Kia Cerato 2013 Launch Review

All-New Kia Cerato SLi (front left), Kia Cerato Si (front right) and Kia Cerato S (background).
Kia has launched an all new version of the Cerato Sedan into what is the largest segment of the market with 23% of the overall market. The small passenger car segment is the most hotly contested segment in Australia and first impressions of the all new Cerato Sedan is that it will give the competition a real shake.

The Cerato is Kia’s most successful model, achieving more than 2.5 million global sales since its introduction in 2004, including 445,000 units in 2011 when the second-generation model accounted for almost 18% of Kia’s total worldwide sales.

Designing a car for this segment is extremely difficult as the demographic of the buyer ranges from young couples and families to older buyers that are downsizing. However downsizing in their mind doesn’t mean missing out on the quality and features they are used to.

I have just returned from two days with the new Cerato sedan on a drive program that took in city driving, windy secondary country roads, rougher country roads and freeway sectors and I have come away with a renewed respect for the little Kia.

I say little Kia but in reality the Cerato is like a lot of other new models and is growing bit by bit, much like my waistline. The all-new Cerato sedan is longer, lower and wider than the current car, with an extended wheelbase, but importantly lighter by an average of 50Kg.

Not only has it grown in dimensions but has improved quality, upgraded equipment with a host of additional convenience and safety features, a more spacious cabin, improved refinement and an upgraded powertrain line-up that delivers class-leading fuel economy.

Kia has certainly made enormous strides from the days of chap and cheerful. Today they can justifiably claim to provide a desirable quality product that exceed customer expectations and provide a rewarding long-term ownership experience for Kia buyers.

Often buyers don’t really appreciate the effort , time and cost involved in designing an all new vehicle. In the case of the Cerato it is the result of 42 months design, engineering and development work and an investment of more than 300 billion Korean Won ($256 million), the third-generation Cerato models will be manufactured at Kia’s Hwasung facility in Korea.

Externally the Cerato follows the family style created by Peter Schreyer , particularly evident in the frontal treatment. The sleeker new Cerato has cab-forward styling and a lower coupe-like roofline. In short it has style, looks pretty good and all round visibility is excellent..

Compared with its second-generation predecessor, new Cerato is 30 mm longer (4560 mm), 25 mm lower (1435 mm) and 5 mm wider (1780 mm). The wheelbase has been extended by 50 mm (to 2700 mm) and is now the same as the larger Kia Sorento.

One benefit of the size creep in the new model is more generous accommodation for people and cargo. There is adequate room for even tall drivers like myself at 190cm odd and adequately endowed in the butt department. Seats are comfortable, even in the lumbar area but lack a little side bolster.

With a thick rimmed tight steering wheel that is both reach and height adjustable, plenty of seat travel and head height, the driver can find a comfortable position. The steering wheel is full of controls including the new flex steer system that allows driver input into the steering responsiveness. Gimmicky but effective.

Kia’s new FlexSteer™ system is fitted standard across the range. It provides three different settings (or weights) for the steering to match customer preference with Normal, Sport and Comfort modes. The effort required to turn the wheel varies with mode, but the gearing (the number of turns lock-to-lock) remains the same. Comfort mode is ideal for city driving.

On one particular windy rough section of the launch drive I had the flex steer on sport the whole time and it certainly enhanced the driving feel.

Head height is a little restricted with the sunroof in the SLi however not overly so. The left foot rest is in great position, a little thing but extremely important on long trips as is the organ pedal style for the accelerator.

Depending on model, the Cerato driver will be faced by one of two different types of instrument cluster – each based on two large, chrome-edged, dials and a bridging centre information panel layout.

MY13 Kia Cerato S interior with Automatic transmission.

The dot-matrix LCD cluster (standard on S and Si) offers a broad range of information through its centre panel display. While buyers of the SLi can experience the TFT colour LCD cluster. This features a new and more ergonomically designed GUI (graphics user interface) with a 4.2-inch centre screen and high-intensity white lighting.

The centre stack houses the radio, Bluetooth etc. Unfortunately the Sat Nav , which is a relatively inexpensive $1,000 option, isn’t available until June or so and is worth waiting for as you can’t retrospectively fit it.

MY13 Kia Cerato SLi interior with Six Speed manual transmission.

Storage is abundant everywhere with door bins for drink bottles, centre cup holders, a covered area in front of the gear selector, an adequate centre console bin, sunglass holder and large glove box.

The overall feel of the all black interior is ambient. Neither luxurious nor down market. For enhanced elegance, soft-touch materials are applied to the upper front door trims, dashboard, door armrests, door centre trim panels and the centre console. A subtle touch is the carbon-look trim on the vertical band each side of the stack that incorporates the adjustable air vents.

Rear seat passengers have more head, shoulder and knee room. However taller passengers may feel the sloping roofline and simply won’t fit behind a tall driver. Boot space is adequate but the boot opening is small

One noticeable thing about the Cerato is the generous equipment levels through the choice of three trim levels – S, Si and SLi : two transmission choices, a six speed manual and automatic and two engine choices.

MY13 Kia Cerato S Sedan.

Even the ‘entry-level’ S model is equipped with projection-style headlamps and escort lighting, electric front & rear windows, keyless entry with burglar alarm, cruise control, power steering, trip computer with external temperature display, a USB / iPod compatible radio/CD player with six speakers and Bluetooth hands-free and front corner and rear parking sensors.

2013 Kia Cerato Sedan

Si models add 16-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior highlights (belt-line, exterior door handle and exhaust pipe), electric folding exterior mirrors, auto light control, adjustable rear seat air vents, a 4.3-inch touch-screen audio system with LCD display, push button start and smart key and a rear view reversing camera.

MY13 Kia Cerato SLi Sedan

The range topping SLi models gain 17-inch alloy wheels, leather trim seats with front heated seats and a 8-way powered plus lumbar support and ventilated driver’s seat, LED daytime running lights and HID headlamps, LED rear light clusters and high-level brake light, paddle shifters on the AT model, dual-zone climate control with automatic windscreen de-fogging and Clean Air, powered glass tilt-and-slide sunroof, TFT LCD cluster display and a cooling glove box.

The Si and SLi models with Smart Key include the Smart Welcome system which unfolds the door mirrors and switches on the puddle lamps and pocket lights (in the door handles) for 15 seconds when the driver approaches. It also turns on the front and rear exterior positioning lights and the cabin’s interior lamps (for 30 seconds).

MY13 Kia Cerato 2.0L GDI Petrol Engine

Powered by the 2.0 litre Nu GDI engine, the new Cerato with a manual gearbox accelerates to 100 kph in 8.5 seconds or 9.3 seconds (automatic) and attains a top speed of 210 kph. Combined cycle fuel consumption for both the manual and automatic models is 7.4 l/100 km.

2013 Kia Cerato Sedan

With 1.8 litre Nu MPI engine, new Cerato has a top speed of 200 kph and reaches 100 kph in 10.1 seconds (11.6 seconds, automatic). For manual models, combined cycle fuel consumption is 6.6 l/100 km (and 7.1 l/100 km for automatic models).

Thanks to the new Cerato’s 50-litre fuel tank, owners should enjoy a typical range of 650 km between fill-ups.

The pick of the combinations is the 2.0L engine combined with the 6 speed automatic transmission. There is enough torque and power for everyday driving along with some spirited bursts to satisfy.

While the specification of the new Cerato’s fully independent front suspension – by MacPherson struts – and CTBA (coupled torsion beam axle) rear suspension is unchanged, both systems have been fine-tuned to improve agility, enhance shock absorbance and deliver greater refinement.

As with all Australian Kia’s the local product team has invested hundreds of hours and thousands of kilometres in optimising the ride and handling characteristics to meet Australian drivers’ demanding expectations.

Again, a buyer wont realise the fine tuning process that goes hand in hand with a smooth even sporty at times ride from the Cerato. The work done here in Australia is really noticeable, especially on some of our rougher back roads. The Cerato handles these with ease and while it may lose its shape mid corner over bumps, we were definitely pushing much harder than what would be normal on those roads and were pleasantly rewarded. It is not a sports car but rather provides a relaxed driving experience. This is enhanced by the reduced NVH levels.

As always safety is a key feature of any vehicle and Kia engineers have re-engineered both the new Cerato’s structure and its safety equipment to ensure that the third-generation model will also deliver the highest safety standards in its class, with improved front, side and rear impact protection. The expectation for the new Cerato is a maximum 5-star rating.

New ‘crash boxes’ are fitted to the longitudinal engine bay side members, reducing low-speed impact damage and the rear chassis side members are strengthened – minimizing distortion and reducing repair costs.

An additional benefit of the CTBA rear suspension layout is that its robust structure provides the under-seat fuel tank with added protection during a rear impact.

Active safety technologies that new Cerato buyers can expect include ESC (electronic stability control), HAC (hill-start assist control), which prevents slip-back during stop-start driving on inclines, and VSM (vehicle stability management) that works with the ESC to provide ‘corrective’ steering inputs to help the driver avoid loss of control, especially on asymmetric (wet and dry) road surfaces, front corner and rear parking sensors and HID (high intensity discharge) Xenon headlamps in the SLi model.

The all new Cerato comes standard with six airbags including dual front airbags, front side airbags and side curtain airbags offering head protection to both front seat and rear seat occupants.

So to sum up my thoughts on the all new Cerato. Its stylish, slightly bigger yet lighter than the previous model. The two new engines provide reasonable power and torque and the pick is the 2.0L with automatic transmission. The Cerato has a quality feel about it, plenty of room for its size, drives and handles pretty good and is awesome value. Combine this with Kia’s reliability, 5 year warranty and you have a winner.


Kia Cerato S

• 1.8L Nu MPI engine (110kW / 178Nm)
• 6 speed M/T or A/T
• 16” steel wheels (205/55 R16) with full-size spare
• ESC (Electronic Stability Control) with TCS/ABS/EBD/BA
• VSM (Vehicle Stability Management) with HAC
• ESS (Emergency Stop Signal)
• Seatbelt reminders on all positions
• MDPS with FlexSteerTM (3 settings: Comfort/Normal/Sport)
• Front corner & rear parking sensors
• Front fog lamps
• 6 SRS airbags (front / front side / curtain)
• Keyless entry with folding key set
• Projection headlamps with escort function
• Cloth seats
• 6-way driver’s seat adjustment (height adjust – pumping device)
• Front centre console armrest (with storage box & bin) & front twin cup holders
• Split fold rear seats (60:40)
• Rear centre armrest with twin cup holders
• Chrome family-look grille
• Body coloured bumpers, door handles & outside door mirrors
• Electric outside door mirrors (heated) with side indicators
• Cruise control with steering wheel mounted controls
• Dot-matrix type LCD instrument cluster with multi-function trip computer
• Power windows (front & rear) with driver’s auto down
• Floor console storage with sliding cover
• MP3 compatible CD player with AM/FM tuner
• 6 speakers (front door, rear door & front tweeters)
• AUX/USB input with iPod® compatibility (on selected iPod® models)
• Bluetooth® functionality (phone/media stream)
• Steering wheel mounted audio/Bluetooth® controls
• Glass antenna
• Manual air-conditioning

Kia Cerato Si (S trim +)

• 2.0L GDI engine
• 16” alloy wheels (205/55 R16) with full-size alloy spare
• Rear view camera with in-audio screen display & parking guidelines
• Dusk-sensing automatic headlamps
• Smart key with push button start & welcome lights (puddle/pocket)
• Electric folding outside door mirrors with automatic folding function
• Front centre console armrest sliding function
• Chrome accented highlights (waist-line & door handles)
• Chrome tip rear muffler
• UV cut glass (windscreen)
• Aero-blade type front wipers
• Premium steering wheel & shift knob
• Artificial leather wrapped instrument cluster
• Front power windows auto up & down with safety function
• Premium interior trim
(carbon-fibre look fascia / chrome look interior door handles / soft-touch door trim)
• Sunvisor illumination
• Seat back pocket (passenger side)
• 4.3” full touch colour LCD audio screen
• Rear air vent

Kia Cerato SLi (Si trim +)

• 17” alloy wheels (215/45 R17) with full-size alloy spare
• Electrochromic rear view mirror (auto dimming)
• LED daytime running lights (DRL)
• HID type front headlamps
• LED rear combination lamps
• Leather trim seats
• 8-way power driver’s seat plus lumbar support
• IMS driver’s seat with 2 seating position memory & easy access function
• Powered sunroof (slide & tilt)
• Paddle shifters (A/T only)
• Colour TFT Supervision instrument cluster
• Alloy sports pedals
• Cooling glovebox
• Dual-zone climate control air-conditioning
• Clean Air module
• Auto defog system
• Ventilated driver’s seat
• Front seat warmers

+ Optional Satellite Navigation (from April production – June delivery)
• 7” full touch colour LCD screen
• Satellite Navigation multimedia system with traffic information (SUNATM)
• DVD Player (video playback only functional while stationary)
• Shark fin type GPS antenna


Body and chassis
Four-door, five- seater sedan, with all-steel unitary construction bodyshell. Choice of transversely mounted gasoline engines driving the front wheels via a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.


2.0-litre 129 kW
Type Nu, GDI, four-cylinder, DOHC
Capacity 1,999 cc (2.0-litres)
Bore x stroke 81.0 x 97.0 mm
Power 129 kW @ 6,500 rpm
Torque 209 Nm @ 4,700 rpm
Compression ratio 11.5:1
Fuelling Gasoline Direct Injection, 16 valves

1.8-litre 110 kW
Type Nu, MPI, four-cylinder, DOHC
Capacity 1,797 cc (1.8-litres)
Bore x stroke 81.0 x 87.2 mm
Power 110 kW @ 6,500 rpm
Torque 178 Nm @ 4,700 rpm
Compression ratio 10.3:1
Fuelling Multi-point injection, 16 valves

Transmissions Si & SLi S
2.0 (129) 1.8 (110)
Manual 6-sp 6-sp
Automatic 6-sp 6-sp

Gear Ratios
2.0 MT / AT 1.8 MT / AT
1 3.308 / 4.212 3.615 / 4.400
2 1.962 / 2.637 1.962 / 2.726
3 1.257 / 1.800 1.294 / 1.834
4 0.976 / 1.386 1.024 / 1.392
5 0.778 / 1.000 0.860 / 1.000
6 0.633 / 0.772 0.756 / 0.774
Reverse 3.583 / 3.385 3.583 / 3.440
Final Drive 4.333 / 3.064 4.188 / 3.270

Suspension and damping
Front Fully independent subframe-mounted MacPherson struts, with coil springs and gas-filled shock absorbers. Anti-roll stabiliser bar.
Rear CTBA (coupled torsion beam axle), with separate coil springs and gas-filled shock absorbers.

Technical specifications / All-new Kia Cerato

Type MDPS electric power steering
Steering ratio 14.5: 2
Wheel turns 2.96 lock-to-lock
Turning circle 10.6 metres

Power Single 10.0-inch booster
Front 280 x 23 mm ventilated discs
Rear 262 x 10 mm solid discs
Assistance ABS anti-lock
100-to-0 kph 42.3 metre (with ABS)

Wheels and tyres
SLi 17 x 7.0 inch alloy 215/45 R17
Si 16 x 6.5 inch alloy 205/55 R16
S 16 x 6.5 inch steel 205/55 R16
Spare full-size steel or alloy wheel

Dimensions (mm)
Overall length 4,560 Overall width 1,780 (excluding door mirrors)
Overall height 1,435 Wheelbase 2,700
Front track 1,553 to 1,557 (depending on wheel/tyre combination)
Rear track 1,566 to 1,570 (depending on wheel/tyre combination)
Front overhang 880 Rear overhang 980
Ground clearance 140 Aerodynamics 0.27 Cd

Interior Front Rear
Head room 992 948
Leg room 1,073 913
Shoulder room 1,424 1,395
Hip room 1,366 1,348

Capacities (litres)
Fuel tank 50.0 Luggage 421 (SAE) / 482 (VDA)

Weights 2.0 MT / AT 1.8 MT / AT
Kerb weight (kg) 1,296 / 1,319 1,287 / 1,304
Maximum (kg) 1,770 / 1,790 1,750 / 1,770

Top speed (kph) 210 / 210 205 / 202
0-to-100 kph (sec) 8.5 / 9.0 9.3 / 10.2

Fuel Consumption and Emissions*
Litres / 100 km 7.4 / 7.4 6.6 / 7.1
CO2 (g/km) 176 / 177 158 / 169

*combined cycle tests


(Does not include On Road Costs and dealer delivery charges)

Body Grade Engine T/M RRP
4DR S 1.8L MPI Petrol(110kW) 6M/T $19,990
6A/T $21,990
Si 2.0L GDi Petrol(129kW) 6M/T $23,990
6A/T $25,990
SLi 6M/T $27,990
6A/T $29,990
SLi(with Nav)* 6M/T $28,990
6A/T $30,990
About Rob Fraser 2004 Articles
Rob Fraser – General dogsbody & Director Rob is the founder of the business. He constantly mutters something about way too many red wines one evening being to blame. Often known for taking the 4WD in the driveway over the sports car, he has travelled pretty much everywhere in Australia and when he is bored goes for a drive. He first learned to drive on the farm in a left hand drive WW11 Jeep when he was 11, and was hooked on 4WDriving way back then. In addition to 4WD he is an avid motoring enthusiast and has maintained a strong interest in the industry ever since his teens. He has owned way too many cars in his time as well. Having previously lived at the top of corporate life he retired in 2000 and hasn’t put a suit and tie on since. Cars are his passion so why not have a business doing what you love he figures. He has towed either a caravan or camper trailer to most parts of Australia, has run guided tours for camper trailers’ and instructed drivers in off road towing.