The Centralian Advocate Fri 28 May 2021
Centralian Advocate; NewspaperNT
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Alice Springs; Tennant Creek (N.T.) -- Newspapers; Alice Springs (N.T.) -- Newspapers; Australia, Central -- Newspapers
News Corp Australia
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News Corp Australia
HYUNDAI I30 N-LINE PREMIUM Hyundais i30 N-Line is priced from about $40,000 drive-away and brings a swag of goodies including heated and ventilated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and wireless phone charging. Sporty touches include red stitching on the dash, seats and seatbelts. The attention to detail and material quality in the cabin isnt up to the standard set by its rivals, though. A 10.25-inch touchscreen is the biggest in this test but looks bolted on rather than integrated into the design of the dash. The digital driver display isnt as big and impressive as the Skodas either. Entertainment is taken care of with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, digital radio and a seven-speaker stereo. Safety gear includes auto emergency breaking, lane-keep assist and radar cruise, but theres no rear cross-traffic alert or blind-spot detection. Back seat passengers have two rear air vents but no USB plugs. Space is above average for this class, as is its 395L boot capacity. Its 1.6-litre turbo engine is a potent unit, making 150kW and 265Nm, which almost elevates it to hot-hatch status. A slick-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch auto adds to the performance edge. Loads of grunt available low in the rev range means brisk acceleration off the mark and leisurely cruising on the highway. Stiff suspension and excellent Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres give the N-Line outstanding grip through corners, making it the most engaging drive in this group. Heavy, unevenly weighted steering dulls the driving experience somewhat, though. The i30 is the heaviest here, weighing roughly 100kg more than the Skoda, and that results in an above-average thirst of 7.1L/100km. It wins some points back for only needing regular unleaded. Servicing is also cheap at $1495 over five years. MAZDA3 ASTINA Mazdas svelte 3 hatch in G25 Astina trim is the most expensive here at about $42,300 driveaway. For the extra spend, theres a classy cabin with plush leather and glossy, high-quality finishes throughout. Heated front seats are firm but supportive and it is the only one here with a heated steering wheel. The long and thin 8.8-inch display looks a little dated by modern standards, where size matters. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard but theres no wireless phone charging, which is a disappointment at this price level. Safety is comprehensive, surpassing the Skoda by adding auto braking in reverse, a 360degree camera and a head-up display that displays blind-spot warnings and the prevailing speed limit. Rear-seat space is compromised by the svelte silhouette of the Mazda. The high, narrow rear windows could make kids feel claustrophobic, while head and leg room is tight. Boot space is pretty stingy, too, at just 295 litres. There are two rear air vents but no power outlets. Continued next page SUVs have replaced hatchbacks as thedefault purchase for Aussie carshoppers, but that doesnt meantheyre better value for money. Savvybuyers willing to swim against the tide and buy a hatch will be rewarded with a superior driving experience and more goodies for their spend. Skodas all-new Scala is a great example. Its keenly priced, well equipped and fun to drive. Weve put it to the test against the perennially popular Mazda3 and Hyundai i30. SKODA SCALA LAUNCH EDITION Skodas range-topping Scala Launch Edition is sharply priced at just $36,990 drive-away. The list of standard equipment includes luxury items such as heated front and rear leather and suede seats, a premium sound system and a sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel. Build quality is top notch with high quality materials throughout and a hi-tech look, thanks to a large centre touchscreen paired with an even larger digital display in front of the driver. Wireless charging complements cordless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. All safety bases are covered with auto emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-keeping assistance among other items. Rear seat passengers are pampered with two rear vents and a pair of USB-C power-points. Rear head and legroom are class leading, comfortably accommodating a tall adult. A 467L boot is bigger than most similarly priced SUVs and the Skoda is the only one here with an auto tailgate. Power comes from a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine making 110kW and 250Nm, paired to a seven speed dual-clutch auto. While its down on power in this company, the Skoda doesnt lag behind in the performance stakes thanks to a wealth of lowdown torque and the quick-shifting auto. Well sorted suspension and direct, light steering make tackling country back roads a delight. Skoda claims the Scala drinks just 5.5L/100km, but it requires pricier premium unleaded. The Scala matches the others here with a five-year/unlimited km warranty. Servicing is expensive at $2447 over five years, but if you prepay it comes down to $1400. If youre not wedded to the idea of an SUV, youll find these three small cars a refreshing break from the mundane DOM TRIPOLONE ESCAPE HATCHES