AA Buyer's Guide: Playful but practical new-car choices
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Buying a new car is a “bucket list” item for some drivers - we often hear about how good that new car smell is, as well as the other benefits like warranty programmes and the latest safety and entertainment technology.
So it’s a real life goal. Once you’ve saved up enough money to start searching for that sparkly new machine, you may have a dilemma on your hands. Do you choose a performance car you have always dreamed of owning, or do you go for something bigger with the practicality to stow larger items and cater to the family? What if you didn’t need to compromise and could have both? Here are three performance cars which are also very practical, all available for under $70,000.
Skoda Octavia RS (from $57,990)
The new Skoda Octavia RS is brand new for 2021, and is the perfect family wagon with a bit of added “oomph”.
Eighteen-inch alloy wheels, red brake callipers, with gloss black grille, window trims and roof rails really make this wagon stand out from the road. Power memory seats, aluminium pedals and Alcantara upholstery with red stitching really help maintain a sporty feel in the cabin.
Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is included as standard, and so too is wireless smartphone charging.
Powered by a 2.0-litre 180kW TSI powerplant producing 180kW/370Nm, mated to a seven-speed DSG transmission, the Octavia RS can get from 0-100km/h in 6.7 seconds. Combined consumption of 6.4l/100km and CO2 of 146g/km are an impressive combination.
It’s also a practical wagon, with a class-leading boot capacity of 640l (up 30L over the previous model). It’s not just the storage that has increased – it’s 22mm longer and 15mm wider than its predecessor.
It also comes complete with a host of safety equipment, including Crew Protect Assist, and Lane Assist with braking reaction to vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.
Kia Stinger GT Line (from $64,990)
Kia has refreshed its sportiest model, the Stinger, with minor tweaks for the 2021 year.
There’s an upgraded 10.25-inch infotainment system that’s a vast improvement over the old one. The system includes a Harman Kardon Premium Sound System with integrated Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Still powering the Stinger GT line is a 2.0 T-GDi engine with a twin-scroll turbocharger, which can thrust you from zero to 100km/h in 6.2 seconds, producing 182kW at 6200rpm. The Stinger has fuel economy of 8.8l/100km and CO2 of 201g/km.
The power is delivered via a traditional eight-speed automatic transmission, which drives the rear wheels, adding another level of excitement and personality.
Storage-wise the Stinger is well equipped for a family saloon, with 406 litres.
The Stinger was awarded a five-star ANCAP rating, with the implementation of key ADAS systems in 2017.
Cupra Ateca VZ (from $66,900)
The Cupra Ateca VZ is a competent five-seat SUV. It’s manufactured by a brand that’s relatively new to the block. Cupra is the motorsport/performance division of Spanish brand Seat, and part of the Volkswagen Group.
The Ateca flaunts daring 19-inch machined sport silver wheels, which are paired with Cupra’s sport suspension for better dynamics.
The soundtrack is rich, which adds to the driving experience, and if that wasn’t sweet enough then the Beats Audio System with a 340W amplifier and surround sound is sure to do the trick.
At the heart of the Cupra Ateca is a 2.0-litre TSI engine connected to a swift seven-speed DSG transmission. The turbocharged four-cylinder produces 221kW/400Nm, enough to reach 100km/h in just 4.9 seconds from a standing start. This equates to fuel consumption of 7.7l/100km and CO2 of 175g/km.
The Cupra’s XDS Electronic differential lock system maximises road holding and improves cornering for enhanced safety. Safety systems like Front Assist, City Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Protection, Adaptive Cruise Control and Side Assist & Exit Assist (Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert) all come as standard.
Even with the performance pedigree, it still has practicality with a decent 485 litres of storage. You can even connect a towbar to put the power to good use – the Ateca has a 2100kg braked towing capacity.