The Road Ahead : August 2010
PHOTOS, FROM LEFT: MY10 Civic lives up to its predecessor's reputation. Our test trio all represent good buying. MAKES YOUR DAY 45 AUG/SEPT 2010 THE ROAD AHEAD ROAD TEST MOTORING However, the VTI-L misses out on front fog lights as standard, but has a fire retardant interior, fuel tank rollover valve and speed sensitive volume compensation to the audio system which has two front and two rear speakers. Cerato boasts a six-function trip computer and auto off headlights (the others have an audible warning), rear parking sensors, six speakers (in the front and rear doors) and front tweeters. Liana gets keyless start, cargo light, rear spoiler, front passenger side under seat storage, fold down front arm rests, five speakers (in the front and rear doors as well as centre of the dashboard) and four tweeters (front and rear). DESIGN & FUNCTION All can claim an immobiliser and central locking with remote for doors and boot, but the VTI-L is alone in having an alarm (something its cheaper VTi sibling doesn't). As might be expected on a car of this price, there is no lumbar support or cushion tilt, let alone power adjustment or leather trim to any of the seats. The driver gets manual seat slide and height/back adjustment and a footrest. Cerato's seat -- with the longest cushion - is comfy initially, but doesn't endure as well as the firmer Civic and Liana items. Appearances can be deceptive -- the latter looks like it has way more driver headroom, but we put the rakish Civic equal. Kia claims a best in class for front leg room, but our measurements (from leading edge of the seat to brake pedal) suggested the Honda was a tad better. Overall, for driver comfort, we rated Civic best ahead of Liana and Cerato. In the space race, the Honda measures up as the longest in body from the Kia and Suzuki, Cerato the widest ahead of Civic and Liana and the latter tallest by fair margin with very little between the others. Cerato has a claimed best in class boot space (415 litres) and it's also trumps among our trio for rear seating. With three adult males aboard, the Kia convinced as having the widest seat and best outer head room as well as ample foot room. All would carry three smaller passengers capably. For practicality, Civic is a point ahead of its opposition, though none is perfect. All have flat floors, but boot hinges impinge on space, internal load lips hamper access and there's some intrusion to the cargo areas. None of the 60/40 split fold rear seats fold completely flat. Each scores a full complement of headrests except Cerato, which misses out on the centre rear, and all have active front headrests as well as three child restraint anchorages mounted conveniently on the back ledge. Liana and Cerato also have a pair of ISOFIX child seat anchorages. Cerato boasts a full size alloy spare wheel and Civic a full size steel item, while Liana carries a space saver. The Suzuki takes a hit in terms of ergonomics, where it is alone in not having steering reach adjustment. All come with steering tilt adjustment and steering wheel mounted controls. Civic impresses with its digital speedo that is easy to read. Not so user friendly are its triangulated A-pillars, which are hard to see around. However, Liana's similarly configurated items obscure the view even more. ON THE ROAD When it came to putting the foot down, Liana proved something of a revelation. The least sporty looking of the trio really raised its skirts, sprinting away to top five of our six acceleration tests. Only from 0-60 km/h was it slow to get going. Here, Cerato and Civic proved equal, with the former also THANKS TO MT BREWERY FOR ASSISTANCE WITH OUR PHOTO SHOOT ON LOCATION AT MT TAMBORINE.
June July 2010