Archive for the ‘Hyundai’ Category

Got a new motor?

In BMW, Hyundai on January 20, 2014 at 9:46 pm

IMG_00000895Yes really.

The old Hyundai i40 Tourer has gone, and my new car is a Hyundai i40 Tourer.

Funnily enough even though I spent 15 minutes unpack king the blue one it wasn’t until I went to drive away I noticed the one is significantly different to the “old” one.

At first I thought, oh goody it has a built in SatNav.

Then I tempered my enthusiasm as many cars sport a big screen for the radio, have the buttons for navigation but without the actual maps on the low spec models.

I tentatively put the key in the ignition, poked a few buttons and hey presto discovered this version DOES have SatNav.

Yippee do.

I decided to get comfortable, was it me or is the headrest in this model less awkward.

Oops no bar to bring the seat forward.

That’s because it has electric seats, and even electric lumbar adjustment.

Things were getting better.

I selected first gear and drove off.

Was it me, or was the steering more alert?

Once on the A380 I wondered if I might be accelerating a bit quicker.

Guess what?  There’s also climate control.

Another useful extra.

Fifteen minutes later I stopped for lunch.

Afterwards I thought I’d check my hunch.

The drivers door reveal on Hyundai’s reveal the BHP on tap.

Not just yer 115 diesel hires, but 136 chevuax.

I am blessed.

Thirty minutes up the M5 I thought “I bet it even has cruise control”.


All in all, this is way more satisfying than the base Blue model.

A nice little treat as I await the arrival of my 3 series.

MPG seems no different than before, about 46 miles to the gallon, and the car’s still only done 221 miles.

Things will only get better in time.

This i40 is supremely adequate.

Only negative points.

The boot lid which drips down your neck when opened whilst wet, and the centre console is SO BRIGHT, even on the dark setting.

Ah well, they’ll  catch the Germans within 5 years.

IMG_00000896Back home I discovered that big screen has a camera to help with reversing.

That’s the first time I’ve had that toy.

Just checking the stats I see my latest i40 can crack the 0-100 kmh mark in 10.6 seconds.

Although the performance is marked by a moments lethargy before the revs build, and let the turbo kick in.  My next continental jaunt may see a 124 mph top speed reached.  Although I doubt it, and this model is not as hunkered down as the blue one.

Here I am 5 days on from taking the keys to the silver i40. Today it totally lost traction and I had a “moment” as the car understeered on a new roundabout.  I guess I need to check if the tyres are over inflated, in 6000 miles in the 115bhp version it showed no such tendencies.

Also as I learn more about the car I’ve discovered the electric fold button the door mirrors, and at last the NIGHT button for blacking out the central screen.  Brilliant that there is one, but Hyundai offer just 4 settings, the dimmest of which is too bright.  Looking at a black screen isn’t the answer when using the map function.

Hyundai are getting better year on year, but these incidentals are a real let down to the busy sales rep. At least I can search for phone numbers on the move, but again the functionality is dire compared to BMW systems.

Other new discoveries are asking sensors in the front bumper, and the fact that the rear reversing camera is inferior to the BMW green/yellow/red mapping when it is dark or raining.

We’ve a long trip to Belgium coming up, I wonder how it will fair on that long run.





Bottom Rung BMW

In BMW, Hyundai, Skoda on January 12, 2014 at 11:22 pm

IMG_00000843Excuse the photo, but I was so busy driving I forgot to take a decent shot.  Last week I drove from Frankfurt to Brussels in the latest generation BMW 316 diesel saloon.

This detuned oil burner is the entry level 3 series, but it still looked quite stylish in metallic paint and with alloy wheels.

Having been whisked to Frankfurt in a nearly new 740i I was looking forward to a stint on de-restricted German autobahn.

Except it didn’t go as planned.

The first hour I probably never hit more than 20 mph, and the next three hours it rained, and all lanes were busy.

So what do I think of the junior version of my soon to be company car?

TBH, it wasn’t that thrilling.

My current Hyundai 1.7 oil burner is quieter from cold, and at low speeds.

Driving a left hooker on unfamiliar roads after dark wasn’t the best intro, but I wasn’t convinced by the six speed box.  After all this is no ball of fire.

Official figures show that it will hit sixty mph in about 10 seconds (but it seems slower) and might just carry on to 125mph given a fair wind and an empty carriageway.

Speaking of which, there was noticeable wind noise over 80 mph (but not as bad as the new Octavia).

Three up I managed to eventually hit 115 mph, but it may have been quicker in Sport mode.

The basic seats (in cloth) were ok, but the cabin was a bit cramped when travelling with a tall passenger behind the front seats.

The boot betters old 2010 3 series, and I liked the bottle holders in the arm rest.

Economy on our trip was 5.1 litres per 100 kilometres, which works out at 55mpg, which I reckon is pretty good for a nearly new engine that’s still loosening up.

All things considered I would safely say I’d rather not take the bottom rung 3 series, but would look elsewhere.

from A to B

In Hyundai, Skoda on December 28, 2013 at 7:47 pm

IMG_00000714There was a time when I’d willingly jump behind the wheel of any car.

I’d crave the intimate knowledge which you simply can’t get from the passenger seat.

I’m older now.

Some cars were only ever intended to offer the owner the ability to get from A to B.

Unless I’ve just hiked for a day on the Cornish Coast Path I have absolutely no desire to “just get from A to B”.

Although I’d have thought the previous generation VAG Skoda would serve up something a little more than this hum drum wagon.

IMG_00000715Look at the ingredients.

VAG parts, with all the essentials being donated by the MK6 Golf.

Roomy interior, decent warranty, and glowing reviews in most owner surveys.

So are we on to a winner?

If you simply want a set of “cheap” wheels then I guess the Octavia ticks all the boxes.

Until you’ve tried something a little more expensive from the more upwardly mobile brands.

To me this vehicle merely ticks the boxes, rather than tugging my emotions.

140 BHP and a 6 sped box may return 48 + mpg, and hit the sixty dash in under 10 seconds, but am I bovvered?

Not really.

Here’s where VAG fall short.

Everything feels unpleasant, from the inert steering wheel to the awkwardly shaped gear lever, yuk.

Then there’s the torquey engine.  It might do what it says on the tin, but does it need to sound like a Massey Ferguson at idle, or John Deere under acceleration?

The only aural plus I could detect was the lack of door mirror wind noise compared to the 2013 Octavia estate I drove recently.

IMG_00000716-2So in an effort to protect my ears I tried the easy to use radio.

TINNY on this model, and don’t be fooled by the big screen.  There’s no Sat Nav lurking inside.

What did I take away as a positive?

The seats seemed comfy, and it looks inoffensive.

One things for sure, I won’t be buying one.

My current i40 tourer feels far more refined.

Winking Hyundai

In Hyundai on November 18, 2013 at 8:45 pm

IMG_00000521Here’s my interim motor.

Yet another Hyundai.  In some nations it wears the Sonata badge, but here it’s the i40.

It’s my 4th Korean car in 7 years.

What’s it like?


Big? Check.

Bland? Check.

Competent? Yup.

Anything else?

IMG_00000593 (1)Well before I answer that take a peek at the i40 wagon’s saloon predecessor.

That’s my son’s 2.4 auto on the drive.

Despite being 8 years older it looks infinitely better.

The newer car has a touch of the older model’s floatiness around corners, but feels far more planted.

It’s also got the “Blue” eco diesel engine that gives over 50 mpg.  Pretty much double what the petrol auto 2.4 returns.

On paper then the new car’s a winner!

Except it’s got the headrests make one’s neck uncomfortable.  I’m also less than impressed by the irritating electronic handbrake, and then there’s the boot.

It might have a vast load area, but it also has a big thick cill which makes getting stuff in and out rather awkward.

At night the headlights wink as you drive around country lanes.  Rather than “bending” to match the steering one set of lamps suddenly illuminate without warning.

I’d wouldn’t be surprised if this novel idea is illegal.

The i40 also features the first bluetooth pairing device that defies logic.  I had to read the manual to make it work, and even worse was to come when I tried to dial a number.

The voice recognition guarantees you call the wrong person every time.

Given the choice I’d pick the older design every time, although it never came here in an estate format.

In their desire to create a more European car the Koreans have made a bland bus.



I’ve now racked up over a thousand miles in our first week together, it’s time to re-evaluate.

Truth is, by shoving the headrest up high I can get comfortable.

Not only that, but I’m really enjoying my first manual gearbox since my 2011 Renault Wind.  The chassis may float, but all things considered I’m really liking this humungous machine.

I’d like a DAB radio, and an integrated Sat Nav.  The free Tom Tom the hire company let me have does get me to destinations , but is hard to read and tinny to the ear.

At the weekend the huge load bay swallowed 180kg of garage storage equipment, and lugged it home from Brighton whilst still returning over 50 mpg.

Despite a measly 115 bhp being on tap the engine never really struggles.  The lack of cruise control isn’t too bad either.

Looking at similar machines on Auto Trader I can find several with 30,000 miles on the clock for around £13,000.

Good value.

In 48 hours “my” i40 will have gone.

It has, and I’m not grieving.

The NEW car is another i40 to a higher spec, and with another 21 bhp.

TBH this one was happy cruising at 85, the lack of grunt overtaking was the only issue over our 6000 miles together.

New i30

In Hyundai, Volvo on November 17, 2012 at 12:57 am

Earlier this week I had the chance to try out one of the most significant medium sized hatchbacks to be launched this year.

The new i30 is commendably different to the last model.  Rather like the Golf you can see traces of the previous generation model, but this one looks more cohesive.

I could have taken an Audi A3 from our local car rental centre, but I thought I’d give the Korean a try instead.

First impressions?  Perhaps the Kia version is prettier?

The lady showing me around the car introduced a number of special features.  Wow, it’s packed with goodies, even on basic diesel version.

The most interesting was the Stop/Start fuel saving  device, which reminded me of an old Golf Formel E I once drove.  Then there was the excellent bluetooth link for my phone.  It paired very quickly.

I’m not convinced by the cheap 70s Japanese stereo system like centre dash design, nor the blue dials come to that, but generally the interior was fine.  The stalks controlling wipers and indicators were ultra tactile, whilst the polished metal collar on the gear lever was positively sensual.

The seats were nearly as good as those in my Volvo, and certainly better than the Golf estate I had recently.  I suppose the Golf is the real rival here.  In key areas the i30 pips the Golf, kit, comfort, and acceleration. The 1.6 oil burner certainly wasn’t quick, but there was more torque than a base Golf, and more bhp too.

I did find the road noise surprisingly loud, and wasn’t too convinced by the three weighting options for the steering.  Most owners probably couldn’t tell the difference, or care less.

I guess the real crunch on a car like this is MPG.  Here the Golf does better.  I got 49.1 mpg on the read out, but doing the maths this was a true 47 over 248 miles.  The Golf I drove gave me 5 mpg more.

There were too many controls on the steering wheel, and I wasn’t impressed by the 6 buttons on the radio. Add 4 more and it could have become a Volvo like phone key pad.

Could I live with one every day?

Possibly, but whilst the engine sounded refined I just struggle with any car that isn’t quick off the mark.  Perhaps a 3.3 petrol version would be more fun?

Darn, they don’t make one.

Golf “quite good” shock

In Hyundai on July 25, 2012 at 7:53 pm

The world over people have bought into the myth that Volkswagen are reliable.

Maybe they once were, but my experience has been far less favourable, so to that end I’ve ignored the brand for the last 17 years.

My first VW was a brand new pale blue 2 litre twin carb 1979 Transporter.  It went like stink, but so did the clutch cable.  Constantly snapping due to a manufacturing fault which the local dealer would not fix under warranty.

The second was a well used ’82 Polo “C” in burgundy. We assumed we were just unlucky, and that non starting in the winter was just our bad luck. My wife liked it, but I didn’t particularly rate the 1043 cc machine because quite frankly I prefer a car that will start at the end of a hard day’s work. We once carried 900kg of bricks in ours, and that didn’t do the shocks any good.

What I do remember is it sold quite quickly when advertised, and ever gluttons we bought a newer ’85 CL with a monstrous 1272cc lump up front, and trendy wheel trims.  In fact the check interior and extra lamps at the front turned this into an attractive hatch.

BUT it lost all coolant shortly after we’d bought it and needed a new engine at less than 3 years old. Darn it, we already broke from buying it and then got hit with a huge bill.  My other abiding memory was woefully vague steering, how anybody kept the hot G40 on the road is beyond me.

I must be stupid because I also bought an 8 owner Scirrocco MkII GTi, hoping to combine performance with practicality.  Mine had a very tired gearbox, a dodgy re-spray that started peeling the moment after I handed over £800, and a tendency to not start in the winter. On a good day I could drive to Norfolk at an average of 60 mph, and get 40 mpg. The engine was so torquey I seldom needed to changed down to overtake.

The boot was huge, and it did seat 4, but we found the front wing and A pillar no match for a milk float. My wife totalled the Scirocco when temporarily blinded by a low sun. At least it forced us to forget VW and try something cute, a Nissan Micra Shape.

But back to 2012, and a basic Golf Estate with the 105 bhp 5 speed oil burner combo.  I’ve just done 850 odd miles in one over the course of two days.

I hired it to make a delivery for our business, as the Sonata simply didn’t have enough room.  I brought my prejudice to this review, and was happy to reveal VWs are still rubbish, but maybe they aren’t.

First impressions.  Nasty plastic steering wheel, and gear knob. Especially unpleasant on a hot and clammy day.

Second impression, a driver’s seat which wasn’t comfortable in town use.  Sitting in it was fine, but once I had to work the clutch it seemed to lack support for my lower back.

Third impression. No torque, no go, not your average diesel engine.

By now I’d driven about 800 yards.  It was a “joy” to be proved right, VWs simply aren’t that good.

Then there was the small matter of a 565 mile trip on a mixture of windy “A” roads, and a considerable part of the M5, M6, motorways. It was quite clear this machine is not designed for overtaking.

BUT, what about the rest of the package?

Load space? Excellent!

Radio? Very good, but no steering wheel controls.

Instruments? Clear and with easy menus operated by the right hand wiper control.

Cruise Control? Yes, even on a boggo VW this “must have” feature was fitted and worked well.

Looks? Five out of 5.  Nicer than the hatch.

Road noise? Not much once top and running, a great cruiser.

Handling? Superb.

Ride?  First rate!

Economy? Unbelievable.

At the end of a 2 day run my heavy right foot returned an average speed of 40mph, and 52.6 mpg.  When I jumped back in the Sonata the readout said 22.6mpg.  Look at how much fuel and money I saved.  In effect the £105 hire charge was a snip as the same journey in the V6 Sonata would have cost me around £70 more in fuel.

One last PLUS on the Golf, it has a super comfy central armrest, nearly as squishy as the one on our old Renault 16TX. 

So the obvious thing would be to trade in the Hyundai and get a Golf? 

Er no.

It ain’t that good!

My Korean Ferrari

In Hyundai on July 8, 2012 at 8:59 am

Meet one of the prettiest cars I ever owned.

A Hyundai Coupe V6 auto.

I bought this after racking up thousands of miles in a Civic Type S.

Back in 2006 “Evo” magazine had been running a manual coupe and giving it praise a plenty, so as far as I was concerned it came with good credentials.

Then there was the other significant factor.

The price.  Back then Joe Public didn’t seem to have an appetite for big engines, and most of the Coupes being sold had a pretty decent 2.0 litre 4 cylinder unit which knocked out 40 mpg when driven sensibly.

At this time the official importer had various V6s knocking about collecting dust, and a few dealers were gamely trying to flog them at the list price £19,995.  Just one was taking a different approach, and had one on Autotrader at £13,000.

Armed with this information I strolled into Renwicks Hyundai in Exeter (now long gone) and asked if they could price match.  The sales girl scurried into the manager’s office.

The answer was yes, and what’s more I had a choice of colour, and gearbox and all this for a new unregistered machine.

In red this 4 seater Hyundai looked a million dollars, and that’s what I ordered.

The car that arrived and it never ceased to give me that “feel good factor” when I looked at it from my bedroom window.

Here are the good bits;

Handled flat, with no ungainly roll to spoil my cornering.

Those looks.

A good old fashioned multi-dial dash.

Sun Roof.

Roomy when carrying my work paraphernalia.

It only lost £4,000 in 40,000 miles motoring.

Bad Bits;

Cheap interior finish, naff leather and rock hard seats.

Naff plastics.

Not really that quick.

Rear headroom, passengers had to duck if you shut the tailgate or risk being banged on the head.

Gearchange shudder at random times from 2nd to 3rd on light throttle settings, which in turn lead to a new box being fitted under warranty (which didn’t cure the problem).

Renwicks were incompetent, and eventually went bust.

Video Game or Reality?

In Europe, Hyundai on April 17, 2012 at 10:59 pm


Oh I do love a nice deserted autobahn.

Actually we were running about half a mile behind a new shape Mondeo estate, with 3 otherwise empty lanes to exploit.

Yesterday my pace was far more sedate, on roads I’ve driven umpteen times in daylight.

Except this time it was dark and it felt like I was sitting at a Playstation.

I didn’t wear out my tyres, bounce off walls, or indulge in a race.

It just felt weird to be alone on a wiggly highway with nothing but a steering wheel and the loud pedal to modulate.

And today I switched off winter tyres to summer boots, two of which set me back nigh on £300.

This 3.3 is a thirsty beast, but it rides speed humps with disdain and still ticks most boxes.  Mind you there is a nice 17,000 mile BMW 130i at Ocean which I may need to check out!

Follow that

In BMW, Hyundai, Travel on December 28, 2011 at 9:30 am

I know I’ve neglected this BLOG, but I haven’t forgotten how to buy a “new” car. As you’ll see from a previous post I was quite taken by my last purchase, a Hyundai Sonata 2.4 auto.

For all you badge snobs out there I can show you I really mean what I say.  I bought the 2.4 and ran it for a month until my son popped down to take official ownership.

The nett result was I was left with my Renault Wind, and as a main car I’m afraid it was found wanting.  All that road and wind noise finally took its toll.  After a long run to Belgium and back I decided to look for something more relaxing.

This is it.

Another Hyundai Sonata. Except this one has a 3.3 litre V6 and a 5 speed auto box.  Other useful toys include a chromatic dimming rear view mirror, nice sun roof and upgraded stereo with a 6 stack CD player in the dash and joy of joys a cassette player!  Driven gently it will turn in over 32 mpg, but using the power will see that figure drop to just 22!  That a very big “Ouch!” when you rock up at the pumps.

It still features a rather dreamy cruise control, which only works reliably on the felt or up hill.  So trips through specs cameras need to be watched with caution.

The boot is slightly smaller than on the 2.4 courtesy of a massive bass speaker in the back parcel shelf, and it also lacks the anti car jacking handle inside.  Mind you I’ve never been bundled into a boot by a car thief or kidnapper so that shouldn’t be a problem.

I really miss the integrated phone & i.pod system that was in the Renault.  And a map is not half as effective as our BMW 3 series integrated Sat Nav, but I am delighted by the “new” Sonata. It glides over speed bumps, howls when the accelerator s squeezed and has carried me over 3000 trouble free miles in our first month together.

In fact I’d have the lusty V6 Sonata rather than the allegedly frugal 2010 3 series every time.

More pictures to follow.

Oh, and I forgot to mention.  That was 4 cars purchased in a 12 month period!

Now we’re into 2012 it might be worth mentioning a few interesting developments.

1: I’ve now added winter tyres to the Sonata. Michelins up front, and Pirellis at the back.  They set me back £810, but allowed me to stay legal during early February in Scandinavia and Germany.

2: The grip they provided on icy lanes in Sweden, and fresh snow in Denmark and Germany was sensational.

3: I have fallen in love with the Autobahn, with a shallow downward slope the Sat Nav clocked me at 149 mph (whilst the speedo claimed 150 +).

Oh, and I averaged about 27.5 mpg on my Swedish jaunt.  Ferries & bridges cost me dear. The Severn Bridge into Wales cost about £8, but the bridge from Malmo to Copenhagen cost over £50!

Thinking about getting a BMW 335i SE Coupe I’ve seen up in Newport, but after doing 240 high speed miles in relaxed comfort today not sure I need to.  Mind you 22 mpg isn’t very good, must squeeze the pedal more gently in future.


New Addition to the Fleet

In Hyundai on August 11, 2011 at 11:19 pm

At 11:00pm this evening this Sonata was added to the Biggs fleet.

For only the second time since 1995 I’ve actually bought a car privately, rather than through a trader or franchised dealer.

The plan is to run it as a relaxing tourer as my Cornish Coast Path walks run further and further away from home, and then after a few months pass it on to my eldest son.

I first drove a Sonata back in 2006 when I had a bright red Hyundai V6 Coupe.  I remember finding it accomplished, but not that exciting.  Back then I was trying out a 2.0 litre oil burner, but this time I have parted with cash for a 2.4 litre petrol auto.

There’s a scrape on the front bumper, and the vanity mirror light on the driver’s side doesn’t work. It’s got air con, but not climate control, leather but no electric adjustment, and a total absence of any service history!

On the plus side, it is £750 less than “book”, has what appears to be a genuine 11,358 miles on the clock, good tyres, a new battery and a full size spare.  The MOT runs to January 2012, and the tax until the end of June 2012.  At £3,250 I’d call that a bargain.

The big saloon has a comfy (but not sporting) ride, reasonable turn of speed and clocks 31 mpg on the odometer.

I’m looking forward to finding out if it is possible to enjoy motoring on a tight budget.

I’ll keep you posted.

UPDATE : November 2013

Well this one is still going strong. My son has added 25,000 miles since then. I only get to drive it once in a while, but this evening I appreciated the powerful headlights, comfy seats, but wondered if the ride was a bit more crash than I recall.

In terms of reliability this, and my 3.3 V6 Sonata both suffered sticking central loving on one rear door, and this one need several mechanics before the slow fuelling issue was resolved.