Singapore - “Progression” was probably the mantra that Kia’s designers had before they started cobbling the new Kia Cerato together.
Fresh off-the-line with a spanking brand new badge, the car essentially embodies what the brand aims to achieve in the coming years - a bold transformation.
We’re no stranger to facelifts in the car industry, especially so, now more than ever.
New-gen tech, smarter materials and fresh trends contribute to the rate and speed at which cars are being refreshed.
However, what Kia has done with the newly updated Cerato isn’t just limited to tweaking some exterior body panels and adding modern features such as larger infotainment screens or LED headlamps.
The symbolism of the new badge goes far deeper than just a light dusting of automotive makeup, and it all starts with this new Kia Cerato.
The entire front fascia of the new Cerato has been extensively reworked, so much so it barely resembles the car that preceded it.
New badge aside, the updated “digital tiger face” grille now extends out to meld with the LED headlamps, which now have six individual DRL units within each headlamp.
An entirely new lower bumper gives the new car a much more striking appearance than before.
It's only when you look past the new face that you see the similarities between this new car and its predecessor.
The top-spec GT Line model we tested came with sportier fittings that give the Cerato a subtle, mildly aggressive look.
Red hues in the front, black skirts, 17-inch rims and a black bootlid spoiler.
However, the roofline, side profile and mildly updated rear taillight cluster are distinguishably Cerato.
Down to the taillight strip spanning across the boot lid, which sadly isn’t illuminated in this facelift. A crying shame, really.
Like the refreshed exterior, the cabin receives a new 10.25-inch infotainment screen, various lashings of leather and nicely finished metal trim pieces.
Our GT-Line test car even came with an electric memory driver’s seat, a sunroof and ventilated front seats, which do well to cool your bum in Singapore’s heat.
Under the hood sits a 1.6-litre four-pot from Hyundai Motor Group’s Gamma range.
With 126 horsepower, it nudges at limits of the Category A COE band, and provides an adequate amount of grunt.
However one can’t help but feel the lack of immediacy from the 6spd auto box, despite the perky engine.
A flaw that is somewhat mitigated if you pull the anodised paddle shifters to take manual control.
At its core, the Cerato performs as expected. Compliant, comfortable, and above all else, uncompromising.
The plentiful array of basic safety tech and creature comforts you get in the GT Line only serves to elevate the car further.
As a whole, it’s a surprisingly posh product that ought to give the Japanese and lower tier European makes some cause for concern.
What the brand has here is a staple. An everyday all-rounder that doesn’t do a specific thing exceedingly well, rather a wide variety of things decently well.
The Cerato was never intended to compete with the likes of Kia’s larger offerings like the Stinger, the Sorento or the Carnival, the brand’s own niche-defining Grand Utility Vehicle (GUV).
The Kia Cerato is a crowd-pleaser made for the 'everyman', albeit with a wealth of features that are anything but average.
Photos Jay Tee
Kia Cerato 1.6 GT Line
Engine 1,591cc, inline 4
Transmission 6spd auto
Top Speed 195km/h
Fuel Consumption 6.6l/100km