and 10-year MapCare and Suna live-traffic updates.


The GT uniquely offers wireless phone charging, eight-speaker JBL premium sound, heated/ventilated front seats, an eight-way electric driver’s seat with two-position memory, and a new electric sunroof.


Sport+ gains heated front seats while all models now feature rear-seat air vents and rear occupant alert.


In terms of safety equipment, Cerato S now features lane-follow assist, driver attention alert with leading vehicle departure alert, auto high-beam, and safe-exit warning.


An optional $1000 Safety Pack for Cerato S and Sport adds cyclist detection for the AEB system, an electronic park brake, larger rear disc brakes (284mm solid discs instead of 262mm), adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, electric folding mirrors, and on the S (because they’re already standard on Cerato Sport), a leather steering wheel and gear knob.


Sport+ and GT models feature new blind-spot collision avoidance assist, and rear AEB (in conjunction with rear cross-traffic alert).


Manual deletion aside, drivetrains are carry-over. The long-lived ‘Nu’ 112kW/192Nm 2.0-litre multi-point-injected four-cylinder petrol with six-speed automatic is used in S, Sport and Sport+, and the ‘Gamma II’ 150kW/265Nm 1.6-litre direct-injection turbo with seven-speed dual-clutch auto in GT models.


The Cerato GT has also had its suspension tweaked for “an improved secondary urban ride”, though pandemic-related restrictions prevented any changes to spring rates. The sole alteration is to damping tune – softer compression and rebound rates in the rear, and softer compression in the front.


2021 Kia Cerato driveaway pricing*

S (a) $25,990
Sport (a) $27,990
Sport+ (a) $31,690
GT (a) $36,990

*Pricing same for hatch and sedan

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