It’s not often the case that the best drives turn out to be the most cost-effective cars to own, but that’s certainly true of the Mazda CX-3 Neo.
In what is almost a clean sweep of the scoring fields, the Mazda is the least expensive to buy, with an identical 12-month service interval and three-year warranty as its nearest rivals, an equal-best three-year retained value of 50 percent, and the least costly insurance premium – just $620.
The only area in which the CX-3 doesn’t lead the pack is fuel consumption. But then the 109kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder is hardly thirsty at 6.3L/100km and it’s bigger than the engines in its rivals. In terms of aesthetics, the CX-3 strikes a cool look that transcends its size, genre and price-point, which for some could be worth $19,990 on its own.
Suzuki’s latest Vitara is an attractively styled, practical baby SUV that’s decent to drive and goes straight to the top of the class in terms of value, thanks to an efficient petrol four, sound three-year resale and inexpensive insurance.
A brilliantly efficient – and characterful, if not powerful – 1.2-litre three-cylinder makes the featherweight Pug 2008 Active the miser among the Small SUV placegetters while delivering a supple ride, fun handling and surprising interior space.
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