Wind up to full noise

Herald Sun - Cars Guide - - SHORT CUT - CHRIS RI­LEY CUTS TO THE CHASE

VALUE

There’s just the one fully loaded model, priced from $28,990 with a six-speed man­ual (sev­en­speed twin-clutch auto adds $2300). It shares the Veloster Turbo driv­e­line but it has a more ad­vanced chas­sis. In­cludes a full body kit, 17-inch al­loys, sports bucket seats, red­stitched leather trim and power sun­roof. Ap­ple CarPlay and Android Auto are stan­dard but sat­nav is sur­pris­ingly ab­sent (sup­ply prob­lems we’re told). Ser­vice to­tals $1475 for five years/50,000km.

COM­FORT

The driv­ing po­si­tion is super com­fort­able, with sports seats that fit larger frames. There’s plenty of leg and head­room in front but rear legroom is tight. The gen­er­ous boot holds a full­size al­loy spare and seat backs flip forward for larger loads. The cabin is gen­er­ally quiet but tyre noise es­ca­lates rapidly on coarse chip. Con­trols are well laid out, in­tu­itive and easy to use, and speedo is dig­i­tal.

SAFETY

Five stars for safety, with a score of 35.01/37 from AN­CAP. There are six airbags, re­vers­ing cam­era with guides that fol­low the steer­ing, plus front and rear dis­tance sen­sors. Ad­vanced safety fea­tures in­clude blind spot warn­ing, lane change as­sist and rear cross traf­fic alert but it lacks auto emer­gency brak­ing.

DRIV­ING

The front-driver goes hard, driv­ing is fun and the man­ual is easy to use. The SR picks up where Kia’s turbo twins, the dis­con­tin­ued Koup and Pro­ceed GT, left off, though en­hanced turbo set-up de­liv­ers bet­ter throt­tle re­sponse. The new plat­form brings in­de­pen­dent rear sus­pen­sion, with larger ven­ti­lated front discs and a quicker steer­ing rack. It’s a work of love, with strong per­for­mance, bet­ter turn-in to cor­ners and greater mid-cor­ner grip.

AL­TER­NA­TIVES Veloster 1.6 SR Turbo, from $30,650

The funky hatch shares the Elantra’s driv­e­line but ef­fec­tively is a gen­er­a­tion behind, with its less so­phis­ti­cated rear sus­pen­sion. Claimed thirst is 6.9L/100km. War­ranty is five years/ unlimited kilo­me­tres. Ser­vice to­tals $1095 for three years/ 45,000km.

Toy­ota 86 GT, from $30,790

The good-look­ing 86 and Subaru BRZ sib­ling have struck a pow­er­ful chord. Out­puts are on par (152kW/212Nm) but the twins lack low-down torque and can’t match the SR in a straight line. Toy­ota claims 8.4L/100km and gives three-year/ 100,000km war­ranty. Ser­vic­ing costs $720 for three years/ 60,000km.

VER­DICT

En­gag­ing and re­ward­ing with ex­cel­lent dy­nam­ics. The best per­former yet from the up­wardly mo­bile Korean brand.

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