Take the di­rect route

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - WHICH CAR? -

THE QUES­TION

I’m con­sid­er­ing buy­ing a Kia Cer­ato. I would pre­fer the Si with the 2.0-litre mo­tor but deal­ers I’ve spo­ken to say it’s been dropped — as has the SLi. Ru­mours sug­gest a facelift is on the way, then a com­plete new model in 2017. What have you heard? I no­tice on the web that South Africa has just had a facelift with a 1.6 and 2.0-litre. I’d like to buy soon — should I jump just yet or wait a lit­tle? David Keates

Hold your horses. A new-look Cer­ato will be in deal­ers by the end of the month. It’s only a facelift but im­por­tantly for you it’s un­likely to have the di­rect in­jec­tion en­gine that you want. We hear it will make way for a less pow­er­ful old-school 2.0litre with multi-point in­jec­tion and bet­ter fuel econ­omy. It’s al­ways a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion whether to wait or jump when a new model is on the way. You need to weigh up the sharp runout deal on the cur­rent model against the ben­e­fits that come with a new model. Here are the cur­rent al­ter­na­tives. Kia Cer­ato 2.0 Si Auto, from $28,990 This car has come of age. The runout S is a steal at just $19,990 drive-away, with an auto and $1000 gift card. But the Si has the en­gine you want — the pow­er­ful 129kW di­rect in­jec­tion unit. The only ques­tion is whether it’s worth the ex­tra $9000. Si adds leather, 16-inch al­loys and sat­nav. It’s sur­pris­ingly sporty and has six airbags, rear-view cam­era and front and rear park­ing sen­sors. Fuel use is 7.5L/100km and it will cost you $982 to ser­vice over three years.

Mazda3 2.0 Tour­ing Auto, from $26,790 Tour­ing is the value model with a 114kW 2.0-litre en­gine and six-speed auto. Looks a mil­lion bucks, goes ex­tremely well and uses hardly any fuel. Five-star safety with six airbags, rear-view cam­era and rear sen­sors. It’s more eco­nom­i­cal than the Cer­ato, us­ing just 5.8L/100km, while ser­vices cost $918 over three years. Hyundai i30 2.0 SR Auto, from $27,890 One of the top sellers in the seg­ment and de­servedly so. With a six-speed auto and gets the same 2.0-litre di­rect in­jec­tion en­gine as Cer­ato but tuned to 124kW. Im­pres­sive allround pack­age, with ex­cel­lent per­for­mance and su­pe­rior ride and han­dling. Five-star safety with seven airbags, rear view cam­era and rear park­ing sen­sors. It is slightly thirstier, us­ing 7.7L/100km but ser­vic­ing is $747 over three years.

WILD­CARD

VW Golf 1.4T Auto Com­fort­line, $27,990 A 1.4-litre en­gine putting out 92kW sounds a bit pedes­trian but trust us it goes. Uses hardly any fuel too, if that’s a con­sid­er­a­tion. The price in­cludes a seven-speed DSG auto. The Golf sets the bench­mark for ride and han­dling but the brand car­ries some bag­gage on re­li­a­bil­ity and the emis­sions scan­dal. Five-star safety with seven airbags, rear-view cam­era and front and rear park­ing sen­sors. Fuel use is an im­pres­sive 5.4L/100km but ser­vic­ing is more ex­pen­sive at $1052 over three years.

VER­DICT

For mine the i30 is the stand­out. Good war­ranty, sim­i­lar per­for­mance from the di­rect­in­jec­tion en­gine, cheap to ser­vice and the in­te­rior de­sign and fin­ish is bet­ter than Cer­ato.

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