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The Hyundai plant is only 90 kms away from Istanbul where I live.
There, the H1 Starex is built for export to the whole world also several Accent models ranging from the 1.3, 1.5i, 1.5CRDI models. In fact the facelift which made the car look like a shrinked Subaru Impreza was actually done here (far as I know)
I tested the 1.5i and 1.5CRDI models for myself. Here goes :
1- The 1.5i Sedan : ------------------- *** Body and Looks : The car looks quite neat and tidy. No exaggerated lines or features to remind you of typical Korean and Malaysian cars. (ya know those colorful stripes, "blue turn indicators" et al.) Only, the chrome grille is too jazzy and even ugly for this class of a car.
The body is rigid enough but tends to flex under load transfer. So you better always remind yourself of the laws of physics while cornering.
*** Interior : The interior is well laid out. However, the tacky and hard plastics spoil your view. The car I tested was of warm silver color and the interior was a shiny black. I felt as though I was touching a bug (Yuck!!)
The plenty of dash shine (t'wa Armor All High Gloss) the showroom applied intensified the rather disturbing feeling and added a huge lot to the glare.
Seats are comfortable although small for a 1.91 m, 102 kgs man like myself. The seat and steering column adjustments cover that though.
Rear leg room is adequate for the average person. However I felt that a bit more of headroom would have been better.
The carpeting is of surprisingly good quality. It is some material between velour and carpetry.
The interior plastic trim quality is low. It could have been higher but at this price, you may as well live with that. However, I did not come across any shavings or unbrushed parts to cause a sore to the eye or any part of the body (especially hands)
I did not hear any rattles or squeeking to cause concern. Maybe that was because the tyre noise was enough to cover that...
Boot space is average and too many nooks and crannies caused by the wheel wells, shock towers etc cause uneven boot interior and you have a hard time loading largo pieces. However, the boot space is adequate for the load this car is meant to carry onboard.
The tool pack is a joke though. The jack is a sissy piece of metal with a long kackscrew and you stay there worried what would become of you if that jack gave way under the 950 kilos the car is... The only tool I found in the pack was a lug wrench and a 10-11 metric crescent wrench. (Why a wrench but not a two sided screwdriver ???)
*** Engine and Mechanics : The engine provides satisfactoy performance. Ater all you should not expect this car to act like a Porsche. I found out for myself that under an average driver's (who is myself in this case) control, the time for acceleration from 0 to 100km/h is 9 seconds. A pro can achieve a 6.5 seconds easily I suppose.
I drove the car for a complete weekend from 06:00 to 14:30 hrs. on a Saturday and from 06:30 to 16:00 hrs. the next Sunday. (An excursion trip from Istanbul to Ephesus and back) I used up some 80 liters of unleaded 95 octane gasoline which means that the consumption is at an average of 6.7 liters per every 100 kms under a load of 3 adults and approximately 50 kgs of luggage. Good...
Gears change a bit roughly. The gearbox causes some noise and if you are a close observer like I am, you will distinctly hear the gears whirring inside the gearbox. But as I said above, the tyres produce too much noise to hear that if you are not a close listener.
Brakes are adequate for a standard driver. But if you like to screech go and halt, you better start screeching several meters before that Jaguar's tailgate... ABS dosage is well set though. You do not feel that all too familiar rattle under your foot too often.
The springs and shocks are designed for utter control more than comfort. The car handles very safely but you feel every bump and pothole under your pants.
The ultra hard Kumho or Hankooks tyres which usually come with Korean cars were replaced with 175/70x14 Good Year Eagle GT3's but that did not help the tyre noise subside. Guess the car needs to be better insulated.
I was surprised to hear all the whirring and mechanism clatter of the wipers inside. So the dashboard also needs to be insulated as well.
2- The 1.5 CRDI : ----------------- *** Body and looks : No different than the regular body. The only difference was the CRDI logo and the better looking grille which was of body color.
*** Engine and Mechanics : The Common Rail Direct Injection diesel engine is the only difference of the car. So this will be the only thing I will write for this one.
The engine is very noisy when cold. But once it warms up, you hardly ever remember that you are driving a diesel only until you attempt a sprint or hasty overtake. Engine surge under fast acceleration is a breed related disease from what I was told. Why ? I was never told.
Torque is massive. You simply feel the engine pull you away. But top end is poor. The engine struggles to keep the speedometer's needle where it is. However, I easily did 160 km7h on the highway and only when I pushed a bit further the engine started to surge at some 3,800 rpm. That is quite normal from my point of view.
This car is a bit better insulated; given the nature of the engine and mechanics this car posesses. However, do not expect it match your VW Passat 1.9 TDI by any measure.
Consumption is fair. I spent an average of 7 liters per every 100 kms.
*** Concusion : I would say these cars are worth what they are sold for. I would definitely prefer a Golf TDI but that is twice as much as this car.
I would also definitely prefer the diesel (CRDI) The fuel cost is cut by almost 40%. Same level trim and accessories at some %20 more price but 40% fuel saving may equalise the two within a short time deending on how much you drive. In my case I could' ve covered that within only 18 months.