Kia Cerato Koup Turbo 2014 review

Kia Cerato Koup Turbo 2014 review

kia-cerato-koup-turbo-frontAs Kia’s first truly sporty car (the Sportage most definitely is not sporty), the Cerato Koup Turbo straddles the line between performance coupe and hot hatch(of which it has just released one in New Zealand in the form of the Pro_cee’d GT with the same engine, which hopefully we’ll be driving soon). 

The style is unique in the Kia range, except for the nose which perfectly aligns with the corporate look. Kia’s design kia-cerato-koup-turbo-sidephilosophy has been given sleek lines that draw your eye right to the back there’s a diffuser and twin exhausts to underscore the sporty nature.

Under the bonnet there’s 150kW of grunt from the turbo 4-cylinder petrol engine, and I used it to transport myself away from Auckland ahead of the Easter storm, and down to Napier. You’re not left wanting for more overtaking kia-cerato-koup-turbo-rear-quarterability as you can dispatch other vehicles quickly by stamping on the accelerator and holding on. Doing this at low speeds can invoke some torque steer if the surface is bumpy. Despite being a 4-pot engine, it’s not an unpleasant, thin sound when it’s rising through the rev range.

The change-down revs for the gears seem to be set up towards getting better fuel economy rather than providing kia-cerato-koup-turbo-front-seatsan out-and-out exhilarating sporty experience, so you will often find it in too high a gear exiting a corner if you’re cracking on. As there’s no sport mode in the gearbox, it’s fortunate that there are both paddle shifters and a manual mode on the gearstick so you can quickly slip it down a cog.

The Cerato Koup Turbo felt very balanced in the corners, and willing to pull out of them with gusto. Heavy braking on a bumpy surface would sometimes unsettle the electronics – it comes with ABS, electronic stability control, traction control, brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution. Other safety features include six airbags, a 5-star ANCAP crash test rating, and a rear-view camera with kia-cerato-koup-turbo-reversing-camerafront and rear parking sensors

Given all that power, and the police’s holiday tolerance of 4kph over the posted limit, was I in danger of accruing points on my licence? Only maybe, because unfortunately the only thing that mars this otherwise fun little pocket rocket is the cabin noise at speed. It saps all the bass out of the stereo (which doesn’t have much bass to start with) and means you need it loud, especially when you’re on the rougher rural tarmac. Consequently, after nearly five hours in the chair, when I stopped, my ears felt like I’d been to a kia-cerato-koup-turbo-gear-sticklive gig and had been standing in the first row. Right in front of the horn section.

Perhaps this could be alleviated with different tyres rather than the 225/40R18 Nexen-brand that come with it. Around town the cabin noise is fine, and the acceleration and manoeuvrability is handy. Flex Steer offers three steering modes: sport, normal and comfort. Sport was my mode of choice for all driving with comfort being too light.

On both my trip down and trip back I averaged 8.1l/100km, completing the 415km journey in around 4 hours 50 minutes. Kia reckons you can get 7.7l/100km on the combined cycle, but you’d really need to drive it exactly like a person who would buy this car wouldn’t drive at all.

Luggage space is not bad for a coupe, but bear in mind that (as with any coupe), the boot aperture is small so it’s hard to get bulkier items in the boot, even though there might actually be room for them.

The Cerato has rear seats that aren’t merely token; they’re quite usable as long as your passengers aren’t extremely tall or wide. The front seats are a little hard, but both come with kia-cerato-koup-turbo-dialsboth heating and cooling.

The entertainment system is presented on a seven-inch touchscreen LCD on the dashboard. You can access the sat nav as well as the stereo and reversing camera, plus various setup functions. There’s also a 4.2-inch ‘supervision cluster’ screen between the rev counter and speedo which has trip information, amongst other things.

The stereo supports Bluetooth streaming, and also has a good direct USB connection with Apple devices, allowing you access to all your folders and playlists.

The steering wheel contains buttons for answering the phone, adjusting the stereo, changing the steering mode, changing the screen display, and setting the cruise control. The cruise control was very accurate and consistent, unlike some cars that tend to wander around the selected speed.

While you might want to also check out the Hyundai Veloster and Toyota 86 for a similar driving experience, overall this is a car that’s full to the gunwales with features. Off the top of my head I can’t think of another car that’s sub-$40,000 which has a chilled glovebox, heated and cooled driver and passenger seats, sat nav, dual climate control, plenty of power and pleasing styling. At this price you’re obviously making some compromises in overall refinement and quality but I would argue that in terms of fun and practicality for the money, Kia’s got the equation right.

Price: $39,990

Pros

 

  • Punchy turbo
  • Balanced through the corners
  • Rear seats are functional
  • Fun and fairly practical for a low price

Cons

  • Lots of cabin noise
  • Bumps under braking unsettle the car
  • Needs 95 RON fuel to get the best out of it

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