Should I Buy a Kia Cerato or Hyundai i30?

2014 Hyundai i30 SR -Vs- Kia Cerato SLi, see below

QUESTION

I am undecided on whether to buy a Hyundai i30 Premium or Kia Cerato SLi.

I have a 2002 Toyota echo that I am trading in - need help on which car I should get. Please help. Thanks, Vic.

ANSWER

Hyundai and Kia are different brands owned by the same parent company. In Australia they compete fiercely. But, to defray development costs, there is one R&D centre (in Namyang, South Korea). They do different styling and design executions, but powertrains, major body panels, architecture (like floorpans) and components (like computer systems, power steering systems, suspension systems, etc.) are common to both brands. This keeps the development costs down.

Hyundai has an i30 available as a hatch and a wagon (and the i30 sedan is essentially the Elantra). Kia has the Cerato available in a hatch or a sedan (but no wagon). Essentially they are the same car, however - like twin sisters with different hair and makeup. (There's also a Cerato Koup Turbo that shares bits with the Hyundai Veloster - let's leave that to one side...)

Here's how I see this breaking down (and I'm going to throw a third car into the mix - you'll see why):

Kia Cerato SLi

Kia Cerato SLi

  • RRP: $31,990
  • 2.0-litre petrol 4cyl
  • Direct injection
  • 91 Ron unleaded
  • 129kW @ 6500rpm
  • 209Nm @ 4700rpm
  • 6sp auto
  • 7.4L/100km combined
  • Tare wt: 1309kg
  • Built: South Korea
  • Safety: ANCAP 5-star
  • Warranty: 7yr/unlimited km
  • 17-inch alloys
  • 215/45 tyres

Hyundai i30 Premium

Hyundai i30 Premium

  • RRP: $30,490
  • 1.8-litre petrol 4cyl
  • Std fuel injection
  • 91 Ron unleaded
  • 107kW @ 6500rpm
  • 175Nm @ 4700rpm
  • 6sp auto
  • 6.8L/100km combined
  • Tare wt: 1324kg
  • Built: South Korea
  • Safety: ANCAP 5-star
  • Warranty: 5yr/unlimited km
  • 17-inch alloys
  • 225/45 tyres

Hyundai i30 SR

Hyundai i30 SR

  • RRP: $30,190
  • 2.0-litre petrol 4cyl
  • Direct injection
  • 91 Ron unleaded
  • 129kW @ 6500rpm
  • 209Nm @ 4700rpm
  • 6sp auto
  • 7.4L/100km combined
  • Tare wt: 1350kg
  • Built: South Korea
  • Safety: ANCAP 5-star
  • Warranty: 5yr/unlimited km
  • 17-inch alloys
  • 225/45 tyres

So, basically, what this tells me is that the Cerato SLi and the Hyundai i30 Premium aren't directly comparable because the engine in the SLi is just so much better (better technology - direct injection is a big deal). The SLi's 2.0 is 11 per cent bigger in displacement, but makes 21 per cent more power and 19 per cent more torque. That's a huge step up.

As you can probably see from the table above the SLi is more comparable with the i30 SR (same powertrain). They are both pretty nice to drive (i30 SR is much better to drive than Premium because Hyundai did a lot of local suspension tuning for the i30 SR, and it shows). Kia also does very nice suspension setups for the Cerato SLi. 

You certainly get more fruit with your i30 premium than your i30 SR.The thing that appeals about the Cerato is: a) The bigger warranty is a real plus, and b) the Cerato SLi is fully loaded in terms of standard equipment and also comes with the cracking 2.0-litre powertrain. In comparison, the i30 SR has the good powertrain but can't match the Cerato SLi in terms of standard equipment. The Cerato SLi is also notionally cheaper, but this will depend on the deal you are actually able to negotiate - and that depends on supply, demand and individual dealer motivation.

Obviously there are three right answers here - none of the three cars is a 'fail'. The Kia Cerato SLi, Hyundai i30 Premium and Hyundai i30 SR are all fundamentally good cars. But the most correct answer in your case will clearly depend on your personal preferences for things like features and styling. Personally I really like the i30 SR - Hyundai has done an outstanding job on that car in my view.

You need to go for three test-drives. Click these blue links below for some useful advice there:

I'll get the car buying team at the brokerage to call you ASAP next week to see what discount opportunities there are on all three right at the moment. Hope this helps.

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