The Road Ahead : February March 2012
WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 48 THE ROAD AHEAD FEB/MAR 2012 MOTORING ROAD TEST narrowly in front, despite being the most raucous under acceleration from 50-80 km/h. In contrast, it troubled the noise meter least at a steady 80 km/h. HYUNDAI ACCENT ACTIVE Hyundai has matured significantly since the first Accent appeared on Australian roads. The new Accent joins Hyundai's eminently-successful i20 in the light car category, but the former is a bigger car. Dimensionally, it sits between i20 and Hyundai's i30 small car. Available in hatch or sedan, with five-speed manual or four-speed auto, Accent comes in three spec levels, Active (as per our test car), Elite and (hatch only) Premium. With Accent Active finishing runner up in category in the 2011 Australia's Best Cars awards, we were expecting a strong showing -- and so it proved. The Hyundai takes the points for value for money and on the road, and is just shaded by its Korean countryman in design and function. Lowest projected running costs, an average fuel consumption of 6.8 litres/100 km on test (0.8 higher than the ADR figure) and a generous warranty that matches the Kia are among its several strong points. The projected residual and extra standard features such as an alarm, twin auxiliary power outlets and map reading lights (Rio has same), audio and bluetooth controls conveniently mounted on the steering wheel and auto off headlights add further appeal. It's a match for Rio on rear head, knee and foot room and the driver scores a comfy 'work station' although (as with Yaris) steering reach adjustment is an omission. Apart from this, Accent measures up ergonomically with its Korean cousin. Boot space is good, but, length apart, not as generous as the overall dimensions of the car suggest. On performance, the others don't see which way the Hyundai goes. Endowed with 91 kW and 156 Nm, which translates into best on test for power and torque to weight, Accent topped all six of our acceleration tests convincingly. The gear ratios are well matched to the powertrain and the six-speed gearbox shifts smoothly and precisely. Ride quality is supple and composed and Accent carries its pace around corners competently when pushed, although at the expense of some tyre howl. Pulling up in an average of 25.6 metres, its braking proficiency is not as good as Yaris or Barina, which surprised somewhat given that the Hyundai and Kia have front and rear discs as opposed to the Toyota and Holden's disc/drum combination. KIA RIO S Launched in September last year, Kia's fourth-generation Rio is available in five- door hatch, with three and four-door body styles arriving in February. Buyers have a choice of three trim levels: the 1.4-litre engine S with six- speed manual or four-speed manumatic auto and Si and SLi powered by the 1.6-litre 'Gamma' engine with six-speed manual or six-speed manumatic. In Si manual guise, Rio is a cracker of car and a deserved winner of the 2011 Australia's Best Cars ultra-competitive light car under $20,000 category. However, the smaller-engined, lower- specification S is not as convincing, as our test shows. As supplied with optional auto ($2000) instead of standard manual, our test vehicle immediately takes a hit on pricing and resultant depreciation. Projected running costs also are the highest of the four cars on test, along with insurance premium. And average fuel consumption of 8.0 litres/100 km, 1.7 higher than the ADR figure, is only third best on test. But where the S really struggles is in performance where it refuses to be 'launched' from a start, with fairly pedestrian results -- a 0-100 km/h time of 15 seconds and 20.0 seconds for the standing 400 m, all this to the accompaniment of an engine that sounds like it's working its head off. Hills particularly test the S, and even using the sequential manual gearshift to shuffle down the gears, it struggles markedly due to a lack of low down torque (pulling power). IMAGES: LEFT, KIA RIO. RIGHT, HYUNDAI ACCENT ACTIVE.
April May 2012