When's it going?

At the end of the year, the oddly named Cerato will be replaced by the even more oddly named Kia Cee'd. It will probably be bigger and better, with more elements as standard, but why wait when the already massively depreciating Cerato is around for you to enjoy?

What's good about it?

Not a huge amount, although it's anonymous at least. A spacious small family car, inside the layout is neat, and build quality is reasonable. Both steering column and driver's seat are height-adjustable. You can fit four adults in reasonable comfort, though they'll have more headroom in the back of the hatch than the saloon. Both models get 60/40 split folding rear seats and decent boot space.

The really good thing, however, about the Cerato, and indeed most Kias, is that the equipment levels are more than generous. Starting with the GS, you get air-conditioning, remote central locking, electric front windows and a CD-player. The LX adds little more than alloy wheels. Best of all, the 2.0-litre SE boasts climate control and leather-upholstered seats. A safe, well- equipped car with no pretensions.

What's bad about it?

The Cerato is unremarkable in almost every way. Firstly, there are three engine options, two petrols, a 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre, along with a 1.5-litre diesel, and none are that impressive. Also, if you did decide to go for the largest 2.0-litre petrol, you would be restricted to the saloon body. Not only are the engines just adequate, the handling is nothing special, with vague steering and lots of body roll. Inside, the fit and finish is OK, but the materials are averagely plastic. Also, if you buy brand new, you will lose a lot of money if you are silly enough to resell too soon. The Cerato isn't a bad car, just a very average one, and that is reflected in the new and used price. You're not likely to buy one by mistake, or because there was a queue at the BMW showroom.

How much?

The best way to buy a Cerato, because of depreciation, is slightly used. Motorhouse 2000 Ltd (0870 224 8440) had a 2005 1.6 GS hatchback that had done just 184 miles for £6,000 - new it was £10,295. At Fine Cars (02392 581118), a top-of-the-range 2.0SE saloon with just 207 miles on the clock was just £6,495, down from £12,495.

Any snags?

Not many, and to date there have been no recalls. All models will be covered by the manufacturer's warranty as it was introduced in 2004. However, a stiff clutch and a gearbox that doesn't engage easily will be pricey to put right. At the very least, you should expect to find all cars with a full service history.

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