2022 Kia Cerato review – Australian launch (video)

Brett Davis

The Kia Cerato has come in for a mild facelift for the 2022 model year, showcasing a new-look front end with slimmer headlights, a wider and narrower tiger nose front grille, and revised front and rear bumper bars for the sedan version. The hatchback carries over the same rear end design as before, while most variants receive a healthy dose of technology and safety enhancement.

2022 Kia Cerato GT-Australia

Four main model grades are on sale in Australia, spanning from the S, Sport, Sport+, to the top GT. As we mainly drove the flagship GT variant during the official launch program, we’ll focus on that. Although we did sample the mid-level Sport. All variants feature the company’s new-look logo – a first for Australia. As is the case with most new vehicle purchases at the moment, there is an expected delivery delay for the new Cerato, with wait times of around six months.

Prices start from $25,490 for the base S auto, and top out at $35,290 for the GT in either sedan or hatch form. There is no more manual option due to very low demand (about 1 per cent of previous Cerato buyers). Zooming in on the GT, it looks like prices have jumped by 1100 bucks. Kia Australia is also offering permanent drive-away deals, with the figures kicking off from $25,990 and $36,990, for each end of the lineup, respectively.

2022 Kia Cerato GT Sedan – THE SPECS

[column width=”47%” padding=”6%”]Engine: 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder
Output: 150kW@6000rpm / 265Nm@1500-4500rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto
Drive type: Front-wheel drive
Wheels: F & R: 18×7.5, 225/40
ANCAP: Five stars
Tare weight: 1370kg
Power-to-weight: 9.13:1 (kg:kW)
Official fuel economy: 6.9L/100km
Fuel capacity/Type: 50L/91 RON[/column] [column width=”47%” padding=”0″]Power efficiency: 21.73kW:L/100km
0-60km/h: 3.44 seconds*
0-100km/h: 6.66 seconds*
60-110km/h: 4.22 seconds*
1/4 mile: 14.84 seconds at 158.5km/h*
Max acceleration: 0.621g
100-0km/h braking: 2.92 seconds at 36.61 metres*
Max deceleration: -1.234g
Decibel at idle: 40*
Peak decibel at 60-100km/h: 87*
Priced from: $35,290[/column][end_columns]

* Figures as tested by PerformanceDrive on the day. Factory claims may be different

2022 Kia Cerato GT-launch

2022 Kia Cerato – THE PACKAGE

When it comes to packaging and value for money, not many car manufacturers get close to what Kia serves up. And it’s the same story with the new Cerato. All models come with LED daytime running lights embedded into the new-look front end. Auto headlights are also standard, along with an 8.0-inch touch-screen media interface running Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

A full suite of safety systems, such as lane follow assist, driver attention alert, rear occupant alert, leading vehicle departure alert, and lane-keep assist with autonomous emergency braking for car and pedestrian all come standard too. Base models come with a six-speaker sound system, keyless entry, manual climate control, and a rear-view camera with parking sensors.

Stepping up to the Sport and above gains you a 10.25-inch touch-screen media interface. This is the wider group’s latest system, running crisp graphics and comprehensive menu functionality. It adds things like digital radio, sat-nav with traffic updates, and more content to play around with and more vehicle settings to adjust.

2022 Kia Cerato GT-interior

Moving up to the Sport+ brings in some serious active safety features, including blind-spot collision avoidance technology, rear cross-traffic alert and avoidance, safe exit warning, and adaptive cruise control. The Sport+ also gets larger rear disc brakes, now measuring 284mm, up from the standard 262mm fitted on the S and Sport. All models use 280mm front discs except the GT, which gets unique 305mm items (and 284mm rear).

In our opinion, the Cerato cabin remains as one of the best interiors of this class. It is just so practical and easy to live with, with all controls at arm’s length and suitably positioned, yet it’s also presented with a reasonably suave design and held together with decent quality materials. Especially the GT. The GT’s sporty leather-clad seats are nice and they hold you in, but they’re not so aggressive in bolstering that they become uncomfortable on longer drives. And the GT is now available with a sunroof for that additional luxury indulgence.

2022 Kia Cerato GT-rear seats

There is a certain airiness to the cabin environment that makes it feel larger than it is. Although, legroom and headroom in the front and back is plentiful for this class. And it’s great to see Kia has added rear climate vents and even a USB charging port. A flip-down centre arm rest supports two cup holders and ensures good long-distance comfort.

Boot space remains unchanged from before. This is good as it is quite large, offering 428L in hatch format and 502L in the sedan. A space-saver spare wheel sits under the floor. Obviously that’s not ideal as it means you have to store the full-size alloy (if fitted) back into that hole if you get a flat.

2022 Kia Cerato GT hatch-boot

2022 Kia Cerato – THE DRIVE

No changes have been made to the widely-used 1.6-litre turbo engine in the GT. However, during our testing we managed to further improve on our previous 0-100km/h time. It’s actually a very quick car, almost in proper hot hatch territory, recording a best of 6.66 seconds. It also sounds great. Those who love the fashionable parp during upshifts will enjoy this immensely.

It would have been nice to see some updates made to this seven-speed dual-clutch auto, fitted exclusively to the GT, as it is a bit clunky and takes its time during stop-start traffic. The technology for these types of transmissions has evolved in the last few years, and Kia – via the greater Hyundai Motor Group – even has a new eight-speed dual-clutch auto in its toolkit. We guess as this is not an all-new model generation change the existing DCT can slip through for now.

2022 Kia Cerato GT-0-100 performance

Both the sedan and hatch GT continue with a multi-link rear suspension setup as before, while the naturally aspirated models retain a torsion beam rear end. Kia has made some changes to the dampers on the GT, so now the ride comfort is improved while maintaining that fun and agile response. We remember the outgoing GT being quite firm, which was fine by us but perhaps a little too stiff for some buyers in this class. Now, the ride is more forgiving when encountering rough roads. The base models offer a much softer ride, as before, with no fundamental tuning or changes for 2022.

The GT also continues with 18-inch wheels that feature a red centre cap, which kinda looks like a centre-locking hub. Impressively, these are wrapped in 225/40 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres, as before. They provide more than enough grip for this style of vehicle. In fact, you can chuck this around like a proper hot hatch and it will respond with vigour and competence. There is hardly any body roll at all, but the suspension seems like it has room to compress during bigger bumps.

2022 Kia Cerato GT hatch-taillights

In fact, the only thing we would change about the handling is the steering. It’s an electric power steering system that offers decent feedback. However, as is the way with these modern electric-type setups, you sometimes want a bit more feel and connection. On the contrary, EPS does help with overall fuel economy and emissions. And since the GT is not a full-blown hot hatch it can probably take a pass on this.

The only other thing we would change about the driving experience is to have the ability to switch off the ‘active sound design’ engine sounds that are pumped through the in-cabin speakers. It’s actually quite annoying at times, especially when the note from the tailpipe is so good. You have the actual note as a result of internal combustion, and then this layer of fake, electronic whining over the top. From the inside, that is. Please, Kia, just offer a button to switch it off. Or at least give us directions to the fuse location so we can rip it out.

2022 Kia Cerato – THE VIDEO

2022 Kia Cerato – THE VERDICT

As before, the Cerato GT is a superb everyday vehicle. It is extremely practical inside and comes filled with loads of standard features, while the driving experience is properly sporty and fun. Top it all off with an attractive price tag and a seven-year warranty, and you’re left with one of the best – if not best – warm hatches/sedans on the current market.

As always, if you’re thinking about buying a new car don’t forget to click here to speak with our car buying specialists.

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