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Kia Cerato Hatchback GT

Kia Cerato Hatchback GT (2018-2022)

Also referred to as: Kia Cerato Hatchback GT 2021 and Kia Cerato Hatchback GT 2023.
3.8 from 4 reviews · View Statistics
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Expert Review

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3.9 out of 5 stars

Introduction

It’s Korea’s answer to the VW Golf - it’s the Kia Cerato.

Recently, Kia’s updated the popular hatchback with a fresh new look and with some new features.

Now, more than ever, the Cerato is a formidable opponent of the non-performance VW Golf range, especially with the top-of-the-range Cerato GT.

It’s not quite a hot hatch, but it’s certainly a very warm one.

Let me explain why the Kia Cerato is deserving not only of your attention, but also deserving of being picked over its competitors.


Build Quality

4 out of 5.
Kia Cerato GT exhausts

For an affordable hatchback, I was taken back by how well the Cerato GT was built.

Sure, there are plenty of hard plastics found on the interior, but that’s really it when it comes to what you would expect in a more affordable hatchback.

The exterior exhausts, panel gaps, welds and wiring looms are all examples of accuracy and precision - a testament to Kia’s improved build quality.

The interior construction in modern-day Kias like the Cerato GT are extremely solid, with no movement of the centre console, squeaks or rattles found within this cabin.

Buttons are nicely damped, offering a soft press rather than a plastic-like click. Additionally, stitching is accurate, leather is of a high grade and the screens are crisp and bright.

Don’t let Kia’s history or price fool you, this is a very well-built product and the adage of a German-built hatch being better constructed is becoming less and less relevant.

Value for Money

5 out of 5.
Kia Cerato GT exterior

The Kia Cerato GT Hatch starts from $36,990 drive away, however if you want this exact launch spec, you’ll need to cough up an extra $520 for Runway Red paint.

For a similarly equipped and priced Mk8 VW Golf, you will be paying a lot closer to $40,000 to drive away.

$37,510 gets you all the possible upgrades you could imagine with the Cerato, with the main difference being you’re buying a 7-speed automatic paired with a 1.6L turbo four cylinder. Additionally, you have a sunroof, heated/cooled seats, GT-specific steering wheel and seat, upgraded alloy wheels, sports exhaust pipes, multi-link suspension and Michelin Pilot Sport tires.

In short, the Cerato GT is one of the best value sports-orientated hatchbacks that you could rely on using day to day, with all the possible creature comforts you’d need in a daily driver.

Maintenance

5 out of 5.
Kia Cerato GT Engine Bay

For those looking to keep the Cerato GT for a long time, Kia has you covered. Instead of your run of the mill 5-year warranty, you’re getting an extra 2-years, bringing the warranty period up to a 7-years/Unlimited Kilometre warranty.

You also have a capped price servicing program, which covers you for 7 years or up to 70,000km of driving. The total servicing cost for the Cerato GT over this period comes to a total of $3,234.

Here’s a table with a breakdown for each service and the corresponding cost:

IntervalCost
1 Year or 10,000 km$275
2 Years or 20,000 km$454
3 Years or 30,000 km$354
4 Years or 40,000 km$498
5 Years or 50,000 km$309
6 Years or 60,000 km$695
7 Years or 70,000 km$649
Total$3,234

Hopefully additional coverage with this warranty helps retain the value of the Cerato GT into the future.

Noise Level

4 out of 5.
Kia Cerato GT infotainment display

I was actually not at all disappointed with the Cerato GT’s sound profile both outside and inside the cabin.

Starting with engine and exhaust noise, I was pleasantly surprised with the raspy and hot hatch-like sound this hatch produced. The 1.6L turbo four cylinder sounds angry under heavy acceleration, with purpose rather than sounding too strained.

In every hard shift of the dual clutch transmission, you get a nice little burble between shifts, reminiscent of VW’s DSG ‘fart’ from their more powerful and more expensive GTi.

Kia Cerato GT JBL speaker grill

The upgraded JBL audio system brings a much needed depth, clarity and power over the standard system. There’s even a speaker in the boot, which helps evenly spread the audio throughout the cabin.

When you’re not racing around or blasting your favourite podcast, the engine does like to rev a little as it waits for the dual clutch transmission to engage. Outside that instance, it’s relatively quiet here, but road noise is still a little noticeable with the larger alloy wheels fitted to the GT.

Braking

4 out of 5.
Kia Cerato GT low exterior angle rear

The larger than standard Cerato brakes fitted to the Cerato GT do a great job for 90% of your driving needs, with these brakes being the difference between a warm hatch and a hot hatch.

You get upgraded front brakes, to help slow down the faster GT, with a strong initial bite and excellent response. Just in case you miss an obstacle in front of you, the Cerato GT will activate its AEB system in case of an emergency.

The reason why the brakes aren’t everything I could hope for is that when pushing the Cerato GT, I could feel a hint of brake fade. Sadly, this means if you want the GT to do absolutely everything in the sports car department, the brakes might fade a little faster than you’d like out on your favourite back road or on the track.

Acceleration/Power

3 out of 5.
Kia Cerato GT driver display

Power is sourced from a 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, producing 150kW and 265Nm. That translates to around 109kW per tonne, which is square in warm hatch territory, rather than hot hatch territory (usually in excess of 120kW per tonne).

The dual clutch transmission takes a second to engage, after that there’s another delay from the turbocharger. Only after a few moments, while you wait for revs to build above 3,000rpm, the power surge starts, and you feel all 150kW power the Cerato GT as you’d hope it would.

It’s not lightning quick, but it’s respectable and it doesn’t feel like you’re lacking power in this trim. It’s usable power, that you can have fun exploring, without having to stress about over-exceeding the local speed limit.

Gear Shifting

4 out of 5.
Kia Cerato GT steering wheel and gear selectors

The 7-speed dual clutch transmission is the major difference, aside from the engine, compared to the rest of the Cerato range.

It needs a slight adjustment to make it a perfect match for daily use. The slight lag before engagement when in reverse and driving off the line can get a little frustrating.

Once you’re on the move, the gearbox is a fun pairing to this engine. There are confident and quick shifts compared to the standard 6-speed automatic.

I prefer the 6-speed auto from a comfort point of view, but the dual clutch certainly provides a lot more engagement over that transmission. This is especially the case if you’re shifting via the paddle-shifters, which have earned a place in the Cerato GT.

In ‘Drive’, the dual clutch is a lot more relaxed, unlike when you shift it into ‘S’ mode; this holds revs for greater responsiveness from both the gearbox and the motor.

Suspension & Handling

4 out of 5.
Kia Cerato GT exterior parked on side of street

A major surprise with the Cerato GT was the upgraded multi-link suspension set-up. The Cerato GT felt solid, with amazing amounts of follow through in sharp corners.

With a capable set up like this, you can corner harder, with greater precision and road feel. Despite the larger wheels and stiffer suspension, the Cerato still is comfortable. I would put that down to not just the suspension, but also the GT sports seats which do a great job of holding you in place and providing additional support.

The Michelin Pilot Sport tires are grippy and are a welcomed overkill set of rubber for what the Cerato GT has to throw at them. It’s a great tire option and a major plus in this price bracket.

Fuel Efficiency

3 out of 5.
Kia Cerato GT carpet

Claimed combined fuel efficiency is 6.9L/100km, costing you around $70 a tank.

I saw that fuel economy figure cross 10L/100km around town, especially when I was trying to make the most of the Sport mode, dual clutch transmission and all 150kW.

It’s a respectable and predictable fuel consumption for a car like this. The Cerato GT isn’t for those whose main priority is fuel efficiency; I’d be shopping for something with either less power or an alternate drive train (i.e. hybrid) if you need to conserve that petrol.

Interior Design

3 out of 5.
Kia Cerato GT interior

Sadly, I wasn’t as impressed with the Cerato GT’s interior as I hoped I would have been. It’s not flashy, but perhaps more importantly, it is usable and easy to navigate.

I would have preferred a little more design flair in here, like something similar to the Hyundai i30 Sedan. Instead, there’s a far more practical approach to the Cerato’s interior.

I appreciate the easy to navigate hard buttons, the large 10-inch touch screen infotainment and the space that this interior provides. There’s nothing that’s been added in here for the sake of design - form follows function inside the Cerato GT.

Kia Cerato GT seats

To partially satiate design nerds like myself, the Cerato GT has a GT-specific wheel, seats and carpet which add more sporty flair to this interior - the saving grace generates a sense of cohesiveness with those sporty highlights on the exterior.

Boot Size & Comfort

4 out of 5.
Kia Cerato GT boot space

There’s a massive amount of boot space found in the Cerato, as it's not a compact hatch. Infact, it's only a few millimeters short of being able to qualify as a small SUV.

Kia Cerato GT boot space all seats folded down

502L of boot space is available with all seats folded up, with more available when you fold the second row in a 60/40 split.

It’s part of the practicality of a large hatch like this; you have a cavernous amount of space, and more if you need it when transporting bulky items. It makes for not just a convenient daily driver, but also a spacious road trip companion.

Kia Cerato GT second row seats

Your friends and family will love riding in the back of the Cerato hatch, as it doesn’t succumb to a sloping roofline for the second row. Instead, there’s plenty of space for up to four adults to travel for long journeys. If you need it, there is a middle seat, but having 3 backseat passengers is when the second row will start to feel a little less comfortable.

Features

4 out of 5.
Kia Cerato GT sunroof

As the Cerato GT tops the range in the Cerato line-up, you’re getting every option here - all you have to do is decide if you want to spend more for some different paint.

Here’s a full list of options you get with the Cerato GT Hatch:

  • 1.6L turbo petrol four cylinder engine
  • 150kW and 265Nm
  • 6-speed torque convertor automatic
  • 10.25-inch touchscreen
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Sat-nav
  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Blind spot collision avoidance assist
  • Rear cross traffic alert and avoidance assist
  • Reversing camera
  • Drive modes
  • Upgraded front brakes
  • Sports exhaust
  • Front heated/cooled seats
  • Keyless entry/exit and start/stop
  • Leather seats
  • Radar cruise control
  • Electronic hand brake
  • GT specific seats, steering wheel and carpet
  • Sunroof

Should you buy one?

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Start off by understanding that this isn’t a VW Golf GTi competitor, even if the power output is closing in on what that car offers.

Instead, it’s aiming at all the hatchbacks that are positioned just below their hot hatch trims. That means you’re getting comfort, technology and plenty of power for daily driving and a little bit of fun, but nothing that’s going to replicate the feeling of a purpose-built sporty hatchback.

It’s competitive in price, warranty, features and performance, which would have me recommend the Cerato GT for the top of your list when cross-shopping with other mid-range, ’warm’ hatches.

It’s refreshing to see a hatchback that’s at the top of its game, without having to fork out a medium-SUV equivalent amount of cash.

CameronPicture

About the author Cameron is our resident car expert. Aside being a source of knowledge about the automotive industry, he has also driven a wide variety of cars. From Porsche 911 GT2 RS's, through to a 1998 Toyota RAV4, Cameron has not only seen it all, but has most likely driven it.

Reviews

3.8
4 reviews
5
(2)
4
(0)
3
(1)
2
(1)
1
(0)
  • Build Quality
    3.8 (4)
  • Value for Money
    4.0 (4)
  • Cleaning & Maintenance
    4.0 (4)
  • Noise Level
    3.5 (4)
  • Braking
    4.3 (3)
  • Acceleration / Power
    4.0 (3)
  • Gear Shifting
    3.7 (3)
  • Suspension
    3.8 (4)
  • Fuel Efficiency
    3.8 (4)
  • Handling
    4.0 (4)
  • Interior Design
    4.3 (4)
  • Boot Size
    4.0 (4)
  • Comfort
    4.0 (4)
  • Features
    4.0 (4)
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Reviewer Photos & Videos

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Giacomo
Giacomo
  • 3 reviews
  • 2 likes

Looks good but you'll change your opinion when you drive it.

published

Purchased in for $37,000.

  • Build Quality
  • Value for Money
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olga Iannacone
olga IannaconeGreater Melbourne (Inner), VIC

what a gt

published

best car i have ever bought. kia got it right for this car. it handles great and really keeps you safe with all the bells and whistles going off all the time. hopefully they will keep making this car.

Purchased in for $35,500.

  • Build Quality
  • Value for Money
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R_macca
R_maccaSouth East Queensland, QLD
  • 3 reviews
  • 2 likes

Good Car but Buyer beware of the Turbo version when starting the vehicle

published

Purchased in .

  • Build Quality
  • Value for Money
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mustangdude
mustangdudeSouth East Queensland, QLD
  • 20 reviews
  • 16 likes

Probably will go down as the best car I've ever owned

published
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Purchased in for $31,500.

  • Build Quality
  • Value for Money
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Hatchbacks

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Questions & Answers

BGK
BGKasked
Cerato Hatchback GT (2018-2022)

Good day. On initial cold start My GT idles very rough and well over 1000rpm. It settles down after about 10 minutes of driving. Has anyone
Experienced this and what was the remedy. Thank you.

5 answers
Natalie H.
Natalie H.
BGK
BGK

Thank you. I assume you use E10 fuel as recommended. Would be interested to hear of the outcome when you call Kia re the engine light.

Natalie H.
Natalie H.
Laura A.
Laura A.asked
Cerato Hatchback GT (2018-2022)

My 2013 KIA Cerato Hatch on-board computer display screen has gone black and doesn't switch back on and my radio cuts in and out even when i mute or switch the radio off after few mins its on again and at the same volume and the same radio station i cant change any of my settings at all I also have no revers camera
i hope there is a way to fix this without replacing the computer unit because i don't think that has helped others since the problem still occurs

5 answers
Eddie
Eddie

Please stop asking me questions about the Cerato. I am a car aficionado, not an expert. If my correspondence isn't good enough to be one of your ambassadors it certainly falls short of answering your followers' questions, as well. Thank you.

Laura A.
Laura A.

I came to this site seeking answers to my problem i wasn't expecting to be treated with such disrespect from someone on a site that is meant to be helpful

Vin
Vin

Hi Laura. What was the resolution for the issue with your Sat Nav? I have the same issue with my Sat Nav unit.

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Kia Cerato Hatchback GT (2018-2022)

Details

Compare all 8 Kia Cerato
CategoryCars and Hatchbacks
Starting Price $31,990.00
TransmissionAutomatic
Wheels18" Alloy
ANCAP Safety Rating5 Stars
Fuel Consumption6.8 L/100km
Engine4 Cylinder 1.6L
Max Power150kW @ 6000rpm
Max Torque265Nm @ 1500-4500rpm
Release date
Compare all 8 Kia Cerato
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