In recent times Kia has made a significant move beyond its reputation for merely affordability and function with the release of a range of impressive models across many sizes - and the Cerato SLi hatchback is a particularly large stride by the Korean company.
It has the ease-of-use and attractive price point of Kias past, but it also lacks nothing in terms of modern technology and is large enough to appeal to the increasing number of buyers looking for a small car to double as the family wagon.
The six-speed automatic makes it a breeze to drive, the brakes are responsive without being so sensitive as to involuntarily cause whiplash on the first few drives and the suspension offers a smooth ride on most surfaces.
But don't mistake ease-of-use for lack of performance.
While the Cerato's 115kW 2.0-litre engine won't likely satiate the speed racers out there, it out-powers similarly priced hatch competitors such as the Mazda3.
And appearance wise, it's got sporty character in spades. All models have a chrome radiator grille as standard, while the SLi's interior boasts a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, metal-look trim and alloy sports pedals, plus the added fun of a paddle shifter in the automatic.
In fact, the SLi has a bunch of cool gadgetry which makes it worth the extra bucks, including a rear parking sensor, automatic headlights and Bluetooth connectivity.
All models have connectivity for MP3s but it's worth noting that using a conventional Apple iPod cable sees tracks randomly assorted into various four-letter folders, which make them impossible to navigate and essentially means the device will be on random.
However, a Kia/Hyundai cable will fix the issue and should be able to be included in the sale price, otherwise they're easily available online for under $20.
A key to the Cerato hatch's success is its versatility. Inside it has a generous amount of space, while the boot is large enough to handle most of what would be asked of a family car.
The room in the back may be found out by a particularly severe adolescent growth spurt but overall it could fit the bill as a family's main car, particularly with reassuring safety features such as electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes standard on all models.
The small-car market in Australia may be crowded, but there will be a whole lot of people who will find a whole lot to like about the Cerato SLi hatch.
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