Hyundai / Getz / hatch range

September 2002-October 2005 Hyundai Getz hatch range Rear shot

Our opinion

Value, ability, safety, practicality, warranty and economy

Room for improvement

Dynamically behind the best; brand image; tight rear seat and boot space


Is purchasing a Hyundai Getz a case of sense and sensibility or is it all just about saving cents?

This is the question now that, suddenly, the Hyundai is slugging it out with a $13,000 Holden Barina as well as a completely redesigned Kia Rio that’s $15,990 driveaway.

Now this really is dog-eat-dog!

Plus the Getz is also expected to compete with light car-elite – namely the Ford Fiesta, Honda Jazz, Mazda2, Suzuki Swift, Mitsubishi Colt and presumably Toyota’s upcoming Yaris.

On paper the Hyundai is now (just) the oldest and probably the smallest – and it’s not even the cheapest either. Does the Getz even stand a chance anymore?

Well, Hyundai can’t ever be accused of standing still, because it has just launched the TB Getz Series II. You’ll pick it by its new nose, redesigned tail-lights, fresh colours and smart front and rear black bumper inserts.

Canny buyers may also spot the car’s value-for-money.

For starters the volume-selling (85 per cent-plus is the forecast) 1.6-litre manual three-door, at $14,490, includes anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and four-wheel discs as standard.

So are power steering/windows/mirrors, remote central locking with an alarm, CD/MP3/WMA audio and air-conditioning.

An equivalently equipped Fiesta LX is $500 more without the ABS ($3000 thanks but it does include auto) or trick radio. And for the very price-sensitive, there’s always the 70kW Getz 1.4 at $13,490. Regular readers will know that the Fiesta leads all as a driver’s car.

But the Hyundai isn’t bad at all – small boot notwithstanding – if it’s a compact city runabout with excellent safety features and one of the industry’s best warranties you are after.

Behind the wheel of the aforementioned 1.6, far from feeling cheap, you are struck by how grown-up and refined the Getz has… well, gotten.

The light and airy cabin is full of nice textures, seems well screwed together and feels well insulated from both the outside environs and the engine bay ahead.

And while you’ll never mistake the seats for an Eames chair, they do their job.

You’re sitting in an environment that’s clearly made to be used, abused and lived-in. Ventilation, storage access and the general ergonomics of it all are executed with professional competence. It won’t win any style awards though, but nor will it give you toxic shock.

Of course, as is the way for so many models from South Korea, the clutch and steering are a tad too light for some, but Learners should love them. And the slick five-speed manual gear change is aeons ahead of pre-Getz Hyundais – and post-Opel Holden Barinas for that matter.

It drives a strong and spirited 1600cc engine that doesn’t sound too strained – considering this is an econo-box, after all. Fuel economy promises to be a highlight too.

This is an extremely easy car to drive, with agile handling and responsive brakes. Rougher roads do reveal a firm ride, but it doesn’t feel as jiggly as the previous Getz’s.

There’s very little not to like and a lot to appreciate in a light car that offers such high safety attributes in a comfy and agile package.

Your eyes might say Swift, your heart Fiesta and your head Toyota, but at least it won’t just be your wallet that says Getz.

All three senses get a bit of a look-in with the latest model.

 Hyundai Getz hatch range - Action shot

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