Taking on the brand snobs.
Opting for the strongest value equation is a fairly easy choice when it comes to more dispensable, every day goods, but when it comes to a car, don’t we love something a little bit special?
While the Hyundai Getz is hardly synonymous with ‘luxury’ or ‘special’, it lures enough buyers to capture 17.4% of the light car market share (just 0.1% less than the top selling Toyota Yaris), with July year to date sales of 11,673 vehicles. The Getz should not to be ignored.
Housing a 1.6-litre, four cylinder engine, the Getz SX is no slouch on power within its segment. Producing 78kW at 5800rpm and a maximum torque of 144Nm at 3200rpm, the performance of the Getz is a nice match for its light body. Mated to a five-speed manual gearbox (also available in a four-speed auto), it shows a perky eagerness to perform and delivers a reasonable level of power through all five gears.
On a road performance is pleasing, although the suspension is slightly rowdy on uneven surfaces – and yet the suspension was quick to diffuse the after-shock of vicious speed humps. There is also a fair amount of body roll to be felt through tight cornering – but for every day run-about duties, the Getz is a solid performer.
The claimed fuel efficiency figure of 6.2L/100km, plus combined cycle CO2 emissions of 148g per 100 kilometres gains the Getz SX a 3.5-star rating from the Green Vehicle Guide.
Light cars should equal easy manoeuvrability, but the heavy steering of the Getz kills any hopes of a nimble and agile performance. Even at slow speeds, tackling every day driving duties, the Getz is an effort to steer. This also makes parking a chore.
While the Getz puts up a good show in so many areas - perky engine, nice gear ratios and an eagerness to perform - it comes close to its limits in terms of power and overall dynamics when put to the test on up hill acceleration and high speed cornering, and as we've already said, its heavy steering is a complete turn off.
Driver visibility is very good, with good vision through all windows and the cars boundaries are easy to judge.
On paper, the Getz shapes up well, but the execution of the interior fit out is not cohesive. Flat sections of plastic and uninspired efforts sum up the interior design. It’s dated and lacks flash, leaving you with a definite budget feel.
Overall ergonomics are average. The cabin is a bit pokey and offers minimal adjustability for the driver, including no reach adjust on the steering wheel, which makes it difficult to achieve that perfect, comfortable seating position, which in turn makes longer trips in the Getz not so great. It also involves a tedious amount of fiddling around to regain comfort after someone else has been in the driver’s seat.
Instrumentation, knobs, dials and ventilation outlets are all very basic in look and feel.
While the Getz does offer 60:40 split fold seats, its clunky split-fold system is heavy and awkward to engage, requiring several steps to complete. It does however reveal a nice flat load space in return for your efforts, proably why it sees service in many delivery applications.
The Getz shines when it comes to its audio fit out. The six-speaker stereo, MP3/WMA/CD, can be remotely accessed via controls mounted on the leather-wrap steering wheel. Add to this, Bluetooth phone connectivity and media streaming, USB and auxiliary ports, and the Getz SX scores full points.
Revealing good sound insulation, on a recent light car comparison, in cabin decibel readings see the Getz emerge the winner for least noise intrusion at 72.5dBA (the highest reading was 77.0dBA). Crank up the stereo system and you can barely hear the wind noise at freeway speeds.
Second row passengers are blessed with large-base, comfortable seats and good visibility, but the centre seatbelt rudely protrudes from the side, to roof, to centre passenger in a fairly ad-hoc manner, as if it was an afterthought. The additional lock-in point required for this set up means there’s also another belt receptacle poking you in the backside.
The Getz has safety well covered, achieving a four-star ANCAP rating, and safety features include: electronic stability control; traction control; anti-skid braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution and driver and passenger active head rests. Driver and front passenger side airbags are an option.
View the Getz in isolation from its peers, and it presents as a cute and tidy little package; inoffensive and unassuming. Line the Getz up against its competitors and design standards appear worlds apart. The lacklustre looks of Getz flow inside and out, leaving an otherwise good performer with less than its fair share of attention.
Priced from $13,990 for the base model (we tested the SX priced at $16,340), the Getz is one of the cheapest cars in its segment, to be matched only by the Toyota Yaris, which has an identical entry price for its base model.
With strong competition challenging its price advantage, just a few thousand dollars separate a range of light cars, the Getz leaves itself open to considerable scrutiny and spec for spec analysis.
When you consider the competition - Fiesta, Mazda2, Yaris, Swift – its basic design and cabin ambience (or lack thereof) leaves you questioning its true value. However, upon closer investigation of the Getz package, you may find yourself at a happy compromise. Unless of course aesthetic appeal is your top priority.
It seems like a complicated scenario involving many variables, but the sales figures suggest that in many instances, the Hyundai Getz prevails.
With 11,673 new car buyers likely to concur, the Getz should make it onto your short-list. It’s not like you have to tell anyone, unless of course, you plan to follow the trend and buy one. After all, being ‘on trend’ can be special in itself.
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