The Road Ahead : February March 2012
WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 52 THE ROAD AHEAD FEB/MAR 2012 MOTORING NEW CAR REVIEWS hyundai elantra active KEY STATS THE NEW HYUNDAI Elantra is a good d car -- Australia's Best Cars awards confirm as much. In the 2011 awards announced in December, the base model Active finished a close fourth in the small cars under $25,000 category behind the VW Golf 90 TSI Trendline, Ford Focus Sport and Hyundai i30 SX. Elantra scored highly in pricing, depreciation, warranty, safety, space, practicality and ride quality to finish ahead of the popular and highly- regarded Mazda3 Neo, Honda Civic VTi, Kia Cerato Si and Toyota Corolla Ascent. This was despite only average scores for running and repair costs, standard features and handling. The latter area proved particularly disappointing, as we were expecting more given Hyundai's claim is now torsion beam, rather than h n independent) and steering had been specifically calibrated for local driving conditions. Better body control and more communicative steering, together with higher grip levels, would clearly serve Elantra better and take it closer to the winner's circle. Longer and wider than its predecessor of the same name, new Elantra is significantly larger in terms of interior and boot space (420 litres). Its 1.8-litre, Nu four-cylinder engine, which replaces the old 2.0-litre unit, has four percent more power and returns better fuel economy, but is shorter on torque. The ADR combined cycle is 6.6 litres/100 km, though we averaged 10.1 over some 400 km of varied driving. renault megane rs 250 cup trophee While accommodating as an everyday drive, the Renault Sport Megane RS250 Cup Trophee is happiest in the unrestricted environs of Lakeside Park or Queensland Raceway. For proof, look no further than its Renault Sport monitor display which provides a read- out of lap and acceleration times and cornering G forces, along with a power start feature that controls wheelspin under full acceleration. Thanks to a dynamic chassis, suspension and brake package that makes the most of the 184 kW, 340 Nm turbo powertrain, it's a beauty. KEY STATS MLP: $46,990 SAFETY: DFSCA, ABS, EBD, BA, ESC, tyre pressure monitor, rear parking sensors. KEY FEATURES: Brembo brakes, Recaro front seats, 18" alloys, bluetooth, ipod audio streaming, dual-zone climate control, RS monitor display, bi-Xenon directional headlights. ENGINE: 2.0-litre, turbo petrol, 4-cyl. CRASH RATING: (Megane Coupe). mazda2 neo The Mazda2 has long been one of the more enjoyable light cars to drive, thanks to zippy performance and nimble handling, along with good levels of comfort and space. This continues with the 2011 face-lifted model. However, Neo is not as well equipped as some other base m odels in its class. There's no bluetooth phone or audio streaming, steering wheel reach adjustment and only a temporary spare wheel. Also missing are front side and front/rear curtain airbags, items standard on other Mazda2 models. A six-speed auto, instead of the existing four-speed optional unit, would also serve Neo better. KEY STATS MLP: $17,440 (auto). SAFETY: ABS, ESC, TCS, dual front airbags, EBD, BA. KEY FEATURES: Airconditioning, single CD with auxiliary input (MP3 compatible), immobiliser, power mirrors/windows, remote central locking. ENGINE: 1.5-litre, DOHC, inline 4-cyl. CRASH RATING: ( with optional airbags). MLP: $20,590 SAFETY: Dual front/side/curtain airbags (DFSCA), anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD), brake assist (BA), electronic stability control (ESC), traction control (TCS). KEY FEATURES: Airconditioning, steering wheel mounted controls, cruise control, immobiliser, alarm, CD player with USB/auxiliary input/iPod compatibility, MP3, bluetooth. ENGINE: 1.8-litre, inline 4-cyl. MAX. POWER: 110 kW @ 6500 rpm. MAX. TORQUE: 178 Nm @ 4700 rpm. 0-100 KM/H: 11.3 sec. (as tested). 80 KM/H-STOP: 26.9 m (as tested). FUEL (ADR FIGURE): 6.6 litres/100 km. CRASH RATING: EMISSIONS RATING: FOR: Safety, space, level of depreciation. AGAINST: Handling, smoothness/ quietness. ^PRICES ARE MANUFACTURERS' LIST PRICES AND DO NOT INCLUDE STATUTORY AND DELIVERY CHARGES. PRICES & FEATURES CORRECT AT TIME OF PRINTING. REVIEWS BY BARRY GREEN AND JOHN EWING.
April May 2012