Australia’s best-value cars: Small cars under $24,000

By Jez Spinks, 20 May 2017 Car Advice

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Australia’s Best-value Cars: Small cars under $24,000

The small car category is one the most competitive and contains three of the top five biggest selling cars in Australia.

Small cars may have ceded some of their popularity to SUVs but for now they remain firmly entrenched as Australia’s favourite vehicle type.

With the end of financial year approaching on June 30 , this is also a particularly good time for bargain hunters as manufacturers and dealers aim to clear stock and hit important targets.

To help you go beyond great deals, WhichCar’s sister brand Wheels crunched the numbers on a multitude of ownership factors to establish which small cars offer the best value in their class.

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Wheels’ Gold Star Car awards scored cars out of 100. Real costs comprising three-year depreciation and a year’s insurance and fuel expenses accounted for 80 per cent of the score, with 10 per cent each for servicing costs and warranty.

The upshot in the most affordable bracket for the Small Car class is a gold star for the entry-level version of the Kia Cerato

The Kia Cerato S trim grade makes a good start by squeezing under the psychological $20,000 barrier with a sharp $19,990. You can also factor in cheap insurance and a decent resale value (49 per cent), while the Kia drinks the most affordable petrol (91 unleaded), even if its 7.1 litres per 100km fuel consumption is above average.

Its trump card, however, is a benchmark seven-year warranty, which offers four years of extra peace of mind beyond the industry average of three.

The latter hurt the Bronze-medalled Peugeot 308 Access, which otherwise offers the lowest running costs of the top three over three years – aided by superior fuel consumption (4.6L/100km) that is slightly offset by the fact the French hatch drinks more expensive premium unleaded.

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Hyundai’s i30 Active slipped ahead for silver. Its $21,450 starting price is higher, but its five-year warranty is still generous even if shorter than that offered by sister brand Kia, and its key advantage is strong resale of 56 per cent.

Until June 30, the Kia Cerato S is being offered with free on-road costs at $19,990 driveaway. The price applies to both the manual and automatic transmission versions, meaning there’s an even bigger saving for the latter.

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Hyundai’s deal for the i30 Active auto isn’t strictly an EOFY offer as it lasts only until May 31, though it may be extended. A $21,990 driveaway price adds only $500 to the Active’s RRP, while a $1000 gift card is also thrown into the equation.

There are currently no offers for the Peugeot 308 Access.