Kia Cerato is a small-medium South Korean car that’s a quiet achiever in the sales arena in Australia. The introduction of an all-new Cerato in June 2018 is already engendering strong traffic to dealers and quite a few used Ceratos are being traded in. This can result in overstocking – and subsequent price drops to try and shift them. No promises, though…
The Cerato first arrived in Australia in July 2004, these earlier models were the first to really benefit from Kia’s determination to improve build quality and are generally trouble free. However these are getting on in years and in this used car feature we will concentrate on the second generation models first sold in February 2009.
When the far more stylish gen-three Cerato was launched in Australia in April 2013 buyer interested greatly. Sales lifted immediately and quite a few of these are now on the used car market.
Kia Cerato is sold as a four-door sedan and five-door hatch. The sedans were often introduced before the hatches so there was on overlap of new and old bodies at times.
Cerato has pretty good interior space for its class. It also passes the four-adult test for rear legroom without those in the front seats having to compromise to any real extent. As is usually the way in this class in Australia the Cerato is generally used by families with small children, something it handles with ease. There are no real headroom problems front or rear unless you’re very tall.
The first two generations of the Cerato were pleasant enough to drive without being in any say special. The gen-three car is almost up with the European due to their driving dynamics being uprated to suit Australian drivers tastes.
Suspension is reasonably supple, though rough Aussie country roads can occasionally trouble it. Noise and vibration are well damped, particularly in the latest model.
Most Kia Cerato models are powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. This gives it enough power and torque for most owners, but some would like a bit more grunt to match the dynamics of the chassis, particularly on the most recent model.
The Cerato from April 2013 has a new design 1.8-litre engine in place of the old 2.0. It provides more performance and uses less fuel whilst doing so.
Four-speed automatic transmissions, fitted prior to March 2011, do a reasonable job, but you will find them hunting up and down for the best ratio at times. Far better is the six-speed auto, installed from 2011.
Five-speed manual gearboxes were used until they were replaced by a modern six-speed unit late in 2010. The latter is a good unit with a decent feel through the lever and a wise choice of ratios.
Even in a low cost car like the Cerato it’s best that it is always serviced by a professional, preferably one with people trained on the vehicle type.
however, Ceratos have a simple mechanical layout and can be serviced and repaired by good amateur mechanics. Don’t forget to buy a workshop manual.
Kia dealers are mainly in metropolitan areas, but some of the bigger country towns now also have agents. Spare parts and professional repair costs are reasonably priced.
Insurance is usually in the lower half of the premium scale and we haven’t seen any big variations from company to company. However, it’s worth shopping around, just make sure your making a fair comparison.
While the Kia Koup, introduced in September 2009 carries Cerato badges it is generally regarded as a different model. It’s an interesting car with an unusual shape and we love the fact it’s called a Koup rather than a Coupe.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Former crash damage usually shows up as ripples in body panels, colours that don’t match correctly and even wheels out of alignment. If you’re in the least bit unsure call a professional.
Look for body damage in areas such as the rear bumper which often gets scarred by people carelessly resting stuff on it while loading the boot.
Check that the engine starts easily and idles smoothly pretty well straight away. Ideally the engine should be started stone cold first thing in the morning.
Gearboxes that are noisy and/or sticky in their changes may be due for major repairs.
Automatics should go into gear almost at the moment you move the selector.
Handbrakes can be over adjusted causing premature pad wear on the rear brakes. You may feel and hear the pads rubbing slightly on the discs during your test drive.
Fuel remote release cables can stretch making it difficult to open the flap.
Some Ceratos had audio unit failures, check the full range of modes in the system to be sure everything works correctly.
Incorrectly serviced variable valve timing units can fail due to poor oil quality blocking the oil passage.
Expect to pay fromt $3000 to $6000 for a 2009 Kia Cerato; $5000 to $9000 for a 2010 Limited Edition; $7000 to $11,000 for a 2012 SLi or a 2014 S; $9000 to $13,000 for a 2013 SLi; $11,000 to $16,000 for a 2013 SLi; $14,000 to $20,000 for a 2014 SLi Nav; $16,000 to $22,000 for a 2015 SLi; and $18,000 to $25,000 for a 2017 SLi.
CAR BUYING TIP
Have a mate who reckons they know a lot about cars? Some do, others are full of bull. Beware unless you know them really well.