Not everybody has Donald Trump’s outlandish tastes, or Mark Zuckerberg’s financial reach when it comes to choosing a new car. We can’t all afford to park a six-figure supercar in the driveway, or feed fuel into a high-performance engine that’ll do 0-100km/h in less time that it takes to get your wallet out.
Sometimes, we need to choose our next new car with a mind for economy of ownership, and that means it needs to be fuel efficient, affordable to buy, cheap to insure and service, and we want to sell it on again one day at the highest possible price.
Luckily for the more financially pragmatic new car buyer, 2019 is shaping as a year of incredible riches, with a number of $mart choices headed for Australian roads. Here is our pick of the top ten new cars for the fiscally focused consumer.
An all-new iteration of Audi’s gateway hatchback.
Price range: $30-40K
Rivals: Mini Cooper, Fiat 500
Due Date: March/April 2019
Spun-off from the new Volkswagen Polo platform, Audi’s box-fresh second-generation A1 city hatch promises to inject a great deal more sophistication into the bottom end of the German brand’s product portfolio. Now measuring over four metres long it’s physically bigger than before, but a range of new powertrains – including a 1.5-litre turbo four with cylinder deactivation – move the mechanical game along as well. Inside there’s a greater sense of maturity in the cabin furnishings, plus plenty of infotainment tech.
BMW 1 Series
Baby Beamer is now less for the baby boomer with front drive
Due: November 2019
BMW is being pretty cagey on this one, but let’s have a swing anyway… Swapping to front wheel drive for the first time, the BMW 1 Series will still yield a performance variant – only this time it’s likely to mimic the M5 by offering all-wheel-drive in conjunction with a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine. This will pitch it up against Mercedes-AMG’s inbound A-Class hotties.
Previous generation: BMW 1 Series First drive
Given the potential change to a front wheel drive layout, it does put questions marks around the fate of cars like the M140i – it may well even be given a stay of execution until BMW’s first real FWD hot hatch is, err, hatched.
Ford Focus Active
A jacked-up version of the Focus for those with an outdoorsy bent
Price range: $29,990
Rivals: Subaru Impreza XV, Fiat 500X, Citroen C4 Cactus
Due Date: second-quarter
The Focus hatch has already received its full model changeover by now, but the family will grow when the Focus Active rolls into Ford showrooms in 2019.
Following a similar format to the Impreza-based Subaru XV but described by Ford as a passenger car rather than an SUV, the Focus Active will bridge the gap between the regular Focus hatchback and Ford’s bona-fide SUV line-up. The ‘missing link’, if you will. Only one engine, a 134kW 1.5-litre turbo petrol, will be offered, and the Focus Active is strictly front-wheel drive with an eight-speed automatic.
Mazda 3 – mid-2019
Mazda’s evergreen and much-loved all-rounder returns in its fourth generation
Price: $22,000 (estimate)
Rivals: Toyota Corolla, Hyundai i30, Kia Cerato, Volkswagen Golf
Due: June (approx.)
In the middle of the year Mazda Australia will change over its popular Mazda 3 range with an all-new generation hatch and sedan, and while local details such as range structure and pricing are still far from ironed out, the design of the new 3 shows that Mazda’s mainstay small car is set to be a real looker. The hatch and sedan will be quite visually distinct from the B-pillar rearward – certainly more so than the current generation – and the local powertrain line-up is likely to include Mazda’s innovative and ultra-efficient SkyActiv-X supercharged compression-ignition engine.
MG hopes to boost sales in Australia with its premium-equipped new-generation medium SUV.
Price range: $27,000 - $37,000 (estimated)
Due date: Late 2019
Rivals: Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV-4, Hyundai Tucson
Based on the X-Motion concept revealed at the 2018 Beijing Motor Show, the MG HS’s attractive lines appear to have been penned to directly take on the Mazda CX-5, with state-of-the-art driver assistance tech and German-rivalling upmarket cabin appointments to sweeten the deal. The latter includes a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 10.1-inch infotainment screen, soft-touch surfaces and eight-speaker Bose sound system. A gutsy 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine will be one of the engine options, with all-wheel-drive also available.
Returning South Korean ute brings sharp pricing, neat features and class-leading warranty
After a two-year hiatus, SsangYong is back on Australian turf with a factory backed operation and a four-model assault for its relaunch. Leading that charge is the Musso one tonner, which makes a good case for itself with standard AEB, enticing prices and an unbeatable seven-year warranty.