Kia starts the year with a release of two rather cheeky GT cars. One won’t surprise you, and one probably will.
After the ill-fated Pro_ceed GT was canned, Kia lacked a pocket rocket, until now with the Kia Cerato GT picking up where the Pro_ceed left off. It continues the success of Cerato sedan launched last year.
Then, just to thumb a further nose at industry trends, the tiny Picanto now has a GT model for a sensation under 18 thousand.
GT comes in a sedan and hatch, with a drive away price of $31,990, and of course, Kia’s 7 year warranty.
Changes aren’t confined to a bit of lippy and a new hat, oh no.
The new car is bigger than the old car on all dimensions except the wheelbase.
GT styling changes have been kept ever so subtle. Discrete red highlights in the grille and on the body kit, ands a hefty 18” set of wheels. They look great, and make the body look lower and slightly rakish.
LED lighting, and quality finishes, give the look an expensive look. It doesn’t often happen that a car looks like its concept design drawing, but Cerato does.
GT trim brings the verisimilitude everyone expects from a top model.
Cabin surfacing is of a mostly soft-feel material. Areas like the tops of doors, glove box lids, and parts of the centre console are harder wearing plastic. It provides give greater resistance to keys, fingernails, and the foibles of fumbling friends.
Perforated upholstery allows gentle wafts of cool air through the seat and back. On a hot day, you might want to allow it to get the black leather to a civilised temperature before engaging with your bottom.
To make the seats even more convivial, there is powered adjustment for both front seats, and memory settings for a forgetful driver.
I particularly like the smart red contrast stitching on seats and doors. Like all GT cars, there are further touches of red to let people know you spent a lot of money.
Rear legroom is adequate for shorter trips. Kia insists Cerato GT is a city car that’s had a warm hatch make-over.
Controls fall easily to hand with carefully crafted ergonomics being the number one consideration.
The front passenger seat felt a bit high for my taste but that didn’t spoil the roomy feel of the cabin. Nor did it effect the comfort once on the move.
There is a handy ledge with a tray to wirelessly charge a mobile too.
Considering the Cerato range starts under 20 grand, the look and feel leaves an impression of a car that is far more expensive than it actually is. Of course a lot of the tasty goodies only come in the top model, but that gives you plenty of incentive to find the lost change behind the lounge chair doesn’t it?
Like all Kias, the Cerato GT is chock-full of gear.
The parts bin was taken by the scruff of the neck and given a jolly good shake, and look at what they found:
- 8-inch touchscreen,
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with voice recognition,
- wireless phone charger,
- 8-speaker JBL Premium sound system
- Bluetooth connectivity,
- climate control air-conditioning
- ventilated front sport seats
Drive and Engine
Graeme Gambold tunes all Australian Kias.
The 150kw turbo four from Pro_Ceed gets a nifty 7 speed DCT automatic. DCT automatics are loved for their swift and smooth changes, and Kia’s in-house unit is a peach.
Steering feels reasonably sharp and has had the laying-on of hands by Graeme’s team. Ride is good on most surfaces and gives excellent control in cornering. MacPherson struts at the front are teamed with sophisticated multi-link rear suspension.
Some said they thought low-speed ride was a trifle too firm, but I had no such experience. Kia pegged handling against Peugeot’s 308 GTI and VW’s venerable Golf GTi among others. Kia says it compares well when price and equipment is considered.
- Autonomous Emergency Braking (Pedestrian and Cyclist),
- Forward Collision Warning,
- Lane Keep Assist,
- Rear View Camera with dynamic guidelines,
- Driver Attention Alert Warning,
5 star ANCAP rating on most models of Cerato is thanks to the addition of AEB and Lane Keep Assist.
- Ease of use
- High equipment level
- Handsome looks
- Excellent value
- 7-year warranty
Not So Good Bits
- Some plastics felt too hard
- Some thought low speed ride too hard
Cerato is one of Kia’s best sellers for good reason.
It is handsome and well equipped. GT upgrades have sharpened handling and added even more value.
Facts and Figures: 2019 Kia Cerato GT Hatch and Sedan
- Engine: 1.6L four-cylinder turbo petrol producing 150kW/265Nm
- Transmission: Seven-speed DCT automatic
- Warranty: 7 years/ unlimited km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: South Korea
- Price: from $31,990