The Getz, multiple winner of motoring awards around the globe, is proving equally popular in South Africa, and this latest version, equipped with the most powerful diesel engine in its price and size segment, is expected to consolidate its popularity here.
The 1.5-litre common rail turbo-charged three-cylinder engine produces 60 kW at 4 000 r/min and 191 Nm of torque at 2 000 r/min. Hyundai claims it consumes a mere 3.5 litres/100 km in the rural cycle and 4.8 litres in the urban cycle to give a combined cycle of city and rural driving of just 4 litres/100 km. The top speed is rated at 165 km/h.
On the road this translates to super flexibility, often on a par with the company's 1.6-litre petrol car.
Like its main competitor, the Volkswagen Polo 1.4 TDi, it requires a little bit of revs at pullaway to get it going, but once rolling it proves a good puller with great overtaking abilities - provided you remember you're driving a low-revving diesel, not a high revving petrol car, and drive accordingly.
The Getz 1.5 CRDi HS (High Specification), to give it its full name, has the same feature list as the hitherto top Getz, the 1.6 HS, and in fact comes in at the same price, giving potential owners the option of choosing between petrol and diesel versions without having to consider pricing.
This means it comes fully equipped, with dual front airbags, a Pioneer radio/front loader CD player, electric windows front and rear, electrically-adjusted mirrors, air conditioning, height-adjustable driver's seat, tilt adjustable steering wheel, central locking and immobiliser with key transponder, a boot spoiler, front fog lights, alloy wheels, as well as side impact protection and pre-tensioners for the safety belts.
Instrumentation comprises a big speedo and rev counter with smaller temperature and fuel gauges, and there's a digital clock.
Features I especially like are the hook behind the driver's front seat for holding shopping bags (there's a magazine pocket on the other side) and the side pocket on the front passenger seat for maps etc.
Very useful in overcrowded towns and cities are the 4 km/h rated bumpers - which means minor parking knocks are absorbed without damage - plus the little touches such as a specs holder, boot light, colour-coded mirrors, good quality cloth interior trim, map light, mud flaps, cup holders, and most of all, comfy seats that fit South African bodies.
As to be expected the Getz has 60/40 split fold-down rear seats, but unlike some of the opposition the Getz seats have a fold AND tumble action that gives a very useful load space of 987 litres with both seats folded. Capacity with both seats up is 315 litres. Fuel capacity is 45 litres.
We drove the Getz on a varied route which included two mountain passes as well as a good mixture of rural roads and highways, and I must say I enjoyed the high quality of ride as well as the superb handling.
As with most front-drivers (dare I say all?) there's initial understeer when pressing hard, but unlike others on the Getz this is very mild and converts to easy, and again mild, oversteer when you lift off the power to compensate.
The power-assisted steering is very light and positive, and the gear change a model of smoothness.
As mentioned the engine pulls particularly well in the mid-range, making overtaking safe and positive.
Suspension is the same as on other Getz models, with McPherson struts with offset coil springs and an anti roll bar, plus oil-filled shock absorbers at the front, and a coupled torsion beam axle with coil springs and anti-roll bar plus gas-filled shock absorbers at the back.
Braking sees ventilated disc brakes at the front and drums at the rear, with ABS and electronic brake force distribution.
There's a 3 year/100 000 km warranty, and more importantly for owners, a 2 year/40 000km service plan.
Maintenance is limited to routine oil changes every 10 000 km and air filter changes every 60 000 km, with a major service required at 20 000 km intervals. The timing belt needs replacement only at 230 000 km.
Price: R129 995.
Hyundai SA managing director Alan Ross says the re-establishment of the Hyundai brand in South Africa is well on track following the liquidation of the previous importers some years back and the subsequent take-over of the franchise by Associated Motor Holdings, which is a division of Imperial Holdings.
He says sales are now on a par with those of the previous distributor. AMH does not reveal detailed sales figures, but history shows this would equate to around 14 000 vehicles a year.
Ross adds that Hyundai SA will continue to extend its model range, with new Bakkie models, a new MPV, the Trijet, a facelifted version of the Elantra sedan, a new Atoz mini car, and a new small 4x4, the Tucson, on the cards for this year.
The company now has 42 dealers nation-wide, with this likely to increase to a maximum of 45.