The Road Ahead : August 1st 2012
WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 50 THE ROAD AHEAD AUG/SEP 2012 MOTORING ROAD TEST any purpose. It's bigger and heavier, and not as dynamic. Underneath that flashy body is a taut suspension and, while the low speed ride on 18" wheels is fine, over rougher surfaces and higher speed things become less composed. The steering has lot of weight but not much feel, and the car appears less willing to turn in and change direction smartly. Monte Carlo beats Veloster off the line, holds the advantage to 60 km/h and is the equal at 80, But, from then on, not even turbocharging can make up for the 400 cc the Czech-built car gives away. That doesn't mean Fabia is not an IMAGES: SUZUKI SWIFT SPORT. ^PRICES ARE MANUFACTURERS' LIST PRICES AND DO NOT INCLUDE STATUTORY AND DELIVERY CHARGES. costs & ratings HYUNDAI SKODA SUZUKI VELOSTER + FABIA MONTE CARLO SWIFT SPORT Price^ $27,990 $21,990 $23,990 Environmental rating ANCAP safety rating Est. servicing costs 5 yrs/75,000 km $2141.23 $3065.17 $2851.69 Annual insurance costs^^ $626.42 $705.45 $590.28 ^^Based on an RACQ Insurance comprehensive policy for a 35 year-old male, maximum no claim bonus, vehicle financially unencumbered, and $500 excess. Postcode 4066, Multi policy and RACQ member loyalty discounts may apply. Discounts of 2.5-15 percent may be available to RACQ members, depending on length of membership. entertaining drive, though. There's a nice, light clutch action and throttle touch, and overall the car feels lithe and light on its feet. The steering is linear, though not as tactile as the Suzuki, and the Skoda turns in obediently and changes direction well. Ride quality on the smallest-sized wheels (16") is good, but grip levels -- particularly at the front -- are not as convincing as Swift Sport. Our standard smoothness and quietness testing produced a mixed bag, with the Suzuki quietest at idle, Hyundai best at steady 80 km/h and the Skoda troubling the noise meter the least under acceleration from 50-80 km/h. CONCLUSION If this were a beauty competition, Veloster would be the winner. No question. And, even being considerably dearer, it excels in value for its standard equipment. But -- and there is a but -- the driving experience doesn't live up to the 'sporty' styling. This could all change with the anticipated arrival in October of the 2013 Veloster Turbo with a 1.6-litre, turbocharged GDI four-cylinder engine which, in US spec, puts out 150 kW of power and 264 Nm of torque. Details of price and Australian specification won't be announced until launch, but less than $35,000 is the tip. Fabia is an honest offering and zippy city car, but has neither the Hyundai's looks and equipment levels nor the Swift's dynamics and all-round competence. But, since our test, Skoda has upped the ante and released the Fabia RS 132TSI (that's as in 132 kW of power and 250 Nm of torque) twin-charged hot hatch ($27,990) and wagon ($29,990), with a seven-speed DSG good for a claimed 0-100 km/h time of 7.3 seconds. So, while we have Swift Sport the worthy winner of our tri-test, these belated arrivals (along with Volkswagen's Polo GTi from $27,790) would be well worth a look if you're in the market for a hotter than warm hatch.
June July 2012