Best value car award
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 small SUV contenders
- Suzuki Vitara
- Renault Captur ZEN
- Mazda CX-3 Neo Sport
What the numbers said
Visual and driver appeal put the Mazda near the top of the average small-SUV buyer’s shopping list. Meanwhile, strong value credentials see it rise to the top when considered purely by the numbers.
It is elevated above the Renault Captur and Suzuki Vitara by having better three-year resale than the former and a lower entry price than the latter. The result, in theory at least, is a $1500 lower cost of depreciation over the first three years. The CX-3 is thirstier, with fuel economy at 6.3L/100km, but like the Vitara it is happy on the least-costly 91 RON.
Mazda’s newly offered five-year warranty is a big plus compared with the previous three-year cover yet merely sees it match rivals’ equally generous warranties here. The Mazda needs a service every 10,000km or 12 months, which for the average Australian will be more often than the Renault but a break on the Suzuki’s tight six-month schedule.
Finally, on insurance cost, all the placegetters are at the reasonable end, in the $600 to $700 bracket.
Mazda CX-3 Maxx Sport manual $23,690
If it was our money on the line, we’d spend the extra $1900 on a manual Maxx Sport. We rate it as a better choice than the entry-level Neo, seeing as it’s fitted with alloy wheels rather than hubcaps and provides more upmarket interior trim. The optional turbo-diesel and all-wheel-drive improve performance further (admittedly with a tag now pushing past $28K), and it’s one of the only small SUVs with AEB as standard.