Connectivity aside, I also like the Stinger-inspired steering wheel. Its horizontal spokes are higher than before, making it more comfortable to hold at the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock positions.
And the new round air-con vents on either side of the dashboard have a wider range of adjustments. I love how the cold air can now hit me directly, which isn’t possible in the older Cerato.
The well-equipped test car also has familiar amenities such as dual- zone climate control and ventilated front seats. However, I feel there are some design missteps.
The Cerato’s dashboard, for one, is no longer angled towards the driver. I also dislike how the infotainment display is no longer integrated with the dashboard. Kia says it improves visibility, but I think having the screen sitting on top of the dash just looks tacky.
Speaking of infotainment, the system is essentially similar to the one in the previous Cerato. That means there’s no built-in sat-nav, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, so you can navigate using your smartphone.
It’s not seamless, though. I’m not sure about Android users, but iPhone owners must plug the phone into the USB port to activate CarPlay.
Enhancing occupant safety is Kia’s Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), a suite of features that includes Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning and Blind-Sport Collision Warning. It remains to be seen, though, if any of these functions will be in Singapore-bound cars.
What Cerato buyers will definitely enjoy is the refinement, which is clearly a notch above the older model’s. Chalk that up to the amount of high-strength steel used, which has grown by 20 percent to 54 percent, and the total length of adhesive, which is nearly six times more than in the outgoing model.
High-strength steel is both stronger and lighter than regular steel. In human terms, it’s like the Cerato has been going to the gym and gaining lean, instead of bulky, muscles. Indeed, at 1195kg, the new Cerato is 100kg lighter than before.
With a stronger body and better sound insulation, NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) is less palpable than in the older model. Engine noise is less intrusive, too. Which is just as well, since you’ll have to work the motor hard if you want to make progress.
The engine in the Cerato 1.6 I tested is the same naturally aspirated 1.6-litre 4-cylinder MPI unit used by its predecessor, albeit slightly detuned (by 2hp and 2Nm, to be exact).