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Hyundai Matrix 1.6GSI - on sale now



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Pininfarina and Hyundai –do these words deserve to be together in the same sentence? The Korean manufacturer thinks so, and proudly boasts the Italian design house’s styling input on its Matrix mini-MPV.

Not that the input is outwardly clear. The Matrix has bland, hard-edged styling that could be more overlooked than a turner of heads. But customers in the market for a good value mini-MPV will delve a little deeper.

What they would find is a car that is impressively equipped: ABS, power steering, electric windows and mirrors, alloy wheels, air con, driver, passenger and side airbags as well as a CD player and immobilizer on a car that costs less than £11,000.

There’s even the option to upgrade to leather upholstery, sat nav and metallic paint.

The interior is well laid out, albeit with a whiff of cheapness, but it’s roomy enough for four adults.

The height-adjustable front seats allow good headroom for six-footers and there’s plenty of storage space, including seven (count ’em) cup holders. Rear passengers get fold-out dinner trays and, interestingly, the front seats fold completely flat to, as Hyundai puts it, create a full length sleeping area.

The centrally-mounted instrument binnacle won’t be to everyone’s taste but looks stylish and clear. Power comes from a nippy 1.6-litre 102bhp petrol engine, claimed to return 38mpg. The Matrix behaves equally well in town and on the motorway, although the road noise is excessive at higher speeds.

Parking is a doddle thanks to its 4,025mm length (the shortest in its class). For those who are a bit nervous, rear parking sensors are available as a dealer fit optional extra.

CAP residuals of just £4,000 after three years or 30,000 miles (37% of its original price) look poor at first glance, but the Matrix actually stands up better than its rivals (below), except for the Kia at 41%.

Strengths:Size, price and easy to park
Weaknesses: Not the best looking
Opportunity:Better spec than rivals
Threat: Buyers could be put off by styling
USP: Effortless drive
Price: £10,995
Engine: 1.6Gsi 102bhp
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Performance: 0-62mph: 12.7sec; top speed: 106mph
Efficiency: 39.8mpg; 174g/km CO2
CAP RV 3yr/30k: £4,000 (37%)
Rivals: Vauxhall Meriva, Chevrolet Tacuma, Kia Carens, Mitsubishi Space Star

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