The Road Ahead : December 2012
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 54 THE ROAD AHEAD DEC 2012/JAN 2013 MOTORING AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS small under $35,000 hyundai i30 active small over $35,000 ford focus titanium HYUNDAI'S NEW GENERATION, Korean-built i30 sedan is a significantly-revised small car, with clear improvement in styling, cabin presentation, mechanical refinement, safety and practicality. Underneath, the new i30 boasts 5 kW more power and better fuel economy of nearly 10 percent, as well as a major revision of its ride and handling characteristics, including three driver-adjustable settings to alter weighting and feedback of the electric power steering. Standard equipment specification has also been boosted across the range, Hyundai taking the approach of three distinct, model-level packages with no options apart from metallic paint, rather than a bewildering list of add-ons that only seems to delay factory delivery times. All models get a full complement of safety equipment, including seven airbags, ABS, electronic stability control, parking sensors and tilt-adjustable head restraints. Safety is five star. Despite significant re-engineering, the i30 Active retains its strong value for money attributes, ranking amongst the best in class for pricing and retained value, while also providing a standout five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty and low running and repair costs. Behind the wheel, the new i30 feels more up-market. Like its predecessor, it is an easy car to drive and live with. MLP: $22,990. REVISED PRICING FOR the LW MkII Ford Focus range, just prior to Australia's Best Cars test week in October, ensured the Titanium scored top marks for price and depreciation. A healthy standard features list includes eight airbags plus advanced technologies not normally seen at this price point, such as a voice command system and auto park system. The latter can 'measure up' a suitable parking space and steer the car to perform a reverse park into it. The Titanium benefits from Ford's move to capped price servicing, which helps contain regular maintenance costs. However, this is offset somewhat by the car's 40-series tyres being expensive to replace. The Duratorq 2.0-litre turbo-diesel offers good fuel economy, though not quite as miserly as its rival for class title, the smaller engine capacity diesel Audi A3. But, Focus counters with superior performance. The Focus Titanium proved itself a car whose road manners are focused on pleasing more demanding drivers. Good brakes, composed ride and a well set up chassis are on offer. However, some of the best cars' judges noted the steering felt almost too sharp on initial application of lock from the centre position. Well-shaped seats, plus two-way lumbar adjustment for the driver, earned the Focus Titanium a class-best comfort score. MLP: $36,490. SCORES SCORES TOTAL: 838. 2nd: VW Golf 90TSI Trendline, 824. 3rd: Hyundai Elantra Active, 816. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 8C, Depreciation 9M, Running Costs 9M, Fuel consumption 7C, Warranty 9H, Insurance 6L, Standard features 5M. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 10C, Environment 7C, Comfort 8M, Space 8L, Practicality 6M, Ergonomics 8M, Build & finish 8H. ON THE ROAD: Performance 8M, Ride 8M, Handling 8M, Braking 8H, Smoothness & quietness 7L. TOTAL: 912. 2nd: BMW 1 Series 116i, 878. 3rd: Audi A3 TDI Attraction, 824. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 10H, Depreciation 10M, Running Costs 2M, Fuel consumption 9C, Warranty 5H, Insurance 6L, Standard features 10M. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 9C, Environment 7C, Comfort 9M, Space 7L, Practicality 7M, Ergonomics 8M, Build & finish 7H. ON THE ROAD: Performance 9H, Ride 8H, Handling 8H, Braking 8H, Smoothness & quietness 6L. LEVEL OF WEIGHTING IMPORTANCE FOR EACH SCORE: L = LOW, M = MEDIUM, H = HIGH, C = CRITICAL.