Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hyundai i45

It seems we are having a Korean cars festival on the ACC. First Ssanyong's prehistoric technology, Kia's only good car, and now Hyundai, with just about the worst priced car in the entire world.

Value for money. It's what defines a bargain. You get something for much less than you thought. Korean cars are generally about value for money (though that is stretching the definition of "value") and when you buy a Korean car which has been manufactured by emotionless robots to make money, as opposed to lovingly crafted by skilled people to realise a dream, you don't want to part with too much of your hard earned cash.

At the other end of the scale, is the rip-off. When you get pretty much nothing for an outrageous price. Bottled water, printer cartridges and other expendables are right in this category. And so are many cars. Including today's automotive abomination. The ludicrously overpriced Hyundai i45 2.4L "Elite".

This cement salesman's runabout is priced at NZ$53,000! Yes, your eyes are working correctly (if not, please adjust your monitor) This car is slow, ugly, has a stupidly small engine, and that worthless Hyundai badge, yet Hyundai think its funny to give this godawful donk a near NZ$55,000 price tag. I was scouring their website to try and find anything that would justify the price, and there was nothing. In fact, it even listed three point seat-belts as one of the safety features.

The number of alternative drives is so large, the i45 is at the bottom of the list. Take the excellent Ford Mondeo XR5 Turbo. This has a 2.5L 5 cylinder engine with turbocharging making it way ahead of the Hyundai, even before I mention that fact that it has styling you may actually want to look at, and that its made in Belgium, meaning it won't fall apart. There's no contest; especially when its NZ$7,000 cheaper.
If you don't need a new car, you could settle for a 2 year old BMW 330i, for around NZ$35,000. This has a 3L V6 engine, and a BMW badge, making even an old car worse than the brand new Hyundai.

In order to justify the stupid price tag, Hyundai can only do one thing. Place a 5.2L V10 engine under the bonnet, and put it on sale. Without changing the price. 

The Rip-Off

The Bargain

Monday, January 31, 2011

Kia Cerato Koup

As I outlined in my previous post about the horrid Ssanyong Rexton, Korean cars are generally low on power, ugly in looks, and surprisingly low tech considering the century that we are now in. They also suffer from one of the most pitiful features a car can have. Deathly dullness. Apart from Ssanyong's comical ads and ridicoulous styling, most other Korean car manufacturers tend to churn out cars with less passion and flair than a bare white wall. I saw a Hyundai Sonata drive by the other day, and even though it ran a red light (normally a rather exiting road event) I was overcome with the urge to fall asleep.

The worst thing about Hyundai, is not the dreary crud that comes into the country, but it's the blatently untruthful and downright laughable advertising that gets drilled into the New Zealand people every day on the TV and on massive billboard across the country. A billboard near Wellington airport (which Hyundai sadly owns, meaning it will always be draped in crappy slogans and ugly cars) was showing a huge quote from a National Business Review "executive" The quote read-"By 2013 Hyundai will be NZ's number one brand"
This quote is not only a white lie, but an expensive one for Hyundai. You can just hear the wad of $100 bills falling neatly into the executive's account.

But despite the dreary cars and pointless advertising, Korea (or more specifically, Kia) recently designed the first ever Korean car that you may actually want to part with cash for. The Kia Cerato on which it's based, is actually not bad looking. I do not however recommend purchasing a standard Cerato, as people will still know that you are driving a Kia. But the Koup is a work of art.

The front of the standard Cerato is very well proportioned. The grille and the headlights all fit together in one neat package. But the looks are sadly weighed down by the upright sedan body. Rather like a supermodel having to model clothes whilst constanly wearing a bulletproof suit. But lose the sedan body and replace it with a fastback, two door body and the results are fantastic. The square and rigid looking doors on the sedan are replaced with two sleek pillar-less doors, which neatly round off the flowing body and forward design.

For a decent Cerato Koup with all of the available features (which is how I would buy a car) the value for money is immense. The top spec model only costs around NZ$33,000. Sadly, the only available engine for the Koup is a 2.0 litre four pot, which really doesn't do justice to the well designed body. But if you are prepared to sacrifice power for looks and value for money, the Cerato Koup is for you. Let's hope Kia puts a V6 in it! 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ssanyong Rexton

When one decides to buy a new consumer good, be it a computer, a
table, book, anything; one usually expects to take some features of
that good for granted. for example: when you buy a table, it is highly
unlikely that in the advert for it, the retailer is boasting about how
it comes with legs as standard. Or in the case of a book, how it comes
with "pages made of paper"

But I was reading through my local newspaper, and I saw an ad for two
Ssanyong cars. They actually called them offroaders, but even my
mother doubted that they could even attempt to drive over something as
troublesome as a crack in the road. In the ad for their Actyon ute,
they listed the usual features such as air-con and the supposedly
powerful diesel engine, (which was the world's first attempt at
calling an engine which produced less than 200 kW "powerful")
As I read down the list, however, my trust for the car (which was
already pretty thin) vanished completely. The ad boasted that the car
had four wheel disc brakes. Now, I don't know what the brake
technology is in Korea, but judging by the ad, it's clearly very old.
No car manufacturer since around the 1980s has ever boasted about their automotive
creation having such a commonplace feature.
And if you think it couldn't get any worse, you are sadly wrong. I
scanned my eyes across the page and saw the lost of features for their
Rexton model. This car was advertised as having three point seatbelts!
I haven't seen any car ad in my entire life with three point seatbelts
advertised as a feature. This shows Korea's level of automotive
crappyness as being off the charts. In other words, avoid any car from
Ssanyong at all costs. You may find that a feature on one of their
crappier models is doors and a roof.