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CarAdvice

Small Cars Under $40k

Volkswagen Golf
1
  • Still sharp, fun and engaging; New chassis smarts are good; Interior looks great and feels new

  • It'll cost around $65K on the road with all the fruit; Performance gains not visible at all times; Tough competition

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
  • Easy everywhere - to drive, live with, and use; Generous space in the back seat and boot; You can't beat the hybrid driveline!

  • The Navigation option doesn't feel worth it, especially with Apple CarPlay; Driver's seat could use some lumbar support; Even if you are just picking up the family takeaway, when you're in a Corolla, everyone assumes you work for Uber

Honda Civic
  • Cabin quality and storage are as good as the segment gets; Sense of balance and poise from the chassis is excellent; Blend of ride and handling is excellent

  • Infotainment system is due for an update and larger screen; Engine could be gruntier to edge RS closer to Type-R; Boot aperture is tighter than hatch and might deter some buyers

Mazda 3
  • Ride quality; Boot space; Great visibility versus the hatch

  • Thirsty; Handling characteristics are conservative; Second row is smaller than others

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