As good as it Getz

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Hyundai’s recently refreshed Getz line-up gets a shot of muscle with the unveiling of a new flagship – a turbocharged, 1,5-litre, diesel-fuelled derivative. Wearing a CRDi badge, the model – the fifth to be introduced locally to the brand’s top-selling Getz range – heads the line-up for power and torque output.

The state-of-the-art, common rail, direct injection engine – designed with input from Hyundai’s research and development centre in Germany – features double overhead camshafts, 16 valves and a variable geometry turbocharger developed to ensure responsive performance, excellent fuel economy and, from an environmental point of view, low exhaust emissions.

With 81kW on tap at 4 000 revs/min and 235Nm of twist effort available from 2 000 revs/min, the diesel fuelled engine delivers forceful thrust off the line, capable of propelling the car to a 0-100km/h time of 11,1 seconds. Top speed is measured at 181km/h, making the CRDi the fastest Getz on the road.

But it’s not only at the top end that the new engine impresses. Equally noteworthy is the unit’s flexibility, the characteristics of the sophisticated variable geometry turbocharger – which controls boost by opening and closing turbine vanes in relation to exhaust inlet pressure – ensuring strong, smooth pick-up even from the bottom end of the rev range.

Coupled with a revised five-speed manual gearbox that powers the front wheels, the 1 493cc plant – designated the 1,5 VGT – is quiet on the move and is one of the most efficient in its class.

The engine’s four-cylinder configuration incorporates an aluminium head and a cast iron block, the combustion process optimised through use of a refined, common rail, direct injection intake system. On the outlet side, exhaust gas reticulation technology has been precisely engineered to help feed the turbocharger as well as to curb the discharge of noxious gasses into the environment. In terms of emission controls, the engine meets strict Euro 4 compliance standards.

From the outside, the new Getz flagship is distinguished from other models in the recently face-lifted range by the incorporation of standard features such as sporty-looking 15-inch alloy wheels and a high-mounted spoiler at the rear.

The interior is plush, well equipped from both safety as well as comfort perspectives. Equipment includes airbags for driver and front seat passenger, air-conditioning, an MP3 audio system with CD compatibility, a rev counter, cup-holders front and rear, electrically powered windows and outside mirrors, a transponder immobiliser system, reclining rear seats and quality-feel materials used in upholstery, fascia mouldings, control stalks and switches.

As far as storage space is concerned, a choice of 20 different compartments is on offer in the cabin, extending to an extra tray for small items in the new centre stack console, an under-seat tray for valuables, a sunglasses holder and door mounted map pockets. In addition, the glove box now illuminates when opened.

As a people mover, the Getz offers occupants impressive levels of space and headroom. It has a fairly high, MPV-like driving position, but there is plenty of adjustability in the driver’s seat and steering column to ensure commanding comfort for pilots of all shapes and sizes. Rear seat passengers get decent legroom with three-point seatbelts and adjustable headrests all round.

The Getz’s back seat features a 60/40 split, capable of freeing up to 977 litres of cargo space when folded flat – turning the comfortable passenger car into a substantial load lugger at the freeing of a few latching mechanisms.

The car’s already popular look has been freshened in favour of sleeker aerodynamics by the modern front grille, large headlights and swept back bonnet while, at the rear, the incorporation of a neat, wraparound bumper beneath new tail light clusters is intended to aid signal visibility as well as to mirror the car’s contemporary sense of fashion.

Though unchanged from that of the previous generation model, the Getz’s suspension system – independent MacPherson struts and hydraulic dampers at the front, a torsion beam axle and gas pressurised shock absorbers at the rear – has been developed to ensure a comfortable, stable ride.

Similarly, the electronically assisted power steering system has been designed to make light work of twirl effort. The system is quick from lock to lock, less than three turns of the helm being necessary to move the front wheels through their geometric scope. The braking system – which includes large ventilated discs at the front – incorporates ABS and EBD, in tests capable of stopping the Getz in 40,2 metres from 100km/h.

The combination of secure ride, light steering, torquey engine and efficient stopping power makes the CRDi easy to drive in traffic. The car’s sense of responsiveness to driver inputs is heightened by a gearbox that shifts slickly through the cogs and clutch action that is smooth on take up and a cinch to modulate.

Passing slower moving vehicles is trouble-free thanks to the engine’s ability to pick up cleanly from low revs and thrust the car forwards at the prod of the accelerator.

While the Getz may mark one of the entry points of the reconstituted Hyundai range in South Africa, it is solidly built, good looking and well equipped. Its popularity is attested to by ever increasing sales in an extremely competitive market segment.

In CRDi form the model proves to be powerful, responsive, economical and environmentally friendly – putting forward a persuasive argument in favour of it becoming the country’s first choice in the compact car stakes. “In many respects, this is as good as it Getz for motorists who need efficient, reliable, affordable transport,” says Hyundai’s managing director, Alan Ross.

Price of the model includes a five-year/150 000km factory warranty and a two-year/

40 000km service plan, with Hyundai setting service intervals every 15 000km.