KIA continues to make bold automotive moves. In a world where sport utility vehicles rule the sales roost, it would be simple for them to just phone in a new sedan. Thankfully, they didn't as the 2022 Cerato brings key strengths to the table for those still interested in a traditional four-door sedan.
The Cerato's styling has always set it apart from segment rivals, having a very sleek coupé-like appearance. That hasn't been changed heavily for the new model. There's been a little nip and tuck here and there, but the big update is the tiger grille nose and the new logo. Gone is the black oval and large white centred text, now replaced by a modern flair and premium feel due to its classy brushed metal finish. It did manage to turn a few heads and pique interest from passers-by.
The interior takes a similar path as the exterior, cleaning up the lines. The dashboard is now a multi-layered exercise in conservative design, lightly trimmed in piano black and silver accents. It's uncluttered and ergonomic to maximise operational ease. All the contact points feature soft-touch material, and the cloth seats are comfortable and meld well with the steering wheel to give the adjustability necessary for relaxed driving. They're soft enough for long treks and bolstered enough for those who might chart a faster driving pace from time to time.
At the centre of the spacious cabin is the 8-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system. Like the detonator style key fob, this system is a downstream version from its more premium models. The result is great sound quality, for the class, and a system that is fast, stable and easy to use. Connectivity happens in the blink of an eye through wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Drive modes are SPORT and ECO, and both affect the behaviour of the Cerato. In ECO, the throttle dulls and the shifting slows, trying to squeeze as much miles out of every precious drop of fuel in its gas tank. In its normal settings, the Kia still is economical enough and shows off some of its athletic abilities with a deep press of the accelerator pedal. When in SPORT that ability is fully realised. The 1.6-litre's revvy nature matches well with the six-speed automatic transmission. Traditionalists will rejoice as Kia continues to forego the industry trend of having a constant velocity transmission (CVT), making it free of that annoying rubber-band effect CVTs are notorious for. When driven sportily, the Cerato responds with more grip than a driver would expect. There's very little body roll and understeer as the chassis is set up on that fine line of comfort and performance.
The 2022 Kia Cerato shows that someone still cares about the small sedan and it's way better than it needs to be, providing a great value and driving experience for those who still want a car.
MODEL: 2022 Kia Cerato
ENGINE: 1.6-litre, four-cylinder — 128bhp/114lb/ft
DRIVETRAIN: six-speed automatic/front-wheel drive
SUMMARY: The Koreans continue to throw everything at the wall to see what works.