THE battle of the turbo diesels is hotting up. Just about every manufacturer worth its salt has an entry-level diesel in its model line-up.And with the price of fuel set to rise again tomorrow to unprecedented levels, buying a diesel-powered vehicle has become a serious consideration for many.
Modern diesels have, at last, shed the image of smokey, noisy vehicles of yesteryear, which were favoured mainly by farmers and commercial operations.
The new generation oil burners are quiet, fuel efficient and fun to drive.
They also have bags of torque – even the smaller engines – to enable motorists to travel in comfort and frustration free.
Joining the entry level segment is Hyundai's latest i20 1.4 CRDi Glide, which completes the model line-up.
Launched last week in the Western Cape, we were able to put the i20 through its paces in a 150km drive from Paarl over the narrow, historic Bain's Pass.
The mountain pass proved no barrier for the small city car as long as it was driven in its power band – meaning that keeping the revs up to acceptable levels was the key to a successful drive. Last year, Hyundai launched the popular i20 in a revised and refreshed form – both inside and out – which heightened its appeal to a new, younger group of car buyers.
Then, towards the end of the year, the entry-level i20 1.2 Motion – with an impressive list of standard features – was added to the range to satisfy the needs of buyers in this segment who had to keep their eyes firmly on their budget.
As with its i20 siblings, the new 1.4 CRDi Glide can boast a long list of standard equipment and convenience features – with the important added benefit of a substantially lower price than its direct competitors.
Under the bonnet beats a 1.4 litre turbo-charged four- cylinder diesel engine that delivers 66kW of peak power and 220Nm maximum torque.
Linked to a smooth and efficient six-speed manual transmission, this translates to more than ample power through the front wheels for the medium-sized hatch back, but with a good fuel economy figure of five litres per 100km, recorded on a combined European test cycle.
Its 110g/km carbon emissions also ensure that no tax will be levied in this department. The i20 can run on 500 ppm (parts per million) diesel.
"The i20 has been very popular with South African buyers since it came to market in 2009, thanks to its combination of efficiency, quality, practicality and value.
With its sharper styling influenced by the company's "Fluidic Sculpture" design philosophy the new i20 would appeal to an even broader range of buyers, including younger consumers, Hyundai Automotive SA's Stanley Anderson said.
And the good news is that the 1.4 CRDi Glide manual is competitively priced at R195900. The vehicle comes standard with a five-year or 150 000km warranty and five-years / 150000km roadside assistance. Part of the standard i20 1.4 CRDi Glide package is a three-year/ 60000km service plan and a five-year/160000km perforation warranty.
Service intervals are 15000km apart.