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Click to view road test review picture gallery“Everybody needs
  wheels. The good news
  is that you don’t have
  to remortgage your
  house to get a decent
  set. Even with prices
  starting at 7,500, the
  Hyundai Getz super-
  mini comes with Great
  Expectations...”


IT'S THE BEST OF TIMES, and it's the worst of times, to parody Charles Dickens's words. And although those words were penned long before our materialistic world, they still ring true today. In so far
as it applies to personal trans-portation, the best of times is an abundance of choice. The worst of times is the price of everything. Which brings us neatly back to Hyundai
's Getz.

Mention that the average entry-level property price is around 200,000 and that the average amount most homeowners spend on a car is a hefty ten per cent of the value of their home — or around 20,000 — and your listeners nod sagely. Which is why it's easy to forget that not everybody can spend a sum like that on a car. And even easier to overlook is the fact that today you can get a perfectly good set of wheels for half of that.

Hyundai's Getz is one such car. The range consists of three- and five-door superminis powered by a choice of petrol (1.1 and 1.4-litre) and
a 1.5-litre diesel unit. The entry-level Getz, the 1.1 GSi, costs 7,490. Reviewed here is the range-topping three-door 1.5 CRTD CDX+. Its 109bhp four-cylinder, 16-valve turbodiesel powerplant generates a healthy 174lb ft of torque between 1,900 and 2,750rpm and it sips fuel at the rate of 62.8mpg on the combined cycle.

And it costs 10,057. Moreover, thanks to its 118g/km CO2 emissions, you'll pay just 35 a year Road Tax! You also get a full five-year un-limited mileage warranty (the longest of any car on the road apart, that is, from other Hyundai models), a six-year anti-perforation war-ranty and three year's of Hyundai RAC Assistance. Given that you won't have to pay for anything that goes wrong for five years after you buy it, you could be looking at as much as 100,000 miles of worry-free motoring.

There was a time when budget-priced cars meant equally budget-priced quality and even less kit than the Spartans took when they went off to fight the Greeks. Not there's the Getz. And you'll be pleasantly surprised to find that standard equipment on our test car included an electric tilt 'n' slide sunroof, stereo RDS radio/CD, tinted glass, rear spoiler, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, power steering, electric front windows (one-shot down on driver's window) air conditioning, remote central locking, trip computer, alloy wheels, front and side airbags for the driver and front passenger,
three rear 3-point seat belts and ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution.

If you noted when you read the equipment list that there were no electric windows mentioned for the rear, it's because the three-door models have fixed back windows. SmartNav satellite navigation can
be added as an optional extra for a reasonable 495, and leather upholstery is available for an additional 650.

There's nothing low-rent about the Getz's looks, either: it's a smartly finished — if somewhat conventional-looking — supermini. Inside,
it manages to surprise on two counts. First, it's well packaged and, secondly, it's unexpectedly roomy for such a compact footprint.

It's simple, too, to get comfortable behind the leather-trimmed steering wheel that has perforated leather on the 'work' areas. The driver's
seat adjusts for height and tilt at both the front and back of the seat base and the steering column adjusts for height/rake. Other normal seat adjustment controls are manual but all work smoothly. The centre stack comes with a brushed silver finish and the comfortable seats are upholstered in good-looking two-tone cloth with co-ordinated door panels.

Air conditioning controls are foolproof and the air vents have a good range of directional adjustability so the cold air (it getz really cold!) always hits its target. And if you fancy seeing the sky, the glass sun-roof makes a nice change. Its one-shot open button makes it safer
to operate whilst on the move. Another good point: the sunroof slides on the outside of the roof, saving on headroom inside.

Nice touches abound throughout the cabin, ranging from a damped sunglasses case in the headlining above the driver's door and height-adjustable front belts to usefully deep sun visors and numerous storage points (20 in all, including a tray beneath the passenger seat) dotted about the cabin. And two 12-volt outlets in the centre console. Instruments are clearly marked with white on black graphics. The driver has the use of a fold-down arm-rest on the inner side of his seat that is set at just the right angle for maximum comfort. Front passengers get masses of legroom.

From a safety point of view, rear passenger's heads are also a good foot from the rear screen. Add to that the large glass areas and
you have a pleasantly airy cabin. In the back of the Getz it's very relaxing. And if the centre rear seat is unoccupied, the headrest can be dropped down so the top of it is barely above the seat, thus pro-viding even better rear view visibility for the driver.

Access to the rear seats is easy via the tilt 'n' slide front passenger seat. The wide bench and a generous amount of room for heads, shoulders, elbows and legs makes it feasible to accommodate three people in the back should you need to. If you do, there's a proper lap-diagonal seatbelts and head restraints for all of them. The 60:40 split/fold rear seatbacks adjust to any of four recline positions. Lounging is definitely the order of the day for rear passengers. They can also be folded (and very easily, too) completely flat to maximise usable luggage space: a maximum of — another surprise — 977 litres!

Even with the rear seats in use the 'normal' boot is, with 288 litres, big enough for four medium suitcases and there are two small but useful open storage areas each side of the boot in the rear three-quarter wings. A boot lip slightly above knee-height makes for easy loading.

With 109bhp and 173lb ft of torque, the 1.5-litre diesel has enough power to get the Getz from standstill to the benchmark 62mph in 11.1 seconds. Top speed is 112mph. The decent level of torque is sufficient to ensure overtaking is done with minimum fuss and even at higher speeds there always feel enough in reserve. Working the engine — which is more than happy to match the driver's pace — is no problem, thanks to the light and easy throw of the five-speed manual 'box.

Actually, the 1.5 diesel unit feels smooth and sounds refined at all times. It's also a gutsy performer: hold your gearchanges to the red-line and it will tear up even a very steep hill with amazing tenacity.
The only thing you need to remember is that, in keeping with all diesels, the best results come with matching your road speed to the right gear to fully exploit the torque.

Motorway performance is equally competent. Even at 70mph-plus in top gear there's brisk pick-up and the Getz feels secure and remains quiet approaching three-figure speeds.

Out of the cityscape, on country lanes and B roads, the Getz feels safe and capable and body roll is well controlled. Disc brakes are fitted all round (ventilated at the front), and the Getz stops very positively — our full-on test emergency stop from 40mph was accomplished with no fuss whatsoever. Overall, the ride is fine with only severe speed bumps making themselves known. The steering, like the brakes, does the job perfectly well and you can simply take both for granted — which is how it should be. Grip from the 175/65 tyres — riding on smart 7-spoke alloy rims — is more than a match for the Getz's predictable front-wheel drive chassis.

In this section of the market it's not out-and-out performance that counts the most. More important to potential owners are economy, running costs, space and comfort. The Getz delivers on these four
then throws in easy controls, a slick gearbox, a smooth diesel engine and a capable and pleasant ride. It also represents pretty good value for money — don't forget that five-year warranty. Most important of all, it's a particularly likeable car to live with both in town and out. So likeable that I getz you may end up giving it a name!

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Hyundai Getz 1.5 CRTD CDX+ 3-door | 10,057
Maximum speed: 112mph | 0-62mph: 11.1 seconds
Overall test MPG: 46.7mpg | Power: 109bhp | Torque: 174lb ft

CO2 118g/km

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