The Road Ahead : December 2010
WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 48 THE ROAD AHEAD DEC 2010/JAN 2011 MOTORING AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS people movers hyundai imax THERE IS NO denying iMax is a big van with commercial origins but the massive interior space has been put to good use and a few additional mechanical refinements transform it from a solid workhorse into a family-friendly people mover. Large sliding doors on either side provide easier access to the second and third-row seats. Even though it doesn't have all the clever folding seats of some people movers, iMax will seat eight adults in relative comfort and there is still plenty of space for luggage behind the third row. While it is not overly endowed with standard equipment, all the appropriate gear for this type of vehicle is there, such as dual-zone airconditioning with independent controls for rear seat passengers. The on-road ability and driving ease is a lot better than might be expected for such a big, rear-wheel-drive van. The dash layout is straightforward and all the controls are simple to operate. A high driving position provides a commanding view of the road and parking sensors are an enormous help. The soft, coil-spring suspension is well controlled and provides a comfortable ride, whether empty or loaded on rough as well as smooth road surfaces. MLP: $42,490. sports under $80,000 bmw 135i coupe IT MIGHT NOT look like a sports car in the traditional sense of being a low- slung, strictly two-seater with soft top but, make no mistake, the 135i Coupe fits the bill in every other way. In fact, so complete is the 135i in the areas of Design and Function and On the Road (class leader in both), that it manages to overcome a considerable deficit in vital Value for Money stakes, normally the kiss of death for any vehicle that scores poorly in this critical objective area. Providing the 'motor-vation' is a 225 kW twin-turbo, direct-injection, 3.0-litre straight-six, a dynamic powerplant that has won its share of international design awards. Little wonder -- this is an engine for any occasion, eager to send the tachometer needle racing to red line, or (thanks to a broad spread of torque between 1300 and 5000 rpm), impress with its mid-range muscle. The six-speed manual gearshift is rifle-bolt precise. In coming up with an overall handling package, BMW designers and engineers have suitably answered their engine colleagues' call to arms, endowing the 135i Coupe with not just the required suspension tweaks and hi-tech braking system but near-perfect 50/50 weight distribution and rear-wheel-drive. Ride quality, while understandably firm, is agreeably compliant for everyday use. MLP: $72,800. SCORES TOTAL: 807. 2nd: Volkswagen Golf R, 798. 3rd: Volkswagen Golf GTi, 781. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 2 M, Depreciation 3 L, Running costs 4 M, Fuel consumption 5 M, Warranty 5 M, Insurance 4 L, Standard features 7 H. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 9 C, Environment 8 C, Comfort 10 H, Ergonomics 9 H, Build & finish 9 H. ON THE ROAD: Performance 10 C, Ride 9 M, Handling 9 C, Braking 10 C, Smoothness/quietness 9 L. visit www.australiasbestcars.com.au MORE INFO LEVEL OF WEIGHTED IMPORTANCE FOR EACH SCORE: L=LOW,M=MEDIUM,H=HIGH,C=CRITICAL. SCORES TOTAL: 734. 2nd: Kia Grand Carnival Si, 725. 3rd: Honda Odyssey Luxury, 709. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 8 C, Depreciation 7 M, Running costs 9 H, Fuel consumption 4 H, Warranty 8 M, Insurance 6 L, Standard features 3 H. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 7 C, Environment 5 C, Comfort 10 C, Space 10 C, Practicality 8 C, Ergonomics 9 C, Build & finish 7 M. ON THE ROAD: Performance 7 M, Ride 8 H, Handling 6 M, Braking 7 H, Smoothness/quietness 7 L.