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The Mercury Cars Guide : May 16th 2009
4— CARSguide Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, May 16, 2009 Kia deserves a better reputation q&a Kia is the surprise runner in the small car field so far this year, but hashad toovercomesome misconceptions to convince buyers M UD sticks and car buyers have long memories. Sad, but true. That was brought home to me this week when a Carsguide reader rang, seeking advice on which new car to buy. A simple question which is often asked. You start off trying to get an idea of their needs and aspirations. How much can they afford, what do they want the car for, what size suits, what features are they looking for? In this case, the readerwaslooking for an affordable small sedan for Mum, Dad and two small kids, but it had to have top-notch safety equip- ment and plenty of features for their hard-earned dollar. Half a dozen models came to mind for them to try, but as soon as I mentioned a couple of Korean brands the shutters went up. ‘‘Cheap, nasty, unsafe rubbish,’’ they cried. It’s all untrue, of course. OK, I’ll concede when Korean brands first launched here decades ago, they had a steep learning curve to try to match the quality and finesse of the Japanese, which itself went through the same exercise many years before. And newcomers from China, coming soon, will no doubt face the same marketing chal- lenge. The truth is, nowadays, the Kor- eans can play with the Japanese on a level playing field.Thatmaysurprise many but Kia has been quietly kicking some important goals lately. Its new Cerato sedan is a shining example. It is probably the most improved player in the small family car mar- ket, boasting revamped styling, good email@example.com with KEITH DIDHAM value for money and the backing of one of the best warranties in the business. The downside: you also still get what you pay for, so in the Cerato you will find some hard plastics, doors that don’t feel solid and a ride which gets a little untidy on gravel roads. Mind you, the same can be said of many of its rivals so the tip here is: admire the value, enjoy the features but understand this is not a prestige car despite Kia’s advertising which implies it could be. Kia launched the latest and larger Cerato at the start of the year, with Kia being quite clever. For a start the car deliberately looks European not Korean (the bloke who designed it was a German who also gave us the VW Beetle); the pricing which kicks off at $18,990, is sharp and the car comes loaded with most of the equipment car buyers desire. The entry model gives you six airbags and anti-lock brakes as stan- dard, but not the all-important elec- tronic stability control or traction control, so you can see how Kia kept the price well under the $20,000 barrier. You do get a five-speed manual (a four-speed auto is an extra $2000), air conditioning, 15-inch steel wheels, power mirrors and windows, remote locking, MP3 compatibility, USB input and sunglass holder. You can tick the box for the optional safety pack for $1000 which adds ESP, traction control, cruise Kia Cerato Howmuch:from $18,990 Engine: 2-litre 4-cylinder Power:115kW@6200rpm,194Nm torque@4300rpm Howquick:0-100km/h10.5 seconds TOP LITTLE NUMBER: The Kia Cerato SLi is a smart choice. control and remote audio controls on the steering wheel and is well worth the money. The top-flight SLi version which is the pick of the two, starts at $22,990 for the manual and comes with the full raft of safety features, alloy wheels, cruise, rear park assist, climate-controlled air conditioning, trip computer and fog lamps. As for the warranty: try five years with unlimited kilometres for peace of mind in case you still had some concern about the badge. The Cerato’s cabin is refreshingly different from what Kia has offered before. While the plastics are still hard-looking and hard-feeling, the cloth upholstery and black and pol- ished alloy look to the dashboard is modern and smart. The cabin also gets ticks for being spacious, reasonably comfortable for four (five is a squeeze) and having a roomy boot. The rear seat folds flattish (by pulling a couple of levers in the boot itself). Annoyingly, the car locks itself once underway. Powercomesfromatwo-litre, four- cylinder with the test car fitted with the standard five-speed manual, han- dicapped by a super lightweight clutch which made smooth changes sometimes difficult. Most buyers would opt for the optional sequential Howthirsty: 7.9l/100km claimed, 11.4l/100km tested Greenhouse:187g/kmCO2 Transmission: Five-speedmanual or four-speed sequential automatic Towing:1200kgwith trailer brakes Warranty: Five years/unlimited four-speed auto which has plenty of gap between the ratios and was designed with fuel economy not performance in mind. That can’t be said for the manual we drove. The fuel consumption, according to the car’s trip computer, returned an average of 11.4l/100km. I didn’t believe it and reset it, only to get a similar reading, although it did drop to 9.2l/100km on the highway which is still not impressive. Kia quotes an official figure of 7.9l/100km so something was amiss. The Cerato’s performance is good but this is no sprint car and it gives its best at lower revs where the torque canworkits magic. Higherup the rev range nothing much happens apart from added engine noise. The ride is comfortable, the car easy to manoeuvre and it is surpris- ingly quiet. Did I mention it was from Korea? 2006 ‘Series 2’ 380 and 380SX Sedans Better built, better backed 2006 Series 2 Mitsubishi 380 sedan • 4 airbags (front and side) • Climate control air conditioning • Remote keyless entry and alarm • Antilock brakes • Immobiliser • Cruise control • Independent rear suspension • Electronic brake distribution • Electric driver’s seat Includes balance of 5 year factory warranty Includes all the features of the 380, PLUS . . . FREE Chocolates! Experience the grace and poise of this terrific marque. Just test drive any Mitsubishi 380 this weekend and we’ll give you a FREE BOX OF CADBURY CHOCOLATES, obligation free! • Photo depicts 380SX model Cnr Harrington and Bathurst Streets, Hobart. Ph 6237 1199 autorent.com.au Vehicle for illustration purposes only. Prices don’t include the 3% Government Stamp Duty and $23 transfer fee. • 17” alloys and low profile tyres • Traction control • Fog lights Also includes balance of 5 year factory warranty OPEN ALL WEEKEND • Electric mirrors and windows • CD and MP3 compatible • Multi-function steering wheel • Power steering • Map reading lamps • Illuminated vanity mirror • Auto dimming rear view mirror • Multi function display screen Also available – 380SX $14,490* $16,490* • Sports seats and interior • CD – 6 disc in-dash/cabin • Chrome exhaust tip • Leather steering wheel and gear knob 2006185-20 HER TZ
May 2nd 2009
May 23rd 2009