David Bonnici compares three similarly performing four-cylinder turbo-powered hatches priced about $30,000
Kia Cerato Koup Turbo
Engine 2.0 litre, 4cyl turbo
Price From $27,990 on road
Kia’s first ever turbo coupe is a pretty car that appears to be more Posh than Sporty Spice. The interior is well presented and roomy, including comfortable leather sports seats, faux-carbon fibre trim and chrome highlights that mask a lot of the plastic.
It’s a long hatch so has plenty of room in the back thanks to the handy cargo space and when the back seats are folded down.
Being a Kia, it comes with heaps of standard features including multi-function trip computer, rear-view camera, LED running lights and 18-inch alloy wheels (including spare) just to name a few.
On top of all that, it’s a nice car to drive. It’s rather unassuming under normal driving conditions, though you want to keep an eye on the speedo if you want to avoid speed camera fines in 60km/h zones.
It’s nice around town, but when you ask it to dance on the open road it happily obliges with minimum fuss,
All in all this is a great sporty, and dare I say, practical car.
ASTRA GTC SPORT
Holden Astra GTC Sport
Engine 1.6 litre, 4cyl turbo
Power 147kw ‘
Price $33,821 on road
If you think you’ve seen the slinky, head-turning lines of the Holden Astra before, it’s because it was already here with an Opel badge during that company’s short lived direct foray into the Australian market.
The roomy leather interior is as striking as the car’s shell, with comfortable sports seats and cool ambient lighting along the dash and door trims.
It has pretty good vision for a coupe but I’m surprised the 7-inch MyLink touch screen doesn’t feature a rear vision camera, though the car does have satellite navigation. The buttons around the entertainment system look complicated and kind of are.
This has a smaller engine than the Kia but similar performance. It takes off like a rocket in second gear and moves up the six gears well.
Ride on the 19-inch wheels was good but not as smooth as the Holden’s Australian-built Cruze Z.
HYUNDAI VELOSTER SR TURBO II
Hyundai Veloster SR Turbo II
Engine 1.6 litre, 4cyl turbo
Price From $33,469 on road
If the Kia Cerato is pretty and unassuming and the Astra a bit of a poser, the Hyundai Veloster SR Turbo is the punk who crashed the beauty pageant and yelled: “Look at me”.
It’s not pretty, though it certainly ain’t ugly. The test car I drove had a magnificent low-sheen gun-metal paint job.
The Veloster is features-packed and looks like a fun car to drive, a perception that becomes reality after pressing the start button, though it’s not as refined as the other two.
The striking looks continue inside in the form of great-looking leather-appointed sports seats and angled lines that lead to the 7-inch touch screen in the middle of the dash. It’s roomy enough inside with a handy, almost hidden, third door on the passenger side making entry easier.
The Veloster makes no bones about being a sports car so the ride is a bit stiffer and it’s geared for better high-end performance. But it’s not the hot hatch it pretends to be – not that this bothers its many devotees.