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CarAdvice

Light Cars Under $25k

Volkswagen Polo
1
  • Impressive powertrain; confidence-inspiring dynamics; comfortable interior; modern infotainment system; value of driving comfort package

  • Expensive servicing; sports package affects ride comfort; engine requires premium unleaded petrol

Suzuki Swift
  • Familiar agile dynamics; radar cruise for less than $20k; optional turbo engine has character; good value, with one notable exception

  • No touchscreen on base GL manual; GLX Turbo is auto-only; AEB not on lower grade versions; cabin trims still cheap in places

Mazda 2
  • AEB across the range; standout exterior and interior design; one of the more agile and fun-to-drive little offerings out there; no price increase

  • Not very spacious in the rear, even by class standards; no Apple CarPlay/Android Auto; Neo still lacks rear-view camera

Honda Jazz
  • Most versatile and spacious cabin in class; safety; good value at entry level

  • Outdated media system; too expensive in higher trim; not as enjoyable to drive as class leaders

Kia Rio
  • Brilliant chassis and suspension tune; Engine and DCT are nicely matched and provide enough fun; Compact exterior belies cavernous interior and space

  • No on-board satellite navigation means phone only; No manual option available for buyers so inclined; Ride can be firm, but only on really poor surfaces

Light Cars Over $25k

MINI Cooper
1
  • Endlessly appealing design; City-friendly ride comfort; Silent, and quick off the mark; No lost cabin space

  • Driving range won’t suit everyone; 150kg of unavoidable added weight; Supply looks pretty tight for Australia

Citroen C3
  • Stands out; Decent standard equipment; Comfortable and refined drive; Willing 1.2L engine

  • It's pricey; Plenty of budget-feeling cabin finishes; Limited personalisation options; Tight back seat; Engine runs out of puff at higher speeds

Audi A1
  • Gorgeous design inside and out; Digital widescreen dash display; Agile handling; Easy to park

  • Not everyone will enjoy the three-cylinder thrum or the at times jerky twin-clutch auto; Expensive

Peugeot 208
  • Big performance; Exclusivity; Beefy looks; Practical boot; Interior add-ons look the goods; Lots of character; Five-year warranty

  • Harsh ride will be too firm for some; i-Cockpit will polarise; Tight back seat; Expensive servicing; There are only 20 of them

Renault Zoe
  • Compact and easy to drive in and around the city; Well-sorted ride on poor-quality roads; Range of charging rates available

  • Feels quite cheap in and around the cabin; High price tag given the package; Lack of basic safety technology; Soon to be outpriced by a number of competitors