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News & Reviews
Last 7 Days

Small Cars Under $40k

Subaru Impreza
  • Loaded with equipment, safety and spec for very reasonable money; Excellent chassis improves Subaru's already impressive Impreza lineage; Roomy cabin with a smorgasbord of features

  • Lacklustre powertrain in any Impreza variant, let alone the price-topping flagship version; Value equation not quite as compelling as the more affordable 2.0i-L variant; Over-styled interior treatment won't be to some prospective buyers' tastes

Hyundai i30
  • Superb engine with heaps of go and lag-free throttle response; Sublime chassis; Big stopping power; Loads of grip; Exhaust note; Equipment list and a five-year warranty

  • One- to two-year wait for dual-clutch transmission; Pricing will need to be competitive for a challenger brand

Volkswagen Golf
  • Unrivalled space, pace and luxury at $60k; New infotainment, LED headlights keep it cutting-edge

  • Active safety tech that costs extra; Australian cars are still de-tuned; No manual gearbox option

Honda Civic
  • Its polarising looks...for some tastes; Incredible dynamic competency for a front driver; Wickedly fast once you let it off its leash; A highly resolved package that delivers on its performance promises

  • Its polarising looks...for other tastes; Incessant tyre roar; Manual shift quality not quite as positive as go-fast Hondas of old; Not as playful as some rivals at a similar price

Holden Astra
  • Stacks of standard equipment (including AEB); Turbo 1.6-litre engine is a good thing; Transmission, steering, and ride all largely well sorted

  • Clunky ergonomics and some low-rent elements; No rear air vents; Struggles to excel in any one area

Small Cars Over $40k

Audi A3
  • Audi build quality; Interior fit and finish; Engine and transmission combination; Sophisticated exterior and interior design; Usable backseats for short drives

  • Noticeable scuttle shake; Super firm ride; Drivetrain can be laggy; Infotainment buggy with Apple's iOS 10

BMW 1 Series
  • The engine and exhaust sound is totally intoxicating; Smooth torque delivery via the eight-speed automatic gearbox; Excellent brakes and sharp handling; Adaptive sport suspension standard; Half the cost of a Volkswagen Golf R to service

  • Limited-slip differential a costly optional extra; Steering can be slightly dull in comfort mode; 95RON premium unleaded minimum

Mercedes-Benz A250
  • All-wheel-drive system adds assuredness through corners at speed; adaptive dampers transform the ride; drive mode select system changes character of the car; more equipment; revvy engine

  • Some low-speed gremlins from drivetrain; ride still a little terse; rear-seat and boot not massive by class standards

Citroen C4 Picasso
  • Interior is comfortable and flexible; incredible seating position and visibility; luggage space; second row seating is flexible; economy with enough performance for day-to-day running

  • Second row seats can be a little short on headroom for taller passengers; no diesel engine option; styling may polarise; price pits it against premium Euro product


BMW i3

BMW i3
  • Quirky-cool styling and a properly cool cabin; bigger battery pack a handy mind-at-ease upgrade; super quick acceleration; that excellent BMW iDrive infotainment system

  • Rear-hinged rear doors can be a challenge to work with; steering wheel adjustment tricky to use without losing view of the instrument display; inverted gear-shift order can take some getting used to