Doing what we do, CarAdvice writers are often asked by friends and family, and through our contact page: Which car is best for me?
Most buyers can identify the top three non-negotiable factors that will guide their purchase decision. But… where to from there?
In this series, we look at these cases and single out three cars that fit the brief. If there are more than three, we’ll highlight the three models that have scored well in past CarAdvice reviews.
Jett is looking for a first car and has a budget of up to $20,000. This Queensland surfer wants something ‘fairly fast and sporty’ that can carry a surfboard.
Being a P-plater, the car has to have a power-to-weight ratio of 130-kilowatts per tonne or less if manufactured on or after January 1, 2010, or if it’s an older vehicle then there are a number of restrictions.
P-platers can’t drive a car with eight cylinders or more, with turbo- or supercharged engines that aren’t diesel, with rotary engines bigger than 1146cc or engine modifications that require approval under section 13 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Vehicle Standards and Safety) Regulation 2010.
Jett may be able to find a used car that meets the criteria, but doesn’t want one with more than 80,000km on the clock. We’re going to suggest a few new cars that may be of interest, as close to the following as possible:
The restrictions on new drivers are there to help keep them safe and, compared to a lot of older used cars, Jett may find a new car actually feels faster than expected.
A word of advice, Jett: Get yourself a fast, fun car when you have an Open licence and can enjoy it. Until then, a new car with something of a sporty feel could be just the ticket.
Looking through the list of the required price point there aren’t any new cars that would be off-limits, so we’ll find the ones that have a decent power-to-weight ratio or that have a bit of a sporty look about them.
The Hyundai Accent has just been updated for 2017 and is now available in a single specification – the Accent Sport which will start at $15,490 before on-road costs.
It has a 1.6-litre four cylinder petrol engine that produces 103kW and 167Nm, teamed with either a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed automatic for $17,490.
The Accent has a bit of a sporty feel, with 16-inch eight-spoke alloy wheels, sports steering wheel and gear knob as well as a raft of features including a 5.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and cruise control.
A roof-mounted surfboard carrier will make it easy to hit the beach and keep sand and wax out of the car, and for peace-of-mind Hyundai offer a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty.
Another option in the light-car segment is the Skoda Fabia wagon, priced at $20,990 driveway for the 81TSI with a 1.2-litre four cylinder petrol engine that produces 81kW and 175Nm, teamed with a seven-speed DSG.
Although the Rapid Spaceback is in the small car segment, the Fabia wagon is almost as long and offers a little more cargo space, 505-litres with the rear seats in play. Roof racks are again available to help with lugging the surfboard around, though it would fit in the car with a bit of seat manoeuvring.
The Fabia is full of interesting features like an umbrella tucked under the front passenger seat, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cruise control, a 6.5-inch touchscreen with rear-view camera, clever storage solutions and low-speed autonomous emergency braking. Like Hyundai, Skoda offer a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.
Or, hold out till next month for the 2017 update that will see the introduction of a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo engine that will be offered in two tunes – 70kW/160Nm and 81kW/200Nm.
You may fit a surfboard in this little SUV if you were prepared to give up the front passenger seat… but if not, whack a set of genuine accessory roof racks on and you’re in business.
The Suzuki Ignis is a newcomer to the market and the top spec GLX can be had for $19,990 driveway with a 1.2-litre petrol engine that produces 66kW and 120Nm, teamed with a continuously variable transmission. It’s light, nimble on its 16-inch alloy wheels, and is quite a bit of fun to drive.
Standard equipment includes a touchscreen with satellite navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, rear-view camera, Bluetooth, cruise control, leather steering wheel, HID headlights with LED daytime running lights, climate control and keyless start.
Suzuki offer a three-year/100,000km warranty.
The Kia Cerato S hatch or sedan costs just $19,990 drive away – with free auto at the moment. It has front and rear parking sensors with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a perky 2.0-litre petrol engine that produces 112kW and 192Nm. The Cerato S can be had with an optional 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that comes bundled with automatic headlamps for $500.
The 2018 Skoda Rapid Spaceback is due to arrive in September with a revised design, new 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, autonomous emergency braking and more technology. Pricing should stay around the current mark, which kicks off at $18,190 before on-road costs for the manual.
Want more of The Shortlist? Catch the growing series here.