Test venue: Barcelona, Spain
Hyundai Motor Europe GmbH chose the bustling Catalan city of Barcelona to officially launch the face-lifted version of the Getz, which went on sale in UK dealer showrooms on October 1st. The original version was first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 2002 and has gone on to become the Korean manufacturer's biggest selling model.
Hyundai is going through a resurgence in recent months. According to Ike Oh, President of Hyundai Motor Europe GmbH, the company is now the sixth largest manufacturer in the world and is on track to sell 2.5 million cars in 2005. That marks a 170% increase in sales in the last 10 years, although there is room for improvement in Europe where Hyundai has still cornered a mere 2.3% of the new car market.
The introduction of the Getz was an excellent management decision by
Hyundai and it is now one of the most competively-priced of the B-segment super minis. The face-lift model has a new styling package, ESP for the first time but, more importantly, several new engine options. The car was designed and developed by Hyundai in conjunction with the company's R&D centre at Russelsheim in Germany.
An ideal way to test the general road behaviour of the new cars is to
utilise a varied route along spanish motorways and through the rural
vineyard regions of Cava and Pinedas, near Barcelona. I managed to drive both the new 1.4-litre, petrol-engined model with an automatic transmission and the much-vaunted new 1.5-litre diesel unit with a five-speed manual transmission.
Both models are comfortable to drive and the seating position is excellent. Interior noise is kept to a minimum and the ride and gear change feel quite refined for such a small car. The petrol engine is potent enough to allow for swift overtaking and the four-speed automatic transmission option comes into its own in built-up areas and in traffic jams.
But the diesel model is a totally different ball game. Where the automatic petrol version is a little sluggish on hairpins, steep inclines and sinuous roads, the diesel offers excellent performance and staggering torque for such a small engine. I would prefer to see an automatic version of the diesel available, but progress was swift, precise and comfortable and fuel consumption was in the high forties per gallon, despite the mountaineous nature of some of the test route.
The new turbocharged, four-cylinder diesel engine is available with either 87 or 109 bhp and Hyundai claims that fuel consumption around 60 mpg is possible in certain driving conditions. The diesel will reach the speed limit in around 11 seconds and has impressive torque throughout the rev range. It replaces the older three-cylinder option. All cars are available in three or five-door trim and offer excellent storage capacity if the excellent flat-folded rear seats are used.
Senior management chose the stunning backdrop of the 12th Century Sant
Marcal Castle, near Barcelona, to educate members of the media on the
traits of the new Getz. According to Product Manager Rafael Agullo, ~the new car is available with ESP, three new engine derivatives and a more sporty styling~. The Getz in the UK is now offered with the 1.4 or 1.6 petrol engines, the all-new 109 bhp, 1.5 diesel engine and the smaller and revised 64 bhp, 1.1-litre engine.
The increase in performance of the punchy diesel version is likely to
attract a potentially younger target audience, although Hyundai management admits that the 'blue rinse brigade' still makes up a large proportion of UK-based customers, where the Getz has carried on the mantle of the Mini Metro, Daihatsu Charade and the early Nissan Micra with the older driving fraternity.
Prices for the new range start at 7,495 GBP for the 1.2-litre, rising to 10,095 GBP for the most expensive 1.4-litre CDX auto. These models are available with Hyundai's impressive three-year, free servicing programme and a fully-transferable, five-year, unlimited mileage warranty. Air conditioning is fitted as standard to all models, while ESP is not available on the 1.1-litre model. The impressive 1.5 CR TD CDX would be my choice and that could be yours for only 9,995 GBP.
Imagine owning the car for three years, having it serviced free of charge by your local dealer and then selling it on to someone, safe in the knowledge that the new owner would be covered for a further two years by an unlimited mileage warranty.
Impressive to say the least.....
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