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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
  • Refined and frugal diesel; Proactive safety equipment; Cabin design and modern infotainment; Running costs, promised easy ownership

  • Elite spec could use a petrol option, at least; DCT felt less refined here than when matched to the SR's 1.6 turbo-petrol; Lane assist system an exceptiom

Volkswagen Golf
  • Easy, solid, and comfortable long-distance cruiser; top-notch seats and up-front comfort; engine and gearbox both positive and fuss-free over more than 870km of highway driving

  • Space and practicality for more than two passengers a potential weak point; choppy, poorer-quality and coarse-chip roads can challenge ride and cabin ambience; $1500 Driver Assistance Package is optional and doesn’t include lane-departure warning or lane-keep assist (which would be great)

Honda Civic
  • Biggest boot in the class; Good cabin storage and practicality; Perky turbocharged engine; Refined non-turbo is quiet and offers decent push, too; Steers and corners well

  • CVT gearbox can mean drivetrain is loud at times; Active safety kit only on the top model, and not optional in lower grades; Styling not to all tastes

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
  • 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
  • Engine note and character is spot on; handling and steering are a highlight; cabin is premium, insulated and comfortable

  • Options pricing can get expensive; wireless Apple CarPlay is a $500 option; conservative styling might not be to everyone's taste

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