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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  • Outdated media system; too expensive in higher trim; not as enjoyable to drive as class leaders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
  • Easy to understand controls and infotainment; Roomy interior and boot; Urban-friendly clutch and gearshift

  • Ho-hum engine performance; Needs AEB at least; Equipment looks slim next to the Picanto

Light Cars Over $25k

MINI Cooper
1
  • Muscular performance; Rorty exhaust note; High cornering speeds; Digital instruments;

  • Torque steer on wide-open throttle; Uncompromising ride; Incessant tyre roar; High price tag;

Citroen C3
  • Comfortable, spacious cabin; Comfortable urban ride; Added safety equipment since launch

  • Huge price premium against competitors; Questionable cabin and build quality; Underdone AEB system

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

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