A sharper look, change of engine and better road sense arrive with a mid-life update of the Kia Cerato
FACELIFT time for Kia’s compact Cerato has delivered a host of changes that go beyond the usual styling and specification revisions.
All but the LX base edition picks up driver-assist aids. The mid-range EX is now equipped with blind spot detection, lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert, while the top Limited, which previously badged as SX, adds in lane departure warning system and forward collision warning.
The previous 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre engine choices have been replaced by a single variable valve-timed 2.0-litre unit. This ‘Nu’ engine produces 112kW of power at 6200rpm and 192Nm of torque peaking at 4000rpm, 700rpm lower than either of the two previous engines.
It’s a slightly odd change in that, when Cerato came out in 2013, the original 2.0-litre made 129kW and 209Nm (while the 1.8 created 110kW and 178Nm) however Kia reinforces that the new engine – which is the same that goes into Sportage – is more responsive and also more economical than both predecessors. Also, it produces fewer emissions. So, there are plenty of positives.
The six-speed sequential automatic transmission now upgrades to a drive mode select with a choice of Normal, Eco and Sport modes.
The exterior has been refreshed by Kia’s California-based design team in line with family styling cues, with updated black or gloss-black trim for the Kia ‘tiger-nose’ grille, as well as updated headlights, bumper and foglamps, and a reprofiled bonnet.
The cabin has been given a tweak, with a redesigned gearshifter and new trim materials throughout.
Suspension changes include the installation of revised (stiffer) front springs with the aim of improving the balance between ride comfort and handling, as well as improved damper compliance.
The upgraded dampers utilise new valving technology which is claimed to allow for more focused local tuning to achieve improved ride quality without sacrificing handling.
Improvements have been made to the speed-sensitive motor driven power steering, bringing increased steering responsiveness.
Cerato now incorporates a 7-inch colour touch screen audio system across all models and becomes the first Kia model here to adopt Android Auto. However, Kia has not yet been able to activate the equally popular Apple CarPlay aspect yet. It’s apparently coming, though, and will likely be a software patch. Certainly, that’s how sister brand Hyundai does it.