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News & Reviews
Last 7 Days

Small Cars Under $40k

Subaru Impreza
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  • 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
  • Loaded with technology and an excellent infotainment system; Plenty of torque and pep from its 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine; Manual gearbox fun to drive; Red SR highlights through the interior

  • Lacking in engine note at low speeds; Infotainment system won't accept voice commands without a cable paired phone; No AEB, and Traction control can be quite intrusive during spirited driving or harder acceleration

Volkswagen Golf
  • Power through the mid range and right up to redline; DSG or manual are both excellent options; AWD grip is incomparable under any conditions

  • Exhaust note isn't quite raucous enough in Race mode; Suspension will bottom out hard through sharp ruts; Infotainment display reflects fingerprints all the time

Honda Civic
  • Strong equipment list; LaneWatch a unique selling point; Sharp handling; Decent real-world economy

  • No AEB or lane departure warning, even as an option; Plenty of hard plastics; Intrusive tyre roar over coarse surfaces; Taller passengers may be tight for headroom in the back; Polarising rear design; Awkward USB positioning

Holden Astra
  • Local suspension tune is segment leading in overall terms; Pricing is sharp and there's a grade for everyone; Plenty of standard kit despite the lack of AEB across the range

  • Base model features hard plastic surfaces and doesn't feel premium; Some safety tech like AEB simply isn't available globally on the platform; Small sedans are a hard sell in Australia in 2017

Small Cars Over $40k

Audi A3
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  • Energetic engine offers zesty response; Good road manners; Sharp styling; Interior feels upmarket; Good safety kit and tech

  • Lacking a few items we'd expect at this price point; Some gearbox hesitation at times; Back seat is pretty tight for taller occupants

BMW 1 Series
  • Limited-edition is a little cynical, but it'll be a collectible some day; Alcantara and fibre cabin bits lift the cabin; The regular rear-drive six-pot M140i is a benchmark for driver engagement already

  • Auto versions don't get the mechanical LSD as standard; The 19-inch wheels don't help ride quality

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

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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