Honda City 1.5S vs Kia Cerato 1.6 SX: Which should you buy?

Honda City 1.5S vs Kia Cerato 1.6 SX: Which should you buy?

If you want a stylish, comfortable, practical, and well-equipped compact sedan, the Honda City and Kia Cerato are great options. Assuming you’ve set aside a budget of between RM 70,000 to RM 80,000, which one of these two should buy? To work that out, let’s go ahead and pick the RM 79,995 Honda City 1.5L E variant, and pit it against the RM 76,568 Kia Cerato 1.6 SX trim. But before we do that, it’s time for a little history lesson.

Honda City vs Kia Cerato

The outgoing Honda City represents the sixth generation of this sedan and was introduced back in 2014. As for the Kia Cerato, it was released a year prior to the City, in early 2013. Both cars have garnered significant praise from the public since they were launched. In Malaysia, there are a total of four variants of the new Honda City. In comparison, there’s only one trim to choose for the Kia Cerato, the SX. Under the skin, the City shares its underpinnings with that of the Jazz; while the Cerato utilises the same platform as that found in its Hyundai Elantra sibling.

First up, the Honda...

2019 Honda City 1.5L E

new Honda City FRONT


This variant of the Honda City is slotted one level up from the base S trim, and wears a sticker price of RM 79,955. Featuring the Japanese marque’s “Exciting H” design philosophy, the new City looks sleek, mature, and appropriately sophisticated - keeping with its urbane name tag. With the recent facelift, the Honda City ironed out some of the styling wrinkles that weren’t too popular with everyone. Under that gently sloping bonnet, the City houses a 1.5-litre i-VTEC four-popper, putting out 118 hp at a high 6,600 rpm and up to 145 Nm of torque coming in at 4,600 rpm. Despite its drony CVT gearbox, the Honda City surpasses the Kia in terms of outright performance - blowing past the tonne-mark in 11 seconds and claiming a top whack of 190 kmph.

Honda City interior

For those worried about its fuel economy, the new City will deliver over 13 kmpl. However, this is a sedan that’s more about fun behind the wheel rather than frugal running economics. The City's specs sheet consists of halogen headlamps, LED daytime running lights, 15-inch alloy wheels, chrome door handles, smart entry with push-start ignition, auto-retractable and power-operated wing mirrors, automatic AC with rear air vents, multifunction steering wheel with paddle shifts, cruise control, rear armrests with cup holders, Bluetooth telephony, and a 6.8-inch touch-multimedia head unit with speed-sensitive volume control.

Honda City safety

The Honda City is a pretty safe bet as it packs loads of equipment such as four airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, vehicle stability assist, hill-start assist, and parking sensors with a multi-angle rear-view camera. The only (small) fly in the ointment here compared to the Kia would be the slightly tight rear seats. Otherwise, the 536-litre boot is capacious enough.

Now, onto the Korean contender...

2019 Kia Cerato 1.6 SX

2019 Kia Cerato

Compared to the City, the Kia Cerato’s styling comes across as the one with more flair and slightly more exuberance. Its design takes a few notes from the Europeans and as such, looks upmarket and poised. And while the Honda’s i-VTEC motor is good, the Kia Cerato’s Gamma-series 1.6-litre four-popper produces more power - 128 hp and 157 Nm of maximum torque. It’s mated to a traditional torque-converter 6-speed automatic and drives the front two wheels. Funnily enough, in this instance, more power doesn’t equate to better performance. The Cerato, while still capable of hitting 190 kmph, takes 12 seconds to touch 100 kmph (a whole second slower than the City). Having made that remark, the Kia Cerato thrashes its Japanese rival when it comes to fuel efficiency - averaging up to 15.3 kmpl. However, it isn’t nearly as fun to drive as the City, though its interior surely feels more premium and better assembled.

2019 Kia Cerato interior


The SX variant of the Cerato is kitted out with automatic HID headlamps, halogen fog lights, LED courtesy lamps, hands-free trunk release, 17-inch alloys with chunkier 215-section tyres, keyless-entry with push-button start, dual-zone climate control with rear vents, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel with paddle shifters, power-adjustable driver’s seat, cruise control, and a touch-infotainment system with built-in navigation.

2019 Kia Cerato safety

On the safety front, the Cerato specs sheet gets anti-lock brakes with EBD and brake assist, six airbags, hill-start assist, electronic stability control, and parking sensors with a reversing camera.

2019 Kia Cerato sidenew Honda City FRONT

The Kia Cerato offers more safety and convenience features, better fuel economy, and costs less than the Honda City. So, by the power of deduction and logic, the Korean edges out its Japanese counterpart.

Purva Jain

Purva Jain

Purva is a crazy admirer of cars and she has got a lot of expertise in their detailing. Though, she has mastered in Economics but cars have always been her field of interest. She is an introvert in talking but when it comes to cars and the latest news regarding them she talks like hell. Exploring new cars as well as the vintage machines is listed in her hobbies while getting to know about the history behind the same are the things which she enjoys the most. She may seem silent from the outside but inside her is a volcano erupting to engulf the mean machines.

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