Hyundai has enough leg room, if you tighten your belt

THE rear seat of the Hyundai i20 has a little less leg room than most cars, but there's still enough space to check your iPad and make a phone call on the go.

After Senator John Madigan's cheeky call for the government to downsize its fleet cars, we decided to test one out.

Make the PM drive a Hyundai Getz, says Madigan

The Hyundai Getz, the model Senator Madigan recommended to become the new national Commonwealth car, is no longer on the market – its closest cousin is the i20.

We picked up an i20 Active from Peter Stevens Hyundai for a quick comparison with a Holden Commodore SV6 to test its suitability for our elected officials.

The back seat was a bit squishy for this 180cm reporter and could be a bit of a problem for larger politicians – but in this age of austerity we should all be doing a bit of belt-tightening.

The Commodore is, of course, more roomy and comfortable for long trips, and boasts more power and better handling. But are those things really that important?

The necessities are safety, reliability and the ability to get from one job to the next as efficiently as possible and on those measures the smaller car does just fine.

The i20 has a five-star ANCAP safety rating and Hyundai's build quality is commendable these days so reliability isn't likely to be an issue either.

The Active has bluetooth compatibility and hands-free so our politician can make phone calls on the go while driving, along with manual air conditioning so they can arrive in relative comfort as well.

The 1.4-litre engine has little over a third the power of a Commodore SV6 and its four-speed auto is not quite in the same class as the Holden's six-speed auto, but it is quite capable of cruising at 110km/h.

"My fellow politicians would feel very happy in the back seat of a Hyundai Getz, wouldn't they?" asked Senator Madigan.

We don't know if they'd be happy, but they'd get from A to B just fine.

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