The compact hatch segment has changed rapidly in
the last few years but there’s one thing that has remained constant. Since we
first sampled the Hyundai Getz in early 2003 (New Car Test - Hyundai Getz),
its strengths – excellent packaging, impressive features and low price – remain
Inevitably, three and a half years after its
Australian release, the Getz no longer has the feel of a completely fresh
design. Some of the styling (despite a recent facelift) looks like last year and
there are obvious add-ons that are part of ongoing updates. No, it’s not
perfect but from AUD$13,490 for the three-door 1.4-litre manual (as tested), it’s
a very competitive package. Just look at some of the latest sales figures.
The base Getz three-door comes powered by an
‘Alpha’ 1.4-litre DOHC four which offers pretty decent outputs (a 1.6-litre
engine is available at extra cost). Its 70kW at 6000 rpm and 126Nm at 3200 rpm
outdo the base Toyota Yaris and compare closely with other rivals. But it’s
hardly a hot hatch. In city traffic, the Getz needs to be rowed through the
gears to keep pace with other cars. Fortunately, the little 1.4-litre is revvy
delight and the short ratio five-speed gearbox is a sweetie. Fuel consumption is
impressive even when driven quite hard – we recorded an average of 8.6-litres
per 100km in mainly city/urban conditions. Hyundai claims 6.1-litres per 100km
in ADR 81/01 testing.
Ride quality is good even over some of Australia’s
worst urban roads, although the rear damping is slightly too soft (the rear
sometimes bounces after tackling large bumps). We believe the calibration of the
MacPherson front struts and ‘semi-independent’ torsion bar rear suspension has
recently been revised. The handling of this 1105kg hatch is predictable and safe
with a mild amount of understeer - there are no problems with torque-steer or
axle tramping. The brakes also performed fine during our test, but you’ll find
cut-price drums at the rear and no ABS. These are available in more up-spec
The Getz is a car that’s very easy to step into
for the first time and feel at home. The controls are well laid out, the
clutch/gear shift is light and the power-assisted steering is direct without
being nervous. Our only gripes are the overly firm lumbar support and the short legs/long arm driving position – the steering wheel is not
adjustable for reach.
This is a well packaged little car with plenty of
space for front and rear passengers. The generous foot space in the rear means
you can sit without having your knees up near your ears and there are no
problems in terms of headroom – it's ample for people up to around 185cm tall.
Hyundai provides adjustable head restraints and retractable seatbelts for five
occupants but, really, you’ll struggle to fit in more than four people. The
retractable lap-sash centre rear belt (which hangs from the ceiling) is also
Interestingly, the Getz gives decent rear occupant
space without eating excessively into cargo space. With the rear seats in their
upright position, there’s a useable amount of space but the Getz can transform
into an impressive load carrier when the 60/40 split rear seat is folded. The
backrests fold forward and the lower cushion tumbles against the back of the
front seats. Recent changes mean there’s no need to remove any of the head
restraints, but folding the rear seat is still quite an awkward and heavy operation.
The child restraint anchorages are also fixed to the trailing edge of the cargo
area, which can cause problems when the cargo area is filled.
Despite its entry-level status, the Getz 1.4-litre
three-door doesn’t feel like its interior has been stripped. The MP3 compatible
CD/tuner sound system offers sound quality f-a-r better than you’d expect in its
class, there’s front power windows, a leather steering wheel with audio
controls, tachometer, dual airbags, remote central locking/security and standard
air conditioning. The trim materials are quite tasteful, there are plenty of
storage facilities and the flush-closing ventilation outlets are a neat touch.
Unfortunately, the dashboard looks very staid and dated.
Speaking of looking dated, the Getz now appears
long in the tooth when parked next to a new Swift or Yaris. But it is
inoffensive. The body has received a recent update (comprising new
nose, bumpers, taillights and wheel trims) and the three-door comes with
standard 14 inch steel wheels.
Given its AUD$13,490 RRP, the entry-level Hyundai
Getz is reasonably well built, however our test car had leather peeling from the
steering wheel and a slight gearbox noise when cruising at 70 km/h in top gear.
But you can take confidence in Hyundai’s special five year/unlimited kilometre
warranty which is offered until the end of February (after which you get five
An excellent warranty combined with intelligent
packaging, a good equipment list and a low price should ensure the Getz will
continue strong sales for a few more years yet.
The Getz three-door was provided for this test by
Hyundai Australia. http://www.hyundai.com.au
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