Best Value Small Cars 2015

07 Oct 2015 Car Advice

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Best Value Small Cars 2015

For the best value in motoring, look no further.

These are the small cars that should cost you the least to own over three years. This has been calculated by Wheels using fuel economy, maintenance and insurance costs, and the sum you can expect to lose in depreciation. Cars also get points for the length of their warranties. To read about the brains behind the formula, please click here to visit Wheels.

BEST VALUE CITY CARS

1. Holden Barina Spark CD

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The Holden Barina Spark is the second-cheapest car of the 2000-odd we put through the wringer, and according to official figures uses just 5.2 litres of 91-octane petrol per 100km. But, while its resale is not bad at 65 percent, it’s bettered by our top three light-class contenders. While city cars are the cheapest new cars you can buy, there is better value in buying a slightly bigger and more expensive new car, because it will retain a bigger proportion of its new price over three years.

2. Suzuki Celerio

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3. Nissan Micra ST

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City Cars Holden Barina Spark CD hatch man Suzuki Celerio man Nissan Micra ST man
Purchase Price $12,890 $12,990 $13,490
Combined cycle fuel (L/100km) 5.2 4.7 5.9
Fuel RON (min. rec.) 91 91 91
Three-year fuel cost $2968 $2683 $3368
Redbook resale (%) 64.7 64.3 67.0
Three-year depreciation $4550 $4637 $4452
AAMI insurance premium $627 $627 $642
Service interval (months) 9 6 6
Warranty (years) 3 3 3

BEST VALUE LIGHT CARS UNDER $17K

1. Mazda 2 Neo

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Meet the car that’s not just the value pick of the light-car class, but the entire field. The Mazda 2 Neo is Australia's least expensive car to run in terms of three-year depreciation and fuel costs. So if you want to save money, buy a base Mazda 2. And it’s pleasing that, if you want to enjoy your driving in a light car, a 2 is good for that too.

2. Honda Jazz VTi

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3. Ford Fiesta Ambiente

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Light Cars under $17K Mazda 2 Neo man Honda Jazz VTi man Ford Fiesta Ambiente man
Purchase Price $14,990 $14,990 $15,825
Combined cycle fuel (L/100km) 5.4 6.2 5.8
Fuel RON (min. rec.) 91 91 91
Three-year fuel cost $3082 $3539 $3311
Redbook resale (%) 79.0 69.2 64.5
Three-year depreciation $3148 $4617 $5618
AAMI insurance premium $641 $641 $709
Service interval (months) 12 6 12
Warranty (years) 3 3 3

BEST VALUE LIGHT CARS UNDER $25K

1. Mazda 2 Genki

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Another price point, another Mazda 2 on top; clearly the Mazda’s value doesn’t dissipate as you work up through the range. The smart-looking Genki uses less fuel than the Neo, yet has a bit more power – win-win. There’s value in the fact the Genki features extra driver safety technology, plus other niceties to make it more satisfying to own and easier to sell when it’s time for a new one.

2. VW Polo 81TSI Comfortline

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3. Ford Fiesta Trend

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Light Cars under $25K Mazda 2 Genki man Volkswagen Polo 81TSI Comfortline man Ford Fiesta Trend man
Purchase Price $19,990 $18,590 $17,825
Combined cycle fuel (L/100km) 5.2 4.9 5.8
Fuel RON (min. rec.) 91 95 91
Three-year fuel cost $2968 $2978 $3311
Redbook resale (%) 76.3 65.6 64.7
Three-year depreciation $4738 $6395 $6292
AAMI insurance premium $726 $731 $724
Service interval (months) 12 12 12
Warranty (years) 3 3 3

BEST VALUE SMALL CARS UNDER $25K

1. Kia Cerato S

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Nothing can beat a Kia warranty – seven years and unlimited kilometres – which brings enviable peace of mind; even in something you’d expect little trouble from, such as our category champ, the Cerato S. The Kia is among the least expensive to buy of the entry-level small car set, which helps offset its retained value forecast of only 57 percent. Some rivals demand fuel with a 95 octane rating, while the Cerato happily sips cheaper 91.

2. Mazda 3 Neo

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3. Skoda Rapid Spaceback Ambition

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Small Cars under $25K Kia Cerato S man Mazda 3 Neo man Skoda Rapid Spaceback Ambition man
Purchase Price $19,990 $20,490 $18,990
Combined cycle fuel (L/100km) 6.6 5.8 5.4
Fuel RON (min. rec.) 91 91 95
Three-year fuel cost $3767 $3311 $3282
Redbook resale (%) 57.0 63.7 59.5
Three-year depreciation $8596 $7438 $7691
AAMI insurance premium $730 $804 $731
Service interval (months) 12 12 12
Warranty (years) 7 3 3

 BEST VALUE SMALL CARS UNDER $35K

1. Mazda 3 SP25

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It’s been a Mazda-fest so far! The money asked for Mazda’s SP25 mid-ranger gets you a small car with an appealing level of equipment, a bigger, gruntier 2.5-litre engine than under the bonnet of lesser versions, and enough style to draw in the punters. The 3’s excellent 66 percent retained value is largely responsible for its win, helped by a best-practice 12-month service interval.

2. Hyundai i30 Active diesel

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3. Volkswagen Golf 92TSI wagon

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Small Cars under $35K Mazda 3 SP25 auto Hyundai i30 Active auto Volkswagen Golf 92TSI Wagon auto
Purchase Price $25,190 $25,890 $25,840
Combined cycle fuel (L/100km) 6.5 4.9 5.3
Fuel RON (min. rec.) 91 D 95
Three-year fuel cost $3710 $2961 $3221
Redbook resale (%) 65.9 57.4 59.8
Three-year depreciation $8590 $11,029 $10,388
AAMI insurance premium $848 $837 $851
Service interval (months) 12 12 12
Warranty (years) 3 5 3

BEST VALUE PREMIUM SMALL CARS UNDER $50K

1. Audi A1 Sportback

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Audi appeal is just as potent in concentrated form. The A1’s classy cabin might be shrunken compared with, say, an A4, but it’s just as slick. You don’t even need to spend beyond the base model thanks to a likeable new 1.0-litre turbo triple, which teams brilliantly with the five-speed manual.

2. MINI One 3dr

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3. Peugeot 308 Allure HDi

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Premium Small Cars under $50K Audi A1 Sportback man 1.0 TFSI Mini One 3dr man Peugeot 308 Allure HDi auto
Purchase Price $26,900 $24,950 $35,290
Combined cycle fuel (L/100km) 4.2 4.9 4.1
Fuel RON (min. rec.) 95 95 D
Three-year fuel cost $2553 $2978 $2478
Redbook resale (%) 60.0 58.0 59.7
Three-year depreciation $10,760 $10,479 $14,222
AAMI insurance premium $858 $843 $999
Service interval (months) 12 12 12
Warranty (years) 3 3 3