The Road Ahead : February March 2012
WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 50 THE ROAD AHEAD FEB/MAR 2012 MOTORING ROAD TEST The trade off with an auto is, of course, more convenient stop-start driving, and here Rio holds an obvious advantage. That said, at a constant 60 km/h, it often seems in two minds as to whether to change up, or down a gear. The Kia was also a little lazy in our braking test, taking an average 26.3 m to pull up from 80 km/h. But, look beyond its shortcomings and you will find that, typical of the latest Kia offerings, the S comes with a long warranty, is well equipped, shows impressive build and finish and exudes plenty of style, inside and out. Performance and transmission limitations aside, it's still a good drive, offering up plenty by way of comfort and sound ergonomics, alert handling and firm but compliant ride. Space, both boot and interior, though could be more accommodating. TOYOTA YARIS YR 1.3 THREE-DOOR Priced between $14,990 and $21,390, the new-generation Yaris hatch range offers a choice of three and five- door body styles, two VVT-i equipped engines (1.3-litre and 1.5-litre), two transmissions (five-speed manual and four-speed auto) and four model grades. Yaris is also the cheapest of our four test cars, a plus which flows on to the lowest depreciation and second-lowest insurance premium. Projected running costs are also favourable, beaten only by Accent. Despite being the shortest and narrowest overall, Yaris makes optimum use of space. Knee room in the rear is the most generous of all, the seats supportive and well bolstered and, by our measurements, its boot wins on width and height. There's some 22 various storage places, including a spacious tray under the boot floor. However, in having a spacesaver it's the only one not to have a full-size spare wheel (Barina's comes as no cost option) and there's no steering reach adjustment nor front seatbelt height adjustment. On the plus side, Yaris is the only one to boast a driver's knee airbag and voice control function. Though reasonably comfortable inside and the controls and switchgear intuitive, its interior feels dated and dull. Here, testers considered Toyota missed the opportunity to inject some additional style to match particularly Kia and other best in category competition. This generation Yaris is some 20 kg less than its predecessor, with the YR three-door manual weighing in at just 990 kg, making it significantly lightest on test. Although the 1.3-litre engine, at 63 kW and 121 Nm, is the least powerful and torquey, this absence of bulk makes for relatively zippy performance and agility and best on test fuel consumption, a thrifty 6.7 litres/100 km (ADR figure 5.7). The Toyota was second quickest to the Hyundai in four of our acceleration tests, being toey off the mark from 0-60, 80 and 100 km/h and over 400 m. However, lack of power and torque catches it out in roll-on acceleration, where it trails its rivals in 50-80 and 60- 100 km/h. CONCLUSION Barina Hatch is an improvement on the insipid Barina Spark in just about every way, and has several things going for it, but in this company, falls short of the best. So, too, Kia Rio S, and that's a disappointment as its bigger-engined, better-equipped and slightly-dearer sibling, Rio Si, is such a good thing. There's no doubt the S would have acquitted itself better had it been the manual gearbox version, but we can only compare what is, and not what might have been. Ya r is, in three-door YR form, punches above its weight against the dearer, more powerful and bigger competition. If you're seriously in the market for a car at the lower end of the light car category, check it out. As is probably already apparent, it's hard to go past the Hyundai Accent Active as the smartest buy in this company. In the 2011 Australia's Best Cars awards it didn't upstage a previous winner and stablemate, the Hyundai 120 Active, for nothing. IMAGES: LEFT, KIA RIO. RIGHT, TOYOTA YARIS YR.
April May 2012