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CarAdvice

Small Cars Under $40k

Volkswagen Golf
1
  • Flexible and economical if not hugely powerful turbocharged 1.5 mild-hybrid powerplant; Improved qualities of dual-clutch automatic gearbox; Heightened handling traits, composed and controlled ride; Practical new Innovision cockpit and digital functions; Excellent build quality;

  • Some noticeable cost-cutting measures; Not all touch control functions are as intuitive as traditional analogue buttons; Long wait until Australian sales begin;

Hyundai i30
  • Good looks - inside and out; plenty of kit; stylish cabin; excellent ride; decent handling; boot space with full-size spare; above average audio system; easy-to-use infotainment system

  • Entry-level engine a little lacklustre compared to higher-spec options; No AEB, and Traction control can be quite intrusive during spirited driving or harder acceleration; No rear air-vents or USB port

Toyota Corolla
  • Hugely improved over the outgoing sedan; Strong standard safety; Relaxed ride with decent handling; Rear seat and boot space over the hatch

  • Jiggly ride and road noise in the ZR; No hybrid for the ZR; Starting price is a touch high

Honda Civic
  • Decent equipment list; Keen dynamics; Supple ride; Spacious cabin and boot

  • Not as good value as lower grades; Doesn't feel particularly high end; Buzzy, uninspiring drivetrain; Road noise

Mazda 3
  • Strong value; Packed with kit; Overall comfort and refinement

  • Pokey rear seat and boot; 2.0-litre petrol lacks turbo shove; Plastic steering wheel

Small Cars Over $40k

Mercedes-Benz A200
1
  • Handsome exterior design; Brilliant widescreen dash display; Bigger boot than the hatch;

  • Price is expensive; Suspension is firm, noisy tyres; Limited rear seat space;

Audi A3
  • Characterful and willing 2.0-litre four-pot; Nice ride and handling; Plenty of extra kit for not much extra outlay

  • Sub-par warranty; Little in the way of creature comforts for the second row; Infotainment is long in the tooth

BMW 1 Series
  • Looks good, inside and out; Long list of standard equipment; Roomier cabin than before

  • Three-year warranty; Price increase and expensive options; Apple Car Play is now free but Android Auto is still coming

Volvo V40
  • Polestar Performance pack boosts grunt usability and adds those stunning 19-inch wheels; interior quality and fit-out is excellent; love those Thor's Hammer LED headlights

  • Not up to the task in terms of dynamics; engine can be gruff at idle; expensive when equipped with all the stuff you'd want

5

BMW i3

BMW i3
  • Improved real-world range; Studio-like interior accommodation; Dramatic styling left unchanged; Entertaining dynamics

  • High price against growing list of competitors; Infotainment and safety systems showing their age; Ride quality doesn't match urban aspirations