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CarAdvice

Small Cars Under $40k

Volkswagen Golf
1
  • Engine and gearbox are as good as ever, especially on-track; Grip and AWD system add a layer of proficiency that no FWD can match; Cabin ambience and quality are first-class

  • Limited run means many of you will miss out; You'll have to deal with the 'it's still just a Golf!' crowd; Still no DAB+ radio, which we'd like to see standard

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
  • Improved rear seat and boot space; Long list of safety and driver assist tech; Quite enjoyable to drive around town

  • Missing some ZR hatch features; Big wheels dial back open-road comfort; Noise and vibration from transmission during spirited starts

Honda Civic
  • Superb ride quality; Good handling; Spacious interior; Excellent build quality

  • Sub-par infotainment system; Lacking active safety features; Uninspiring engine/auto; No rear vents

Mazda 3
  • The most upmarket small-car cabin in mainstream class; Astina brimming with driver aids; Excellent infotainment system; Satisfying dynamics

  • Front-end jolted by bigger, sharper bumps; 10,000km servicing intervals; Rear-vision restrictions; Boot size and rear legroom not exactly generous;

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
  • Strong mid-range performance, alluring exhaust note; Quick, response steering; Agile handling, superb all-weather traction; Improved ride; Clarity of digital instruments, infotainment functions;

  • Gruff low-end properties (on early prototype); Occassional jarring of gear shifts on loaded throttle (on early prototype); Excellent adaptive damping function a (likely) costly option;

BMW 1 Series
  • More interior room than its predecessor; Handy parking and reversing technology; Good looks, especially on the inside

  • Idle-stop and transmission are jolty; Sporty suspension makes for a rough ride; Sat-nav display is difficult to read; No Android Auto available yet

Mercedes-Benz B180
  • Spacious cabin; Excellent MBUX infotainment; Sharp exterior design; (Mostly) comfortable ride

  • 1.33-litre engine is breathless; Dual-clutch transmission has its quirks; Some cheap materials inside

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