Best Value Small Cars 2016

If you’re looking for a new car on a small budget, then you might need to go small. Using the research done by our friends at Wheels for the 2016 Gold Star Value Awards we’ve taken a look at Australia’s best value small cars for this year.

Kia Cerato

More than 2000 cars were evaluated for the 2016 Wheels Gold Star Value Awards, evaluating the key selection criteria of depreciation, insurance, fuel, purchase price, real cost, service and warranty


  1. Suzuki Celerio

The Suzuki Celerio is one of the cheapest cars available in Australia. It’s got plenty more going for it: a roomy cabin (for a micro car, anyway), and it’s surprisingly fun and smooth to drive. It may have a tiny 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine, but it’s one of the most fuel efficiency cars in this segment (4.7L/200km). According to Wheels “Celerio is the second least-expensive car to insure of the whole field, while a 46 percent three-year retained value forecast means it sheds just over $7000 in three years, which is less than any other Gold Star contender”. Its downsides, however, include no cruise control, a flimsy cargo cover and a three-year, 100,000km warranty.

Suzuki Celerio
  1. Kia Picanto Si
Kia Picanto Si
  1. Holden Spark LS
2016 Holden Spark


  1. Mazda2 Neo

“As well as being easier on the back pocket than a big, powerful car, the Mazda2 Neo will save a few bucks compared to its classmates by being a bit more economical and having longer service intervals,” was the wrap of the Mazda2 from Wheels. Costing just $14,990 to $11,583 over three years, the Mazda2 epitomises value. The Mazda is fun to drive and easy on fuel using just 5.4L/100km (compared to the micro Holden Spark which uses 5.8L/100km).

Mazda2 NEO
  1. Hyundai Accent Active
  1. Toyota Yaris Ascent
Toyota Yaris


  1. Mazda 2 Maxx

In this segment, the result is similar to the under $17k category, only this time your extra spend nets you a few more bells and whistles. The extra $2700 of the MAXX makes it $17,690 which gets you a more powerful engine (1.5-litre four-cylinder), improved fuel efficiency (5.3L/100km), better resale and more driving enjoyment.

Mazda 2 Maxx
  1. Suzuki Swift GL Navigator
Suzuki Swift GL
  1. Kia Rio Premium
Kia Rio S


  1. Kia Cerato S

The Kia isn’t the cheapest of these three, nor is it the most economical compared to the third-placed Peugeot 308 Access. But the Cerato S has several things going for it, not least of which is that it’s the least costly to insure ($570 per year) and Kia’s seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty. It’s for these reasons that the $19,990 Kia Cerato S finishes on the top of the podium for this group.

Kia Cerato S
  1. Hyundai i30 Active
Hyundai i30
  1. Peugeot 308 Access
Peugeot 308


  1. Hyundai i30 Active CRDi

The Hyundai i30 is one of Australia’s best-selling small cars, and it has that title for good reason. While the Cerato may have topped the previous podium, the i30 Active CRDi takes on the under $35,000 segment thanks to its thrifty 1.6-litre turbo-diesel engine which uses just 4.9L/100km (compared to the Cerato S Premium’s 7.1L/100km). In saying that, this is the base model i30, while the Cerato is top spec, so your choice sits between frugality or gadget count. It comes with a five-year warranty, a decent 12-month service interval and a low insurance bill - albeit not the cheapest.

Hyundai i30
  1. Kia Cerato S Premium
Kia Cerato
  1. Honda Civic VTi-S
Honda Civic VTI-S


  1. Audi A1 Sportback 1.5 TFSI

If you’re one for creature comforts and a touch of class, while stilling driving something nimble enough to traverse the city, then this segment will probably interest you. Sure, there are small cars out there that cost less, but just because you’re willing to spend more doesn’t mean you’re not chasing value. The Audi A1 Sportback has an attractive interior, uses just 4.2L/100km in fuel from its three-cylinder turbo engine, and low-cost insurance of $871, just $54 behind the Mini Cooper.

Audi A1
  1. Mini Cooper
Mini Cooper
  1. BMW 118i


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