The Road Ahead : December January 2010
MOTORING AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS small ford fiesta lx THE FIVE-DOOR, 1.6-LITRE, fifive-speed manual petrol Ford Fiesta LX, the latest thlt t iteration of Ford's volume-seller among the range, is dearer than the Mazda2 Neo, Toyota Yaris YRS, Honda Jazz 1.3 GLi, Suzuki Swift and Hyundai Getz SX. But dollars aren't everything and, in many other aspects, the challenger in the blue (oval) corner equals or outpoints the best of its classy opposition. Interior space is about as good as it gets in a car of this size, and Fiesta stands out in the comfort stakes. There's an accommodating boot, while judges were impressed with the redesign of what were already user-friendly ergonomics. Perfor f mance wise, it's a little powerhouse. Where many others run hW h t h out of puff, Fiesta continues to pull away convincingly in fourth and fifth gears. It also impresses with crisp, fast steering and firm but compliant damping that eases out all but the most aggressive back-road bumps. In fact, Fiesta LX is an entertaining and rewarding drive. Bigger section tyres enhance braking ability, ensuring it has the 'whoa' to match the 'go'. One caution though: buyers taking up the four-speed automatic option ($1500) should note that, in this mode, Fiesta comes with a 1.4-litre engine. RRP: $18,990. mid size under $30,000 hyundai i30 sx crdi NOT PREPARED TO admire one Australia's Best Cars trophy in the cabinet for the i30, Hyundai set about improvements to stay ahead of the competition, which wouldn't have been easy considering it already punched above its weight in features and security. Last year's winning car had electronic stability control, dual front airbags, electronic brakeforce distribution and traction control, although it missed out on side and curtain airbags. Through the advocacy of Australia's Best Cars, the base model SX now has these additional airbags as standard, moving the entire range to a five-star ANCAP safety rating, while remaining at the budget e end of the category. This is a significant win for significant win for consumers and adds pressure to other manufacturers to lift their game. The diesel i30 is impressive all round. With a thumping 255 Nm of torque available in the meat of the rev range, hill climbing or highway cruising is always effortless. Handling dynamics are solid if not outstanding, while on the roughest of dirt roads, the ride is above average. A surprisingly spacious interior awaits driver and passengers. Controls are clear and straightforward and within easy reach of the driver and build quality continues to be high. RRP: $22,890. SCORES TOTAL: 803. 2nd: VW Polo TDI, 719. 3rd: Mitsubishi Lancer ES, 713. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 8 C, Depreciation 8 M, Running costs 10 C, Fuel consumption 10 C, Warranty 8 M, Standard features 7 H. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 9 C, Security 9 H, Environment 7 C, Comfort 8 M, Space 7 M, Practicality 8 M, Ergonomics 8 M, Build & finish 7 H. ON THE ROAD: Performance 8 M, Ride 7 M, Handling 7 H, Braking 7 H, Smoothness/quietness 7 M. visit www.roadahead.com.au/motoring MORE INFO LEVEL OF WEIGHTED IMPORTANCE FOR EACH SCORE: L=LOW,M=MEDIUM,H=HIGH,C=CRITICAL. WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 44 THE ROAD AHEAD DEC 2009/JAN 2010 SCORES TOTAL: 711. 2nd: Mazda2 Neo, 667. 3rd: Honda Jazz 1.3 GLi, 658. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 2 C, Depreciation 4 M, Running costs 7 C, Fuel consumption 7 C, Warranty 4 M, Standard features 7 M. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 7 C, Security 9 H, Environment 8 C, Comfort 9 M, Space 6 L, Practicality 7 M, Ergonomics 9 M, Build & finish 8 H. ON THE ROAD: Performance 9 M, Ride 8 M, Handling 9 M, Braking 9 H, Smoothness/quietness 8 L.
February March 2010