It’s a measure of how far Kia has come that it can emulate a move from the German luxury playbook and be taken utterly seriously.
The GT Line package has been a thing in Kia’s lineup for a couple of years now, it’s essentially the Korean brand’s take on an AMG Line package – fiercer looks paired with a burgeoning equipment list.
The current Cerato SX model (above) launched last year and impressed us in pretty much every aspect, and the GT Line package now adds a little extra sparkle to catch buyers’ attention – a good move since the East Asian sedan segment has hotted up with the new Mazda 3’s arrival.
A Kia Cerato GT Line in the showroom
While the Cerato’s sister sports utility vehicles (SUVs) GT Line models add a little more to the mechanicals (Sportage has sport suspension, Sorento gets all-wheel drive), the Cerato GT Line has only non-mechanical improvements to differentiate it from the lesser Cerato EX and most basic Cerato L models.
In fact, moving forward the GT Line spec replaces the old SX spec at the top of the heap, being S$1,000 more expensive than the SX, but still competing directly with the most expensive Hyundai Avante, the Elite.
A rear view of the SX, the model the GT Line replaces
Of course if you’re aiming for the most basic L spec model, which has none of the niceties named above and is a whole S$13k cheaper than the GT Line, you probably won’t be moved on price, but continue reading and you might change that perspective.
A year on, the Cerato’s appearance also proves how mature the brand’s design has become – it’s a seriously good-looking car from all angles, which helps it appear more expensive than it truly is.
The GT Line package bolsters that with sporty touches including larger, 17-inch alloys with a special design, black side mirrors, side skirts, a rear diffuser and chrome tailpipe, a subtle bootlid spoiler above that, and unique red grille on the front.
It’s a far cry from just slapping on a bodykit and a ‘Sport’ badge, which certainly used to be the case, there’s a restraint that enhances the car’s looks further and avoids the pitfall of being too tryhard.
There’s no changes to the suspension, but the one-inch bump in wheel size makes the GT Line’s ride a little more sporty, though it’s not a boneshaker like the BMW 330i M Sport.
More reassuring is the fact that the car’s fine handling and easy-to-drive nature isn’t thrown off, there’s decent feel from the steering wheel and enough dynamic ability that the Cerato doesn’t feel like an appliance to drive.
Ultimately, the Cerato still isn’t quite as refined as the new Mazda 3, nor the revamped Honda Civic. It is, even in GT Line spec, more affordable than the least expensive version of either of those impressive cars.
Where the Cerato GT Line shines is in showing just how good a Korean car can be to live with. Kia’s made a business of superb-looking, quality-feeling interiors, and – just like the exterior – the predominantly black cabin’s experience is raised by the GT Line touches.
Keep in mind, the EX spec already packs the 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), leather steering wheel with remote controls, 16-inch wheels, auto-opening Smart Trunk System and keyless.
The GT Line lumps on a sport steering wheel (D-shaped, with perforated leather, paddle shifters and GT Line badge), ventilated seats with perforated leather and ventilation/warming, electric-powered driver’s seat, wireless smartphone charger, and black headliner and sunroof.
If you’re looking at the mid-tier EX model, all of the by itself would be well worth the S$8k difference, but factor in the six airbags – over the EX’s mere two – and reverse camera, and it’s a no-brainer.
The Cerato GT Line is, like all Kias of the past two decades, tremendous value for money, but the fact that you can look at the car itself – not just its equipment list – and be quite pleased is something else.
Kia Cerato GT Line
|Engine||1,591cc, inline 4|
|Power||128hp at 6300rpm|
|Torque||155Nm at 4,850rpm|
|Top Speed||12.0 seconds|
|VES Band / CO2||B/152g/km CO2|
|Agent||Cycle & Carriage|
|Price||S$90,599 with COE|