Kia turns Cerato into chic number

CAPE TOWN is regularly voted among the top 10 tourist destinations in the world.

CAPE TOWN is regularly voted among the top 10 tourist destinations in the world.

With its pure white beaches around Camps Bay, the beauty of the winelands, the history of Robben Island lying a short distance offshore and Table Mountain guarding all below, it's easy to understand why.

When the weather turns bad, though, it's really bad! But even a combination of gale force winds and driving rain were not enough to put a damper on the launch last week of the new-look Kia Cerato.

The previously conservative, frumpy model has been banished and replaced with a chic, modern style.

It will be available in two derivatives - 1,6litre (R179995) and a 2,0litre (R199995) - both in five-speed manual or four-speed automatic models.

I only spent a short time behind the wheel of the smaller 1,6 litre but it was a pleasant introduction to the Kia range.

From the rear you immediately notice its wing-type features, which not only helps with the aerodynamics of the vehicle but also gives it a sporty look.

Its interior cloth seats come standard, while for the more upmarket 2,0litre model leather is preferred.

Both models come with a wide range of standard features, including electric windows and side mirrors, air conditioning, a nifty CD/radio/MP3/i Pod combo with six speakers.

An ABS braking system, airbags and EBD (electronic brade distribution) are safety features on both models.

The 2,0-litre model also provides rear parking assist (to avoid those nasty bumper bashes), cruise control and an engine turning out a sprightly 114kW (compared with 91kW for the 1,6litre).

The drive itself was comfortable and though the twisty bits through Sir Lowry's Pass were pretty hazardous, the Cerato handled them with aplomb.

Imported from Kia's plant in Hwasung, Korea, the Cerato, with its attractive pricing and impressive list of features, is sure to find a home with many South African motorists.

lFor the first time in its 65-year history Kia will shortly be introducing a coupé - the Cerato Koup.

It will be available locally from next month - so that is definitely something to look forward to!