Popular around the beginning of the naughties, ‘Whose line is it anyway?’ was a witty live ‘improvisational’ comedy show where a panel of comedians were fed, (often ludicrous) situational suggestions to which they would perform a song a scene or simply ‘play’ to. It was spontaneous, dynamic and above all, never failed to put a big smile on your face. Kia Motors NZ has just fed me a line that may not be as rapid as the humour from the show’s comedians but it sure did put a smile on my face, and that ‘line’ was the Cerato GT-Line.
Launched at a similar time to the improvisational comedy, the first-generation Kia Cerato was 4 and 5-door, sedan and hatch that offered genuine value for money in terms of trim, practicality and driving experience alike. Its arrival was evidently well received, as nigh-on fifteen years later the nameplate’s fourth generation (3rd Generation Forte) was unveiled at the 2018 North American International Auto Show and we all know how fickle the automotive industry is.
Along with the newly designed, (Stinger-inspired) fourth-generation Cerato, Kia added in a performance option complete with a GT badge and a 1.6L turbocharged engine capable of 150kW and 265Nm PLUS the GT-Line with much of the GT’s looks and handling, just a little less under the bonnet - and that’s what I now had in my possession.
Grille, lower valance, front air ducts and even some of the bonnet lines, it’s clear to see that the Cerato and Stinger are related but as I said before, it also shares much of its good looks with the GT too. Bodykits, chrome, sports alloys (17” rather than 18”), rear spoilers, the similarities go on and on, so much so that it extends to the inside too. Composite leather furniture, heated/ventilated 8-way adjustable front sports-seats, D-Shaped wheel (just no paddles), racy contrast stitching, wireless phone charger, Apple Carplay, 8" colour LCD touchscreen, radio, MP3 & 6 speakers and a 4.2" Colour TFT supervision Instrument cluster - phew!
The Cerato GT-Line looks good on the outside and feels even better when you get it moving. My week behind the wheel had us exploring the country roads that surround the area north of Auckland, crossing between the East and West coasts for both family (and my) entertainment. Beach, yes the sun did finally come out and Kumeu market, a great way to annoy children that would prefer to be doing ANYTHING else.
As I have found out over time, more important than the destination is the journey and the GT-Line made it just that. Sure the 2.0L D-CVVT engine is not as powerful as the GT, 112kW @ 6,200rpm and 192Nm @ 4,000rpm but that didn’t stop a smile from forming on my face. The front-wheel-drive hatch feels nice in the corners, confident even, and the 6-speed auto is quick to change. It’s not a racing car, but it does allow you to think it is, especially as it cleverly (or SMARTly) switches between driving modes to Sport when required.
The GT-Line is lighter than the GT which did actually surprise me, particularly since it comes loaded with creature comforts and driver/safety aids. Everything from Forward Collision Warning and Lane Keep Assist to Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, even the Cruise Control is smart.
There is a sense of practicality about the GT-Line too. Although it’s a 4.51m long hatch, it comes with 428 litres of luggage space and actually plenty of room in the cabin for four and a half in comfort and five (if they know each other).
So who’s line is the Cerato GT-Line? It’s for those that like the look and feel of a sporty hatch yet don’t necessarily have the desire to sprint between traffic lights. It’s a nifty ride that is bound to have you smiling.