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Kia Cerato continues its ascension

Friday, July 31, 2020

SMALL sedans have it rough these days with the majority of automotive appeal heading the way of sport utility vehicles (SUV). To overcome this, manufacturers have to imbue products in this segment with more life. The 2020 Kia Cerato puts its best foot forward in order to make it a better proposition than that of an SUV.

Styling-wise, the Cerato keeps its coupé-like shape from the previous model. Getting coupé design like this in a small SUV usually requires stepping up to more expensive luxury brands. Stylish smooth lines run the length of the vehicle giving it a somewhat traditional but still active posture as the rear roofline slopes gently into the trunk.

This doesn't impact the inside. There's plenty of space, front and rear, for the average family and their accoutrements. Even with appearance of a shortened trunk, it does open to reveal more than adequate room for cargo. That boon of storage is plentiful and thoughtful throughout the interior like the double shelf in the centre console allowing one to have both their phone on charge and other items within reach. Should there be the need for more room, the rear seats fold down for further uninterrupted payload space.

Seating is comfortable with soft-touch materials at the major contact points. What is gone is the sculpted wave dashboard from the previous model, now replaced by a more traditional design. Cabin refinement is good allowing low-noise motoring and the ability to enjoy the great sounding stereo system. Don't be fooled by the small screen. Since it's based on the excellent Kia infotainment system found higher up the range, it operates quickly and intuitively making it a breeze to connect phones or other devices.

The Cerato's chassis dynamics follows its exterior. It was already a step above rivals who put comfort above everything. On the road it's responsive with a nice firm feel without being so soft it's uncomfortable or easily upset when driven hard. This confidence is also felt in the 1.6-litre engine that delivers a nice revvy sensation when pushed, but can still operate unobtrusively and efficiently during the daily grind. Buyers will appreciate the six-speed automatic transmission giving the Cerato no weird feel under acceleration and more exciting shifting in SPORT mode than class rivals equipped with the popular CVT.

As a small sedan, the 2020 Cerato builds on the strengths of the last model. It still looks sporty, drives sporty, and still has all the space and practicality the average family would need.