After the successful launch of the Cerato Sedan and Cerato Koup in 2009, Kia is has introduced a third member to the Cerato family – a 5-door hatch. With the latest Cerato derivative, Kia takes the fight straight to C-segment rivals like the Mazda3, Hyundai i30 and Toyota Auris.
The new Cerato Hatch has the same overall width, height and wheelbase as the Sedan, but at 4 340 mm long the Hatch is 190 mm shorter. Despite its more compact dimensions, the hatch’s cargo volume of 550-litres (including storage of a full-size spare wheel) is amongst the biggest in class and 135-litres larger than the Sedan. The Cerato Hatchback is not simply a sedan with the boot cutoff, rather, Kia designers have focused on enhancing the dynamics, efficiency, comfort and safety of the new car. As a result, the Cerato Hatch boasts an all-new roof, rear side panels, C-pillar, tailgate, rear bumper, light clusters and a new two-tone rear spoiler. In front, updated styling incorporates a new radiator grille, new lower air-intake grille and new-shape fog lamps. The door mirrors are new, with LED repeaters and re-styled ‘double five-spoke’ 16-inch alloy wheels on the Cerato Hatch 1.6 EX and 17-inch alloy wheels on the Cerato Hatch 2.0 SX.
Inside, the Cerato Hatch features multi-adjustable front seats, as well as a tilt and reach adjustable steering wheel, covered in leather along with the gear knob. Controls for the 6-speaker radio/CD/MP3-player are incorporated into the steering wheel and the Cerato comes with an aux-in, USB and iPod connector as standard. The 2.0 SX model features a ‘Super Vision’ instrument cluster with red mood lighting and an information display that – in addition to basics like fuel consumption, etc – provides a graphic showing the vehicle in relation to any obstructions when reverse gear is selected and the rear parking assist system is active. The centre stack is designed to appear to ‘float’ above the dashboard and presents heating, ventilation, audio and auxiliary controls in logical horizontal bands.
The interior on the 1.6 litre is finished in a black one-tone fabric, while the 2.0 litre is fitted with leather interior. Contrasting with the cabin trim is a metal finish – for the interior door handles, steering wheel, door trims, transmission console and centre stack. Added practicality comes from the rear seat backrest that folds flat in a 60:40 split to extend the cargo area.
The interior character of the Cerato Hatch feels noticeably more solid than that of the Sedan and Koup when introduced in 2009. The reason for this is the additional insulation added around the A, B and C-pillars, the luggage compartment, as well as thicker padding for the dashboard, rear parcel tray and boot carpeting. The added insulation results in a quieter ride and improved perceived build quality.
Ride and handling is markedly improved over that of the Sedan and Koup models. Kia engineers have tuned the MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear axle to deliver a balance between comfort and handling. The softly sprung rear end, so disliked on the Sedan and Koup, has been remedied with a far better setup in the Hatch, making it more fun and safer to drive.
On the safety front, the Cerato Hatch comes standard with ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and EBD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution), as well as dual front, side and full-length curtain airbags. Active headrests are also standard on all models.
Kia’s new Cerato Hatch is available with a choice of two 16-valve DOHC, 4-cylinder, petrol engines. The bigger 2.0-litre unit generates 115 kW and 194 N.m of torque at 4 300 r/min. Kia claims a 0 – 100 km/h sprint in 9.1 seconds and a 190 km/h top speed, with average fuel consumption of 7.6 L/100km and 180 g/km of CO2. The 1.6-litre engine churns out 91 kW and 156 N.m of torque a 4 200 r/min. The 0 – 100 km/h sprint takes 10.3 seconds, average fuel economy is a claimed 6.6 L/100km and CO2 emissions are 158 g/km. As standard, both engines are mated to a six-speed manual transmission, which is a welcome update over the lengthy ratios of the 5-speed box it replaces. As an alternative, both engines are available with a six-speed automatic transmission and the Cerato Hatch 2.0 SX is available with ‘paddle shifters’.
Great styling, improved driving dynamics and palatable pricing mean another goal scored for Kia. Even more good news is that the updates introduced on the Hatch have also been applied to 2011 Cerato Sedan and Koup models. Now all Kia has to do is make sure they have enough stock to meet the demand that has seen some customers waiting up to 6 months for their new Sportages.
|Prices (incl. VAT)|
|Kia Cerato Hatch 1.6 M/T||R185 995|
|Kia Cerato Hatch 1.6 A/T||R195 995|
|Kia Cerato Hatch 2.0 M/T||R205 995|
|Kia Cerato Hatch 2.0 A/T||R215 995|
Prices include a 5-year/100 000km warranty and 4-year/90 000km service plan.