What is it?
Kia has again delivered more sporty cake to the hungry enthusiast for less dollars.
Its Cerato GT may be the cheapest, new, five-door GT on the market and it will stick to the benchmark VW like fresh bubble gum to an Adidas Gazelle — on and off the street.
The Cerato has been on the menu here since 2003 but never has it been as good as right now.
Sharing the same platform as the Hyundai i30 N-Line, it’s bound to impress – especially if you compare the extra no-cost bits in the Kia.
And it also features independent rear suspension.
Safety features include autonomous emergency braking, rear cross traffic alert and driver attention alert as well as lane assist and vehicle distance monitoring.
If you add auto cruise control to this list (which is standard) it becomes an impressive integrated auto pilot option if you need to tune out and forget your obligations as a driver.
It has a five-star crash rating, a seven-year warranty and it’s super fuel-efficient.
What’s it cost?
The GT five-door is on sale from $31,990 driveaway and represents a very good entry level sporting car.
The car is 160mm longer, 20mm wider and 10mm lower than the 2.0-litre models in the Cerato range, allowing the cargo area to be increased 84 litres to a body-swallowing 741 litres.
Inside there’s a very impressive amount of included goodness for the meagre price tag, including CarPlay, inverter charging and maps.
The seats are very comfortable and leatherbound, with sport accented stitching.
They are fully power assisted with memory to give exactly the right position.
Leg room in the back is adequate and the rear 60/40 folding seats make the hatch truly versatile.
Ever locked yourself in the boot – or locked someone else in, accidentally or otherwise?
If that scenario resonates with you, here’s the good news: the boot of Kia’s Cerato can be opened from within.
There’s a slot that you can stick the car’s key into, which will release you from the cosy company of the spacesaver spare wheel.
Good luck finding the slot in the dark — that’s if you have the key fob with you.
Mafiosi types shouldn’t tell their victims about this.
The bizarre boot feature is detailed in the car’s owner’s handbook, which like all the other brands of the day runs to hundreds of pages to keep the global bureaucrats in Brussels happy.
There are 10 pages on how to open (and escape) from the boot. Yes, really.
Alternatively, you can just touch the little electronic button under the rear badge and save yourself a lot of reading.
However, that’s just a little side from the joys of Kia’s Cerato GT.
What’s it go like?
There’s a 7-speed dual clutch auto hooked up to the 150kW/265Nm 1.6-litre turbo motor that gives the Cerato a wide band of enjoyable GT driving.
If you like wringing the neck in the high revs it is happy to comply, or leave it in the mid-power band to exploit the 265Nm of torque thrust out of tight corners.
Zero to 100km/h comes up in a fraction under 7 seconds — 6.91 by my stopwatch.
The suspension is firm and there is a small amount of difference in the feel between the four drive modes: Comfort, Eco, Smart and Sport.
Smart mode takes over when in drive and adapts according to driver inputs.
The first three are selected by push-button, but for Sport you need to flick the selector lever out of D.
The Michelin Pilot Sport 225/40 18 inch tyres do a super job to keep the bulk of the Cerato well and truly planted.
At no time did the car feel as though it was incapable of any situation thrown at it.
On the road the Cerato GT lives up to the badging and provides a very high standard of firm feel with comfort.
The interior cabin noise is minimal on many road surfaces.
Driven hard, there is good engine flexibility and many, many gears to play with.
The underpinnings are super, never flawing the chassis or reaching the limits of the car’s ability.
It does not snap or break free or do anything characteristically like FWD cars of old.
It runs on standard 91 octane petrol and I recorded an average of 6.3L/100km, including the acceleration squirts.
I got 6.1 on the open road, undercutting the maker’s claim of 7.4 by a considerable margin.
What we like?
- Equipment level
- Eager drivetrain
- Massive warranty
- Great fuel economy
- Sporty notes
- Good appearance
What we don’t like?
- Some dash reflection on the windscreen
- Overkill owner’s manual
- Nothing else
The bottom line?
I enjoyed the drive so much I forgot to tune in to the audio system: an 8-speaker JBL Premium with Bluetooth connectivity.
And, just in case you stay in the boot for longer than expected, there are a couple of speakers in there to take your mind off things.
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Kia Cerato GT, priced from $31,990 driveaway