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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
  • Outright performance, sheer pace, drivability; Cornering finesse; General dynamics; Engine note on the fly; Braking power (Performance Package); Surprisingly honest and appealing car

  • Needs to be sharply priced; Pirelli tyres a bit finicky on some surfaces; No automatic option (for now)

Volkswagen Golf
  • Extras stack up to decent value for the extra $2500 outlay; Still the great all-rounder of the hot hatch pack; Premium execution in areas from a non-premium manufacturer

  • More outlay without any hike in pace or performance; Comes up a little short on ten-tenths talent in spite of 'R for Race'; $10K pricier than the no-slower, forthcoming R Grid Edition

Honda Civic
  • Still a frenetic revver, yet this time with greater driveability; Highly satisfying gearshift and clutch operation; Great steering, handling, brakes; Relative ride comfort; Spot-on driving position and seat support; Looks like a five-door Touring Car

  • Relatively expensive for a front-drive hot hatch; More low-down torque would still be welcome; Styling won’t be to everyone’s tastes; Some buzzes and rattles in our test car; Tyre roar on coarsest surfaces

Holden Astra
  • Willing and refined engine; Upmarket look and feel; Spacious boot; Strong value for money; Standard safety tech; Great ride/handling balance; Efficient

  • It's a little dull; No blind-spot monitoring or adaptive cruise; No rear air vents; Narrow width hinders rear-seat practicality

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 iDrive 6 infotainment is excellent, likewise the dials; Engine and gearbox make a great combo; Cabin ambience feels more premium than the price

  • Slight hesitation in the driveline at low speed; Cabin isn't as clever as it could be in terms of storage

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
  • It's got more grunt, so it's quicker, and handling is much improved; Range is decent for a pure EV; More kit; Interior uses eco materials and looks cool; Price has barely increased; Good space

  • Drive it hard and its range drops fast; Quirky looks won't impress everyone; Boot space isn't great