2019 Kia Cerato S hatch Review

2019 Kia Cerato Road Test Review

All New Kia Cerato Sedan Sport+. Front Still.

All New Kia Cerato Sedan Sport+. Front Still.Kia Cerato – A popular choice for the value conscious small car buyer,  Kia’s new generation Cerato sedan and hatch add to that appeal offering even better value, still from a kick off point of $19,990 for the base S hatch manual. I drove the auto S variant.

It’s a lot of car for the money, especially now having gained a swag of advanced driver assist and luxury features, though the 2.0-litre petrol engine is an old stager going back years.

Then there’s the tidy styling which must rate at the top of the tree compared to some of its competition.

Kia Australia was one of the first outposts of the company to implement its own local dynamic calibration and this car bears the fruit of that visionary step a decade ago.

It offers general driving ride and handling qualities that few if any competitors can match though there is a limit to what you can do with suspension springs and dampers, tyres and the power steering pump.

This model gets the basic twist beam rear suspension that works well enough but isn’t as good as the multi-link set-up on the 1.6 turbocharged GT version.

You can’t have everything…….

MY19 KIA CERATO HATCH 2.0 - Sport front 3/4 action.


It’s a good looker by any stretch exhibiting a few flavours rolled into one with a touch of Lexus about its flanks, thankfully without the gaping grille.

A joint effort between Kia in California and Korea, the long bonnet profile is more wagon than hatch as much of the tailgate is upright with only the rear glass set at a hatchback slope.

Side glass is tapered sharply towards the rear in a Euro style along straight cut side shoulders while the roofline itself arches from the back of the bonnet right to the back of the car in one curve.

The effect is pleasing and is a neat flow-on from the previous model though different enough.

Frontal styling is family Kia with the bowtie grille and slender, detached headlights giving a predatory bird look to the front.

It seems a bigger car than before, plumped up a tad which has more presence on the road and possibly more interior room.

Detail treatment is subtle and includes neatly recessed apertures for the driving lights and air intakes at the front, mirrored at the back, a rudimentary wing over the tailgate and nicely integrated exhausts.

MY19 KIA CERATO HATCH 2.0 - front interior.


Inside is standard Kia fare with grey everything but a pleasing layout to controls. The cloth upholstery and seats in this base S model are good enough and look serviceable.

Dash design is straightforward with a centre mounted large touchscreen and assorted knobs, buttons and dials underneath.

The chunky wheel has a sporty look along with multiple functions.

Plenty of storage options are provided and ventilation is well catered.

Seating capacity is five with fold flat rear seats doubling the already large load space.

Interior room is generous for a small hatch even in critical areas like headroom and rear seat legroom.

There’s nothing much more to say about the Cerato S interior, it’s bland and functional and would be comfy and resilient.

MY19 KIA CERATO HATCH 2.0 - luggage area.


Being the base model doesn’t mean you miss out on the stuff you really want.

Ignoring the steel wheels Kia has generously equipped this model with;

  • 6-speaker audio
  • 8-inch touch screen
  • Drive mode select (on auto)
  • Cruise control
  • Front and rear park assist
  • Multi-function wheel
  • Multiple adjustments to driving position

MY19 KIA CERATO HATCH 2.0 - engine

Drive and Engine

The 2.0-litre petrol engine is an oldie but a goodie delivering 112kW and 192Nm. It’s not class leading by any stretch but would be like “grandfather’s axe”…. almost bulletproof.

The gun Cerato engine has turbo boosting and direct fuel injection whereas this one has old school multi-point injection and variable cam timing by way of efficiency technology.

No big deal really.

It runs well on regular unleaded or E10 delivering everyday savings there.

Fuel economy on test hovered around the 7.7-litres/100km mark – once again, not class leading but liveable.

The car’s dynamics are where it shines as plenty of driver feel is provided and it sits on the road with confidence, even when you push matters hard.

The brakes are good, the steering is responsive and well weighted and the engine goes well in sports mode especially thanks to the impressive 6-speed auto transmission.

Cerato S misses out on the GT’s multi-link rear suspension but it doesn’t matter for everyday use. You can’t pick it unless you take your Cerato to the track….. highly unlikely.

Engine noise is occasionally audible but is mostly quiet.

Having to constantly reselect recycle mode on the ventilation system was a pain in the bum.

MY19 KIA CERATO HATCH 2.0 - rear seats.


Cerato scores five stars thanks in part to the autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assist, reverse camera, driver attention alert and park assist.

A safety pack at an extra $1000 adds more advanced driver assist tech’ and should be seriously considered.

The new chassis is a lot stronger than before and subtle changes like bigger diameter brakes add an extra measure of safety along with decent Kumho tyres.

Good Bits

  • Safe, Good looking, Comfortable
  • Locally calibrated dynamics
  • Unbeaten warranty… 7 years/unlimited km

Not So Good Bits

  • No satnav
  • Air recycle switches over to outside air automatically
  • Used to have full size spare

MY19 KIA CERATO HATCH 2.0 - Sport rear 3/4 static.


Yep, I understand why Cerato is Kia’s biggest seller in Oz. Doesn’t matter how you cut it, Cerato is great value. Then there’s the warranty. A good car if you like travelling incognito.

Also Look At

Facts and Figures: 2019 Kia Cerato S auto

  • Engine: 2.0L four-cylinder petrol producing 112kW/192Nm
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic
  • Warranty: 7 years/ unlimited km
  • Safety: Five stars
  • Origin: South Korea
  • Price: from $21,490 MLP*

*Includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of options. Some features mentioned in the article are options

2019 Kia Cerato S hatch Review


Yep, I understand why Cerato is Kia’s biggest seller in Oz. Doesn’t matter how you cut it, Cerato is great value. Then there’s the warranty. A good car if you like travelling incognito.

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