"The Toy Car"
About a year ago it all went a bit pear-shaped when I bought a Getz Diesel without test driving it first. What became known as the Toy Car - thanks to my wife's naming conventions - has unfortunately turned me into a closet Hyundai supporter.
That is really sad since, when it comes to image, this car has none (except maybe a few good media reviews). When parked in the corporate garages of Joburg it looks quite out of place among the BMW, Merc and Audi fleets.
And they seem so scarce. In driving around I have come across maybe three or four.
So why would one buy this car? After driving it for a year and 35 000 km I suppose I can say some things.
Being about 1.85 m tall, it is really tiny on the inside - especially at the front. I am forever adjusting the side mirrors with my knees while driving. The dash is really angular and scratches easily, and what kind of sound system did they specify? You'd get better quality from a Chico.
A Korean sense of humour?
Oh, and then there are the standard Marie-biscuit tyres. I suppose the Korean engineers had a sense of humour; they imagined a 78-year-old great grandmother smoking off in a duel with an old Morris Minor.
I destroyed the first set after 20 000 km, not due to driving like a hooligan, but thanks to the always-protesting rear wheel ABS sensors under pretty normal braking.
Then there is the fuel economy - or lack thereof. In spite of it being a new generation turbodiesel, I still struggle to get better than 6.5/100 km. But then again, I get that figure on every tankful.
Won't be left behind
There are some good points, though. This car refuses to be left behind. A cool party trick comes to play at highway speeds. Just stick it into fifth gear and watch how it motors up mountain passes or hills - with condolences to all the other drivers who try to overtake.
It just wants you to exploit its (arguably narrow) power band all the time. It catches one by surprise and you could be forgiven for wanting to go "Weeeee" a few more times.
Some refer to it as a sprinter, although it lacks another 20 kW or so in my opinion. But if you consider the Getz's competition, I suppose 81 kW and 235 Nm is better than nothing.
It is a bit painful to drive during peak hour traffic, because it is really hard work keeping this thing crawling all the time. Another useful attribute is the higher than normal ground clearance which also aids in driving on Zimbabwe-quality dongas - I mean roads.
So why do I like it? Being an owner of one is almost like showing up at fancy dress wearing the slippers that you bought at Woolworths.
You will be arrested by the fashion police and excluded from the buzz surrounding the latest BEE deal, but once you hit the dance floor you can do the cha-cha slide?