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by Matt Campbell

Ashish needs a new family-friendly hatchback with lots of rear-seat leg room. The budget is $35,000.


Doing what we do, CarAdvice writers are often asked by friends and family, and through our contact pagewhich 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.


Ashish needs a new family-friendly small hatchback that can deal with his tall children.

This one is easy. Here are the three criteria:

  • Budget up to $35,000, must have rear-view camera
  • Petrol auto small hatchback
  • Big back seat space needed for tall children

There are a few big name models we wouldn’t suggest, due to cramped rear-seat accommodation. They include the Toyota Corolla, Renault MeganeMazda 3 and Volkswagen Golf, all of which are on the tighter side in the back. The Peugeot 308Honda Civic, Hyundai i30 and Ford Focus just miss the cut, too.

We’ve covered off nine of the best-selling small hatches in our recent mega test, but to fit the criteria, we’ve got three standout models for Ashish. Here’s his instalment of The Shortlist.


Holden Astra RS-V

While the Holden Astra isn’t the pick of the small car pack in some ways, there are certainly some redeeming features of this European-sourced model, including a big back seat.

The Astra’s back-seat space is outstanding – genuinely surprising given its dimensions as one of the shorter hatches in this class – with easily enough room for a six-foot-tall adult to slide in behind their own driving position.

There are some considerations, though. The side windows are smaller than some, the plastic trim is average, the halogen cabin lighting is dull, and there is no centre arm-rest between the outboard seats.

Given the budget, we’d suggest Ashish spring for the high-spec RS-V model, which has a punchy 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo engine, a smart six-speed automatic gearbox, and heaps of safety equipment, including the requisite rear-view camera plus advanced park assist (auto parallel and perpendicular reverse parking), front and rear parking sensors, autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and blind-spot monitoring. Sat-nav is standard too, and so is the latest smartphone mirroring technology, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The list price is $31,740 plus on-road costs, but on promotion at the time of writing, Holden is offering the six-speed auto for $32,240, drive-away, with seven years of warranty cover. Bargain!

MORE: Astra news, reviews and comparisons
MORE: Everything Holden


Subaru Impreza 2.0i-S

We’ve been impressed by the new Subaru Impreza, and back-seat space is one of the Japanese hatchback’s greatest attributes.

The small Subaru hatchback looks more modern than the two other cars we’ve got listed here, and the high-spec 2.0i-S model, at $29,190 plus on-road costs, is one of the best-equipped cars in the class.

It looks modern, with two crisp display screens, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, satellite-navigation and four USB inputs. It has a rear-view camera (but no parking sensors or automated parking system), forward-facing cameras with adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking and lane-keeping assist. The materials are excellent, with solid switchgear, lovely leather seats and fake carbon-weave trims. It looks and feels premium inside.

The rear seats are a bit flat, but there’s lots of room for those who are tall, and it’s one of the only hatchbacks on the market that will seat four adults comfortably for long distances.

Under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) automatic, and it has all-wheel-drive as standard. The boot isn’t big, but the rear seat makes up for that.

MORE: Impreza news, reviews and comparisons
MORE: Everything Subaru


Kia Cerato Si

We’re not suggesting the high-spec Kia Cerato SLi here, because it just doesn’t quite make enough sense for the money. Instead, we’re recommending Ashish take a look at the second-from-top model, the Si, which is listed at $28,990 plus on-road costs. We reckon there’s no chance this’ll be more than $30k on-road, given the Kia hatch is one of the older cars in the class.

With that said, the cabin is a bit dated with mixed plastics and textures, and the red font isn’t very modern. But there are niceties such as leather trim, electric driver’s seat adjustment, a large touchscreen with all the requisite smartphone trickery (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mirroring), a simple user-interface and satellite navigation.

There’s the required rear-view camera, plus front and rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring. If autonomous emergency braking is essential, the SLi will have to be the model chosen, while it also adds memory seat settings for the driver and a sunroof.

Rear seat space is good, and the back-seat occupants are treated to rear air vents, which the other two cars above miss out on. The seats are supportive and comfortable, and while it lacks a couple of the storage options of other cars in the class, it’s a very comfortable rear-seat environment.

The big plus for Kia, as we all know, is a strong ownership plan including a seven year/unlimited kilometre warranty, the same cover for roadside assist if you service it at Kia, and a seven-year capped-price maintenance plan, too. This is a value offering, even if it isn’t as flash as some of its competitors.

MORE: Cerato news, reviews and comparisons
MORE: Everything Kia


Want more of The Shortlist? Catch the growing series here. 

What are you looking for? Get our help here.




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