A cy­cle of siz­ing up

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - WHICH CAR? - CRAIG DUFF KICKS THE TYRES FOR A READER

I’m con­sid­er­ing a Kia Cer­ato or Hyundai i30, mainly to carry a moun­tain bike over short dis­tances. Which do you rec­om­mend? Glen Camp­bell, email Most small hatches will carry a moun­tain bike with the rear seats down and the bike’s front wheel re­moved. De­pend­ing on the size of your bike it may be a snug fit and you’re lim­ited in only be­ing able to have one other per­son in the car. I’d adopt the try-be­foreyou-buy ap­proach and take the bike (and a blan­ket) to the deal­er­ship to see how the di­men­sions line up. If you plan to take more bod­ies, or bikes, then a roof rack or bike post is the ob­vi­ous so­lu­tion and you won’t lose rid­ing time while reat­tach­ing the wheel. The down­side is oth­ers have sim­i­lar ac­cess to your bike if it’s parked in pub­lic.

CHOICES

Hyundai i30, from $21,990 drive-away The cur­rent car is firmly in runout mode (the new model is due this month) and there are good deals to be had. The base i30 Ac­tive comes with a six-speed au­to­matic and a $1000 gift card. A sportier SR vari­ant (it has in­de­pen­dent rear sus­pen­sion in place of the Ac­tive’s tor­sion beam) can be driven off the lot for $26,990 in man­ual guise. Both have a seven-inch touch­screen with Ap­ple CarPlay con­nec­tiv­ity. The SR adds the con­ve­nience of auto lights and wipers, sat­nav, dual-zone air­con and key­less en­try/start, along with a more pow­er­ful en­gine and al­loy wheels. Kia Cer­ato S Pre­mium, $21,990 drive-away That is the price this month for the mid-spec Cer­ato hatch, which edges the Hyundai on value with a seven-inch screen with Ap­ple/An­droid mir­ror­ing and sat­nav, plus a seven-year war­ranty to Hyundai’s five. That’s a hard act to match, par­tic­u­larly as the Kia’s 2.0-litre en­gine has more power than the i30 Ac­tive and claims to use 0.1 litre/100km less fuel. The Si ver­sion, leav­ing salesrooms for $28,990, is nearly as com­pelling. It sticks with tor­sion beam rear sus­pen­sion but adds ba­sic ac­tive safety items such as lane de­par­ture and blind-spot warn­ings, plus rear cross-traf­fic alert. Subaru Im­preza hatch, about $25,000 drive-away De­pend­ing on just how ad­ven­tur­ous you are in seek­ing the trails less trav­elled, the Im­preza’s all-wheel drive could be handy for get­ting you and your MTB to the start of the ac­tion. Note that you’ll pay for the priv­i­lege com­pared to the South Korean duo. A list price of $22,600 will equate to about $25,000 drive-away for a base Im­preza with a con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion. Equip­ment on the en­try ver­sion is fru­gal but in­cludes a 6.5-inch touch­screen with Ap­ple/An­droid mir­ror­ing, tinted rear win­dows and al­loy rims.

WILDCARD

Skoda Oc­tavia wagon, $26,190 drive-away Skoda packs a lot into its Oc­tavia Am­bi­tion for the price and it’s now backed by a fiveyear war­ranty. City-speed au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing and adap­tive cruise con­trol are the no­table ad­di­tions com­pared to its ri­vals here but it is the sheer size of the Skoda that makes it stand out. Its 1.4-litre turbo gives the Oc­tavia an edge in fuel use, claim­ing 5.2L/100km against low sevens for the South Kore­ans and 6.6L for the Subaru.

VER­DICT

The call prob­a­bly comes down to how much room you have to park the car at home and how price sen­si­tive you are. The Skoda is a lot of car for the money and will have no prob­lems ac­com­mo­dat­ing the moun­tain bike but be­ing larger it isn’t as easy to ma­noeu­vre in tight spa­ces. The Cer­ato stands out as cheap­est op­tion with de­cent fea­tures and the money you save will go a long way to­wards buy­ing a shiny new bike to fit in­side. Of course, you could also wait un­til the end of the month to see how Hyundai prices its new i30.

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