The Road Ahead : August 2010
PHOTOS, FROM LEFT: Cerato features styling by ex-Audi designer Peter Schreyer. Liana surprises with its performance. WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 44 THE ROAD AHEAD AUG/SEPT 2010 MOTORING ROAD TEST IN LAUNCHING THE new 2010 SX4 range, Queensland-based Suzuki Auto Co reintroduced the Liana name plate on the sedan among what is a five model all-wheel-drive and two-wheel-drive hatch and sedan line up. Across the range is a more powerful, better fuel efficient, 2.0-litre engine, electronic stability control and choice of a new six-speed manual transmission or (for the first time) continuously variable transmission (CVT). And rear disc brakes are now standard on the sedan which is available in one trim specification, the two-wheel-drive S series -- the focus of our comparison. Kia has also been busy. Last year, the Korean car maker released its new 'from the ground up' Cerato, available in S, Si and SLi models, which has since been joined by a sharp-looking two door coupe, called the Koup. Longer and wider than its predecessor, the Cerato sedan also has a bigger boot and smarter body styling with a 2.0-litre engine producing more power and torque. Our test car was the top of the range SLi with four-speed auto transmission. Not to be outdone, Honda has upgraded its 2010 Civic line up. Dual front, side and curtain airbags are now standard on all models, following on from the inclusion of vehicle stability assist (AKA electronic stability control) across the range in 2009. Two new colours -- Dyno Blue and Habenero Red -- jazz up the palette choices and the VTi-L model has scored new ten-spoke alloy wheels. The entry level VTi -- the volume seller of the range -- best matches up on price with the Liana S CVT and Cerato SLi auto. However, Honda supplied the higher specification (and, hence, dearer) mid- range VTi-L which adds driver's side auto up/down window, outside temp display, 60/40 split fold instead of single fold, alarm, 16-inch alloys with larger tyres and six-stack CD complete with steering wheel audio controls. To complete our four-door, petrol driven comparison line up, we also tried to include the strong selling Holden Cruze 1.8 CDX and Subaru Impreza R autos, but unfortunately Holden only had a diesel variant available while Subaru could only provide a hatch and not sedan. VALUE FOR MONEY The Civic VTi-L blows out in price among this company, going from $25,290 for the VTi auto to $28,990. The Cerato is cheapest at $25,190, $300 less than the Liana. According to Glass's Guide, the Honda holds up best in residual value. With no figures available for the VTi-L, the pricier Sport four-door sedan is said to have 70/66/64/60 percent values over one to four years. This compares with 67/65/53/49 for Liana and 64/58/54/51 for Cerato. Running costs over five years or 75,000 km (taking into account scheduled servicing, insurance and our standard sample of consumable parts) favour Cerato ($5908) narrowly from Liana ($5990) with Civic slightly dearer ($6293), due in part to Honda's shorter service intervals. All sip 91 RON unleaded, with Civic on paper holding a slight advantage in claiming 7.2-litres/ 100 km over Liana 7.6 and Cerato 7.9. On test, the former returned 7.6, the Suzuki 7.9 and the Kia 8.5 -- all commendably close to their Australian Design Rules combined cycle figures. When it comes to warranty, Kia's five year/ unlimited kilometre coverage emphatically tops the Japanese pair's three year/100,000 km offerings. Our trio comes pretty well equipped for standard features (see page 48). STARTERS: HONDA CIVIC VTI-L, KIA CERATO SLI, SUZUKI SX4 LIANA S. TESTERS: BARRY GREEN, JOHN EWING, GREG MCMANUS.
June July 2010