New ford focus Vs Hyundai I30 on fifth gear
Rabu, 24 Agustus 2011
One of the interesting things about a fashionable looking car is that it makes you want to drive it. And the opposite can be said for ugly cars too. Thankfully Hyundai has crafted what is arguably its best looking small car to date, and it feels well built when you ease yourself in, the doors shutting with a satisfying thud.It's got all the safety and comfort features you'd expect of an imported European car, with airbags, ESP, CD stereo, climate control, USB jack and more, only without the $30k+ price tag. You can read more about these features further down in the Interior explanation.The SR model Hyundai i30 we are testing here is the sporty range-topper, the variant that got protein power a gym membership, yet is powered by the same 2.0-litre petrol engine as the other cars in the range. This bodes well for the entire i30 range because the driveline is uniformly smooth.Though the engine is no technological trend-setter, it is smooth and flexible and I as inadvertently found out it'll spin the front wheels without too much provocation. Our model was fitted with a 5-speed manual which gives the car an impressive turn of speed and the driver plenty of control.I must say I stalled it a couple of times to begin with, but this is no reflection of the gearbox or the clutch, which are both accomplished devices (I'd just dropped off a Holden V8 ute with a very different clutch feel). Indeed, the gearbox is a very smooth shifter - there's nary a notch to be felt as you guide the lever from first through fifth gear, and it allows for quick shifts too.With 105kW of power at six grand, and an eagerness to rev even higher and without getting raspy, the 4-cylinder petrol engine is finally able to match it's rivals head on. The Corolla, Focus, and it's other rivals no longer have the refinement or poweradvantage they once had over Hyundai.The car's improved powertrain allows it to easily navigate its way through the heaving peak hour crush, while the rear view mirror and the side mirrors provide good levels of rearward vision. The seating position is generally pretty good and combined with a tidy 4.24 metre length and a 1.77m width and short overhangs (not to mention responsive steering),parking it is not at all scary.Out on the highway the Hyundai i30 will trundle along nicely, the engine speed sitting on 2600rpm in 5th gear at 100km/h, which is quite economical. We handed the keys back to Hyundai with a final reading of 7.6L/100km, after covering 396km. We didn't even use a full tank of fuel, and the trip computer claimed we still had 180km of fuel left. Not bad that, for a 53 litre tank.The small car responds well to steering input, with a precise steering feel that isn't too light. A lot of new cars these days feel over assisted and the steering is much too light in my opinion. This can lead to reduced steering feedback and disconnects you from the road somewhat.There's a bit of weight and resistance to the steering which is refreshing in a small car which provides for a more rewarding driving experience when you find a good stretch of winding road. The heavier steering can be attributed to the MDPS (Motor Driven Power Steering), which is different to traditional hydraulic power steering units, yet is still engine and road speed-sensitive.There's no vagueness in the steering feel that used to be a Hyundai hallmark, and there's also audio and cruise control buttons on the steering wheel which are nice touches.The Hyundai i30 SR is the model most suited to enthusiastic driving because it's fitted with large 17-inch alloy wheels shod with wide 225/45 aspect ratio tyres. It maintains good traction as a result of the tyres, and the suspension system (MacPherson front struts and an independent 'Torsion Blade' multi-link rear) helps keeps body roll to a relative minimum, allowing you to concentrate on tracking through corners.I did notice a bit of jounce when riding over mid-corner bumps and potholes, but it's not terminal and is probably accentuated by the car's light weight rather than its suspension. It'll understeer if pushed hard, but has a fairly neutral feel through all but the tightest corners. On straight roads and during everyday driving the ride is smooth for the most part too. I don't think it's chassis is quite as accomplished as the Ford Focus, but it's up there with the new Mitsubishi Lancer for dynamics and can belt through corners relatively quickly when you keep the engine singing above 5000rpm.The anchors are fairly touchy but this is no bad thing; touchy brakes are better than soggy ones. There's good feel through the brake pedal when you need to mash it hard as the fool in front of you decides to take a physically demanding phone call in an 80km/h zone (I yelled and possibly swore at him to pull over and he just grimaced at me - clearly I was overreacting to a potentially fatal collision).Stopping power is considerable too, and this is helped by a fairly low kerb weight of just over 1360kg, and nicely sized disc brakes: 280mm fronts, 262mm rears.Overall, I reckon that Hyundai's jazzy new i30 is a very cool customer, a clean operating machine. There's a real sense of effortlessness about driving it, but you don't feel detached either. The gear changes are light and seamless, the steering is well weighted and reactive to road speed, and with ample of poke from the engine the car motivates well.There's nothing inherently wrong with the way the car drives and though it doesn't have as much character as some of its rivals, it's a huge improvement on Hyundais of yore.