The Road Ahead : December 2011
WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 42 THE ROAD AHEAD DEC 2011/JAN 2012 M OTORING AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS light under $20,000 kia rio si THE KIA RIO SLi delivers well beyond its price point and diminutive small car origins. As tested, it sells for $18,990. For that outlay, buyers get five door convenience with plenty of interior space, a free-revving, willing and efficient 1.6-litre petrol engine and a crisp six-speed manual transmission. All in all, it adds up to an extremely fun daily drive that certainly doesn't break the budget. Central to this new model is an all new design that is visible immediately. The interior is both functional and comfortable and, perhaps more importantly, well executed. Adults can sit comfortably in the back seats and the luggage area (in what is a small hatch, remember) is generous, with or without the rear seats folded down. There is all the connectivity and multimedia options you need, controls that feel sturdy and are well placed and a general feeling of quality and tightness throughout. Standard equipment is impressive and, on this Si grade, includes all the electronic assistance you would expect, including traction and electronic stability control. Safety hasn't been overlooked either, with six airbags as standard, along with a five-star ANCAP as rating. Manufacturer's List Price (MLP): $18,990. light over $20,000 vw polo 66 tdi comfortline A PERENNIAL WINNER over the years in various classes of Australia's Best Cars awards, the Polo makes a name for itself again with back-to-back success in light cars over $20,000. It's not surprising really, as the Polo 66 TDI punches above its weight in several important judging criteria and would give many cars in the next class up a serious run for their money. The Polo has grown in size over the years but the extra bulk hasn't hurt it in terms of performance. Under the bonnet is a 1.6-litre turbo-diesel engine with an output of 66 kW and, more importantly, 230 Nm of engine torque produced from low engine revolutions. It feels as quick as anything on offer in class. A nicely sorted chassis gives Polo the ability to handle just about any scenario. On twisting sections of road, it is nimble and sure footed. Ride quality is as supple as a car twice its price. Clever interior packaging makes the most of Polo's compact size. Above average leg room and head room for passengers, and a wide opening rear hatch, is rewarded with a solid score for space. Perhaps the ultimate accolade is that, despite being the baby of the VW range, Polo feels just like its bigger brother, Golf. MLP: $22,350. SCORES TOTAL: 826. 2nd: Hyundai Accent Active, 816. 3rd: Suzuki Swift GL, 804. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 2C, Depreciation 1M, Running costs 8M, Fuel consumption 9C, Warranty 8H, Insurance 5L, Standard features 8H. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 9C, Environment 10C, Comfort 9M, Space 8L, Practicality 8M, Ergonomics 8M, Build & finish 8H. ON THE ROAD: Performance 8M, Ride 7M, Handling 8M, Braking 8H, Smoothness & quietness 8L. SCORES TOTAL: 966. 2nd: Ford Fiesta Zetec, 942. 3rd: Audi A1 TFSI Ambition, 896. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 9H, Depreciation 7M, Running costs 8M, Fuel consumption 10C, Warranty 5H, Insurance 7L, Standard features 7H. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 10C, Environment 8C, Comfort 8M, Space 6L, Practicality 8M, Ergonomics 8M, Build & finish 8H. ON THE ROAD: Performance 8H, Ride 8H, Handling 8H, Braking 8H, Smoothness & quietness 8L. LEVEL OF WEIGHTED IMPORTANCE FOR EACH SCORE: L=LOW,M=MEDIUM,H=HIGH,C=CRITICAL.
February March 2012