Some of Australia’s best-selling small cars – and a few that want a bigger slice of the small-car pie – are due for significant upgrades in 2017. Here’s WhichCar’s pick of them.
The French brand’s latest-generation city car is unlikely to set the sales charts ablaze but it will certainly be one of the more interesting propositions if confirmed for Australia. Styling – particularly the ‘Airbump’ side protection panels – is inspired by Citroen’s quirky Cactus hatch. A leaf is also taken out of the Mini book on customisation, with 36 different roof/body colour combinations possible. The Facebook generation will also appreciate an HD camera that can record journey photos and video for social media posts.
The car that has done more than any other to change perceptions of the Hyundai brand moves onto generation number three in April. There’s a further maturing of the Euro-style five-door’s styling, with a more upmarket interior – complete with prominent infotainment display – to match. Hyundai is promising more responsive handling from a car that is 30mm longer than before but lighter and stiffer. Regular i30s locally will take the current SR trim grade’s unassisted 2.0-litre four-cylinder, while the new SR will switch to a 1.6-litre turbo four borrowed from the Hyundai Tucson SUV and Veloster hatch.
South Korea releases another important new-generation small car next year – the fourth version of the Kia Rio due in quarter one. The Euro-centric styling will be a five-door-only affair, with the previous three-door variant dropped. A more upmarket interior is claimed to feature class-leading cabin space, and the boot is a good size for the segment – 325 litres. The range of petrol and diesel engines grows with a new 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo engine entering the fray, offered with either 73kW or 88kW of power. A sportier GT model is also in the pipeline.
Suzuki’s most popular car in Australia will emerge in fourth-generation form next year. Curves look set to be replaced by angles for the design, judging by spy images – though the Swift’s characteristic wraparound glass/floating roof effect will be retained. Components are shared with Suzuki’s other light car, the Suzuki Baleno, including platform and a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder. The faster Sport variant is tipped to gain the Vitara SUV’s 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder. We’re also hoping rumours of a return of a Swift GTi hot-hatch are true.
The German hatchback is already considered the classiest in its field, yet a major 2017 update is set to further raise its levels of sophistication – especially inside the cabin. Bigger and more advanced infotainment display systems will include the availability of a digital instrument cluster and a segment-first ‘swipe’ action gesture control. Driver aid options will include Traffic Jam Assist, giving the Golf autonomous driving capability in low-speed commuting. A couple of new 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engines join the line-up, while the famous GTI hot hatch will gain more power.
2017 Top 5 Small Cars
|Citroen C3||$ TBC|