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CarAdvice

Small Cars Under $40k

Volkswagen Golf
1
  • Still looks sharp, inside and out; Strong engine and slick DSG; Interior technology is strong

  • Ride suffers on big wheels; The GTI has gotten pricey; There's no more manual option

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
  • Characterful engine and surprisingly decent CVT; Full-monty ZR looks; Impressive ride and handling balance; Improved ownership credentials

  • Like it or lump it infotainment; Inconsistent safety and convenience systems; Yep... That tiny boot space again

Honda Civic
  • Manual gearshift is delightful; Finely honed handling; Ride quality in Comfort; You'll stand out

  • Wild looks aren't for everyone; Missing the central rear seat; Infotainment and rear-view camera are below par

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
  • Sleek looks; Premium cabin; Punchy 2.0 turbo; Real-world efficiency; All-round competence; Decent equipment list;

  • Expensive; It's a bit boring; road noise gets a bit loud on rough highways; lacks some luxury items you'd expect for this price; Tight rear seat

BMW 1 Series
  • Roomier back seats and boot; Impressive cabin materials and tech; Muscular and efficient new turbo-four; Comfortable ride, direct steering, agile handling

  • No warmed-up 125i successor yet; Removal of inline-six and RWD may irk purists; No chance of a mega A45/RS3 competitor

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