A cycle of sizing up
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.
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.
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.
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.