Wheels' Gold Star car award uses data such as depreciation and running costs to calculate what the best value new cars in eight different segments are. To understand how we calculate the numbers and what considerations were put into the algorithm, read the 2019 Gold Star Car Award 101 here.
The top 3 mainstream hatch contenders
- Kia Picanto S
- Mazda 2 Neo
- Honda Jazz VTi
What the numbers said
Sub-light cars can be a false economy – not cheap enough to be worth the saving over a light car and much the same money as a good newish used small car. None of that is true of our sub-light – and overall Gold Star Cars 2019 – champion. The Kia Picanto S might only be about $1000 less costly than many light cars, but the fact it’s not a lesser option – just a smaller option – means it still adds up.
You see, while some sub-lights are a bit sub… standard, the Kia looks good, steers and handles well, and goes all right with a 62kW 1.2-litre engine pulling 976kg. The depreciation cost of owning a Picanto over the first three years is less than almost any other new car. The baby Kia uses just 5.0L/100km officially, on regular unleaded, without any fancy eco-tech.
The 12-month service interval makes complete sense for such a mechanically conventional and simple machine, and Kia’s industry-standard seven-year warranty seals the deal.
Toyota Corolla SX $26,870
It’s no surprise a sub-light hatch got the top gong given cheap-as pricing, but for a bit more space and substance, the mid-spec Toyota Corolla SX looks sharp and is packed with gear: adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, LED headlights and an 8.0-inch touchscreen, along with dual-zone climate control, wireless mobile charging, sat-nav, and keyless entry and start.