Top of the lad­der

The Advertiser - Motoring - - COVER STORY - RICHARD BLACK­BURN CARS­GUIDE EDITOR POP­U­LAR­ITY is of­ten scorned. Just look at McDon­ald’s, One y q hatch­back the g y y gg y p p y still the main gameg in To bet­ter un­der­stand at­trac­tion, p g y y pp drive- away y deal. widespreadp ac­claim last yeary g There

Di­rec­tion and My Kitchen Rules. Purists ar­gue that big­gest doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean best.

In the car in­dus­try pop­u­lar­ity equals suc­cess. SUVs may be theth latest craze but the hum­ble

is the new car mar­ket. Last month,month,

coun­try’s three top-psellingg cars were small hatches.

the we pit­ted en­dur­ing favourites the Toy­ota Corolla and Mazda3 against the Hyundai i30, which last month top­pled bothbot in the sales race thanks to an un­beat­able A new Mazda3 was launched to

but the Corolla and i30 have had up­grades in re­cent months. sold on price alone. That all changed with the i30, the first Hyundai thatthat was a de­cent drive, well put to­gether and ca­pa­ble of selling on sub­stance alone. For the

there was a five-yeary war­ranty. But it still sells best when there’ss un­beat­able deal on the ta­ble. Last month it was $19,990 drive- away with for the cheap­est model. This month, it’s $21,990 for

X adds leather, al­loy ggood­ies. That’s roughly $6000 off.

The April up­date added a big­ger screen, re­tuned sus­pen­sion and stan­dard re­vers­ing cam­era across the range. Styling tweaks brought the front end look into line with

In­side, the i30 is show­ing its age. The cen­tre screen is smaller than the other two here and the

doesn’t still easy to use and well laid-out — and now con­nects to the Pan­dora piz­zazz. there’sthere’s ev­i­dence of cost-cut­ting in the rear, with no mid­dle arm­rest and plas­tic­pla in­stead of cloth seat backs.

the road, it’s

the is the nois­i­est un­der hard ac­cel­er­a­tion and the

The for lo­cal con­di­tions, is pretty well sorted, feels com­fort­able and

but doesn’t as sporty as the oth­ers through the corners. The nose will push wide

and the steer­ing

isn’t the cheap­est. At $1900 more than the Neo, the Maxx is the pun­ters’ pick. Un­like the Neo,Neo, it gets a stan­dard re­vers­ingg cam­era, and a $1500 safety pack in­cludes blind

mon­i­tor­ing, rear cross traf­fic alert and auto brak­ing.

Other good­ies in­clude sat­nav, fog lamps, seven-inch screen and in­ter­net ra­dio apps. To seal the

and hand­brake han­dle

leather­wrapped. It’s easy to see how buy­ers get talked up to a Maxx. The cabin is the most­most at­trac­tive the three — in the front.

day. The Corolla and i30 get padded arm­rests, the Mazda’s are hard plas­tic. It also gegets on­lyy one seat back pocket.

The Mazda’s en­gine wins back points — it’sit’s more­more so­phis­ti­cated, more pow­er­ful, qui­eter and more eco­nom­i­cal, thanks to stop-start tech­nol­ogy that shuts down the en­gine at lights. The push-but­ton

on the dash makes the car feel more mod­ern too. the road, the Mazda is the although the mar­gin of vic­tory is much tighter than it once was. It feels the most re­laxed on

free­way, roads it de­liv­ers a firm, con­trolledco but

is lighter and, whilee the feel of the Corolla, is still pre­cise. The Mazda sits flat

corners and isn’t up­set quick changes of di­rec­tion. It’s also qui­eter than pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions, although the tyres still roar­roa on coarser road sur­faces.

through Toy­ota head of­fice and you’ll come across ththe term Kaizen, or con­tin­u­ous

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