Toyota Corolla vs Kia Cerato Review

By Alexi Falson on 02 Mar 2023
image for Toyota Corolla vs Kia Cerato Review If you’re in the market for an affordable hatchback or sedan, both the Toyota Corolla and Kia Cerato are two of the leading contenders within the small car segment.

They offer a healthy value-for-money package in a surprisingly practical platform that is more family-friendly than you might expect.

Both the Toyota Corolla and Kia Cerato are closely matched in terms of prices, specs, equipment, safety features and fuel economy, so let’s take a closer look at the lineup to find which is the better option for your needs.

In the interest of the best possible value comparison, we’ll be taking a close look at the entry-level Corolla Ascent Sport and the Kia Cerato S to see what’s on offer for buyers in their cheapest form.

How Much Do They Cost?

The Toyota Corolla lineup kicks off from $23,895 for the entry-level Corolla Ascent Sport manual in both a sedan and hatchback body style, with prices rising to $25,395 for the Ascent Sport automatic. The range then moves to the Ascent Sport hybrid hatchback and sedan, which are priced at $27,395.

Moving to the higher-spec Corolla SX raises the price to $28,795, while the SX Hybrid is priced at $30,795. Finally, the range tops-out in the form of the Corolla ZR which is priced at $34,195, and the ZR Hybrid flagship at $34,695.

The Kia Cerato range starts at a slight premium over the Corolla, with the entry-level Kia Cerato S priced at $25,990, or $26,990 with the Safety Package added.

Moving to the Kia Cerato Sport brings the price to $28,090, with the Sport with the safety package receiving a $29,090 price tag. The Kia Cerato Sport+ is priced at $31,140, while the range-topping Cerato GT is priced slightly higher than the flagship Corolla at $35,790.

OnlineAuto Savings: Enquire now

Toyota Corolla (ASCENT SPORT + NAVIGATION) Specifications

Model Date 2023
Series MZEA12R
Drive FWD
Engine DIRFI
Engine capacity 1987
Engine configuration VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves
Engine RPM 6600 / 4400
Cylinders 4
Torque 200
KW 125
Fuel tank size 50.0
Fuel usage specs 6.0 / 0
CO2 139
ANCAP security rating 5

For more details and other variants, check Toyota Corolla car page.

Kia Cerato (S) Specifications

Model Date 2023
Make KIA
Series BD MY23
Variant S
Transmission 6 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive FWD
Engine MPFI
Engine capacity 1999
Engine configuration VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves
Engine RPM 6200 / 4000
Cylinders 4
Torque 192
KW 112
Fuel tank size 50.0
Fuel usage specs 7.4 / 0
CO2 167
ANCAP security rating 4

For more details and other variants, check Kia Cerato car page.

How Much Can OnlineAuto Save You?

Using OnlineAuto’s car buying service in Australia, you could save by using one of our car experts to help you find the best new car for you.

What Features Does the Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Have?

Toyota’s entry-level Corolla Ascent Sport comes riding on a set of 16-inch alloys and receives a set of bi-LED headlights, LED daytime running lamps and tail lights, adaptive cruise control, a reversing camera, air conditioning and an 8.0-inch infotainment system fitted with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto paired with a six-speaker sound system.

Toyota Corolla Colours

The Corolla range is available in a choice of Eclipse Black, Peacock Black, Graphite, Eclectic Blue, Silver Pearl, Glacier White, Frosted White and Jasper Red.

What Features Does the Kia Cerato S Have?

Kia’s entry-level Cerato S comes riding on a set of 16-inch steel wheels, and receives automatic headlights, air conditioning, cruise control, a rear-view camera with front and rear parking sensors and an 8.0-inch infotainment system fitted with wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, as well as a six-speaker sound system.

Kia Cerato S Colours

The Kia Cerato range is available in your choice of Aurora Black, Horizon Blue, Platinum Graphite, Mineral Blue, Runaway Red, Steel Grey, Silky Silver, Clear White and Snow White Pearl.

Which is More Comfortable to Drive?

Both the Corolla and the Cerato are great little cars for buyers looking for a comfortable, user-friendly commuter, however, just one is available with the option of a hybrid engine.

In base form, though, both are closely matched.

The Kia Cerato comes powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol producing 112kW of power and 192Nm of torque, which is paired with a six-speed automatic as standard; a more powerful 1.6-litre turbo-four is reserved for the flagship Cerato GT.

The driving experience in the Cerato is simple and straightforward, while benefitting from Kia’s specific tune for Australian roads, making the platform more adaptable.

It excels as a runaround in the urban jungle thanks to its nimble handling and confidence on a variety of road surfaces, while parking and low-speed turns are a simple task thanks to the lightweight steering rack.

Moving to the entry-level Corolla, you’ll find a 2.0-litre four-cylinder producing a fraction more power and torque at 125kW/200Nm under the bonnet, while a 1.8-litre four-cylinder hybrid engine tops the range, both of which receive a CVT automatic.

The power delivery is seamless thanks to the CVT automatic, while the steering rack is easy to manouver around town while offering a decent amount of feedback as you pick up speed, while the cabin is better insulated to the outside while than the Cerato.

All up, both the Kia Cerato and Toyota Corolla are hard to separate when it comes to comfortable driving. The Corolla has the smoother powertrain of the two, while Kia’s handling tune for Australian roads makes it slightly better on a mix of town and country driving.

Which is More Practical and Spacious?

While they might be classified as small cars, both the Corolla and Cerato platforms have a lot to offer buyers with growing families thanks to their clever and surprisingly practical cabins.

Both offer the driver and front passenger a spacious cabin with a heap of headroom that won’t be a problem for taller drivers.

The Cerato’s cabin features slightly more storage options in the central tunnel, with a pair of storage areas behind the gear lever, a set of cupholders, a small storage tray beside the handbrake, storage inside the folding armrest and a set of door bins either side of the cabin.

The Corolla’s transmission tunnel rises higher than the Cerato, offering just one storage area behind the gear lever, while it matches the Cerato when it comes to the usual assortment of cupholders and storage options up front.

Move to the rear of the Cerato and you’ll find slightly more legroom on offer for tall rear passengers, atop a slight premium on headroom over the Corolla; both come fitted with ISOFIX anchors and top tether mounts.

The same applies when it comes to boot space, with Kia Cerato offering buyers a far bigger boot than the Corolla that measures in at 428L for the hatchback and 502L for the sedan over the Corolla’s 217L in the hatch and 470L in the sedan.

When it comes to practicality and family-friendly space, then, the Kia Cerato is the clear winner.

Which Has the Most Safety Equipment as Standard?

Both the Toyota Corolla and Kia Cerato have been awarded five-star safety ratings from ANCAP, making them strong contenders in the area of safe driving.

The Kia Cerato comes packed with autonomous emergency braking, a reversing camera with front & rear parking sensors, lane-keep and lane-follow assist and driver attention alerts.

Key equipment like blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and rear-cross traffic alerts are reserved for Kia’s optional safety package.

The entry-level Corolla comes fitted with AEB braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-keep and lane-departure assist, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition and a reversing camera.

Blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alerts, however, are reserved for the Corolla SX and ZR, making them seemingly identical when it comes to safety equipment as standard.

Which is More Fuel Efficient?

While both the entry-level Cerato and Corolla come powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylidner petrol, the Corolla is the outright winner when it comes to fuel efficiency.

The Corolla hatch returns fuel economy figures of 6.0L/100km in the automatic hatch, while the sedan is rated at 6.5L/100km, which betters the Cerato’s figures of 7.4L/100km on a combined cycle.

Moving to the Cerato GT brings fuel economy down marginally to 6.8L/100km, but can’t compete with the Corolla Hybrid’s exceptional fuel economy figures of 4.2L/100km for the hatch and 3.5L/100km for the sedan.

Our Verdict: Toyota Corolla vs Kia Cerato

While the Corolla has a more smooth & sophisticated engine, the Cerato offers buyers a more spacious cabin and a seriously attractive value proposition thanks to its seven-year warranty.

The Cerato does, however, lack a hybrid option in the range which could be a deal-breaker for some buyers, and the Corolla remains a strong performer when it comes to space and comfort, albeit with small boot figures for the hatchback.

In years past, a winner would have been extremely easy to crown. These days, though, the margin between the Corolla and Cerato is so fine these days that they’re both well-deserving of a spot on your shortlist if you’re in the market for a small car.

On that note, if you’re looking at your options, you can get a free quote and see how much OnlineAuto can save you on your next car, or call us on 1300 719 925

Toyota Corolla & Kia Cerato Competition

Toyota Corolla & Kia Cerato

Mazda 3
Honda Civic
Hyundai i30
Volkswagen Golf


Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

Have any questions? Call us on 1300 719 925

car icon
close sticky hub button


Maximum of 3 vehicles