Viewed : 17,149 times
Recommended Articles

10 Feb 2023

Facelift (What's New)
New 1.6-litre engine paired to a continuously variable transmission
Adjusted trim lines

The Kia Cerato now sports an economical and quiet new drivetrain, improving its already strong appeal as an everyday family sedan.

The recent months have seen quite a few eclectic models from Kia arriving on our shores. There's the 321bhp EV6 GT-Line for example, as well as the new $284,999 all-electric Niro, and the fleet-oriented Niro Plus.

But joining this fleet of new arrivals is something targeted more at the budget-conscious everyday man. It's called the Cerato Smartstream, and brings a new drivetrain to the already facelifted car we first drove in August 2021.

So, what's new?

The new 1.6-litre unit is quiet and smooth
Nothing that your eyes will be able to immediately spot, really. Trim wise, this Kia Cerato Smartstream is now available in either 'EX' or 'SX' specification (the latter of which we test here).

This means the 'GT Line' specification from before is no longer available, and customers can no longer get features such as Adaptive Cruise Control, or an electronic parking brake in this family sedan.

Having said that, important safety features such as Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, as well as Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning from the previous car are all still available if you opt for the 'SX' trim of this Cerato Smartstream.

Anything else?

You won't be able to have this Cerato Smartstream here with Adaptive Cruise Control, but the Lane Keeping Assist of the SX trim works well
There's also a new drivetrain under the bonnet. Engine capacity still stands at 1.6-litres, although this unit now produces 121bhp and 154Nm of peak torque, as opposed to the 126bhp and 155Nm of before.

More significant, however, is the fact that this engine is now paired to a continuously variable transmission, as opposed to the six-speed automatic of before. This new drivetrain also pushes the Kia Cerato over into the A2 VES banding, as opposed to the neutral banding the previous car fell into.

How do the changes fare?

Very well, actually. Driven carefully, the new engine is remarkably smooth and quiet, working well with the already high cabin insulation of the Cerato to ensure that no harsh notes ever make their way into the passenger cell. And there's decent fuel economy to be had here as well, with consumption reaching 14.4km/L over the two days which we had the car.

The seats at the front could do with some softer cushioning 
Push the car harder, however, and the meagre torque output of that 1.6-litre unit does become apparent. That continuously variable transmission is unashamed to let the engine push the rpms well into the mid-ranges in order to facilitate more urgent changes of speed.

Eager drivers, however, can take heart in the fact that there's a ride that is firmer than typical for the segment, alongside some healthy grip from the tyres, and a fairly weighty steering wheel.

Having said that, the front passenger seat not only comes without any seat height controls but is also set to a rather tall seating position right out of the box, so expect some complaints from your partner. The seat backs for both front seats also could use with a bit of softer padding.

And the rest of the car?

LED rear combination lamps are only available on the SX trim Kia Cerato
It's pretty much as before, really. What this means is that there's an intuitive infotainment system that's free of lag and a pleasure to use. The lane departure system in this Kia Cerato is a touch overeager, but if you find its incessant beeping an annoyance, turning it off is a simple affair, completed with just a few clicks of buttons on the steering wheel.

Aft of the cabin, the boot not only comes with a sizable opening, but also offers up a total of 502-litres of space, which trumps the capacity offered by rivals including the Honda Civic, Hyundai Avante, as well as the Toyota Corolla Altis.

A car for everyone

Speaking of which, this Cerato in 'SX' also comes in at just $138,999, which is lower than the $140,999 that the Hyundai Avante is asking for, or the $145,888 that the Toyota Corolla Altis in 'Standard' trim will set you back, let alone the $88,999 (before COE) price of the Honda Civic (all prices as of 9 February 2023).

If you're after a true-blue everyman's car, this Kia Cerato is an undeniably irresistible pick.

Shopping for a family sedan? There's also these options to consider:

The Mazda3 Sedan comes with plenty of equipment and offers a refined drive

Alternatively, there's also the economical and sensible Skoda Scala to consider
Car Information


: $147,999

Engine Type


Smartstream 1.6

Engine Cap





90kW (121 bhp) / 6300 rpm



154 Nm / 4500 rpm




Acceleration (0-100 km/h)



Top Speed



Fuel consumption



You may also like

1-10 of 20