The Road Ahead : December 2012
QUEENSLAND'S LARGEST CLUB 53 DEC 2012/JAN 2013 THE ROAD AHEAD AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS MOTORING light under $20,000 kia rio si light over $20,000 vw polo 66 tdi comfortline THE KIA RIO has grabbed a convincing win for the second year in a row in the entry-level segment of the market, where everyone wants a bargain. The volume-selling Kia Rio Si has five doors with plenty of interior space, a free-revving, willing and efficient 1.6-litre petrol engine and a crisp, six-speed manual transmission. The Rio leads the category in overall design and function. Inside, the cockpit 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 hatchback 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 the cabin. The Rio's on-road performance, handling, ride and braking is close to best in class, really only slightly outshone by the VW Polo. Importantly, the Rio has most certainly benefited from a concerted effort to tune and recalibrate the suspension and damping to suit local conditions and roads. Safety is five star -- as good as it gets. All in all, it adds up to an extremely fun daily drive that doesn't break the budget. Manufacturer's List Price (MLP): $18,990. IT IS NOW three wins in a row for the Volkswagen Polo 66TDI Comfortline, which this year received a price drop, making it an even more attractive buy. The Polo 66TDi punches above its weight in many all- important Australia's Best Cars criteria, such as safety, cost of depreciation and fuel consumption where, for 2012, it received a series of 10 out of 10. Indeed, so good is the Comfortline, that it would give many cars in the next class up -- Small Cars Under $35,000 -- a run. Driving the Polo 66TDI Comfortline is a 1.6-litre, turbocharged diesel engine, delivering 66 kW of power and 230 Nm of torque, matched with a slick-shifting, five-speed manual transmission. When you need to overtake another vehicle, the engine spins up sweetly without becoming breathless and noisy, making it no slouch out on the open road. Such performance doesn't come at a cost at the bowser, with the Polo 66TDI boasting a frugal, combined fuel consumption figure of just 4.7 litres/100 km. It has a nicely-sorted chassis, and on winding sections of road, the Polo is nimble and fleet-footed, thanks in part to well-weighted, precise steering and taut springs and dampers. MLP: $21,490. SCORES SCORES TOTAL: 856. 2nd: Hyundai Accent Active, 838. 3rd: VW Polo 77 TSI Comfortline, 806. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 2C, Depreciation 4M, Running Costs 7M, Fuel consumption 9C, Warranty 8H, Insurance 5L, Standard features 8H. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 10C, Environment 10C, Comfort 9M, Space 8L, Practicality 8M, Ergonomics 9M, Build & finish 9H. ON THE ROAD: Performance 8M, Ride 7M, Handling 8M, Braking 8H, Smoothness & quietness 8L. TOTAL: 968. 2nd: Ford Fiesta LX dsl, 894. 3rd: Peugeot 208 Allure, 892. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 9H, Depreciation 10M, Running Costs 8M, Fuel consumption 10C, Warranty 4H, Insurance 6L, 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 WEIGHTING IMPORTANCE FOR EACH SCORE: L = LOW, M = MEDIUM, H = HIGH, C = CRITICAL.