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Light Cars under $25k: Gold Star Value Awards 2015

By James Whitbourn, 16 Sep 2015 Best Value Cars

Light Cars under $25K: Gold Star Value Awards 2015

Up-spec versions can be thrifty

Up-spec versions can be thrifty.

Mazda 2 Genki

Mazda -2-GenkiANOTHER price point, another Mazda 2 on top.

If you’ve just read about how the Neo trumped its sub-$17K rivals, you can guess how it did it in more upmarket Genki form. Clearly the Mazda’s value doesn’t dissipate as you work up through the range.

The smart-looking Genki uses less fuel than the Neo, yet has a bit more power – win-win. The resale isn’t as good as its less-expensive sibling, but 76 percent of $20K retained after three years is still excellent, and the warranty and service intervals are good and great respectively.

There’s value in the fact the Genki features extra driver safety technology, plus other niceties to make it more satisfying to own and easier to sell when it’s time for a new one.

Core qualities such as the 2’s sweet manual gearshift action remain and the handling is sharpened on larger alloys and low-profile tyres.

VW Polo 81TSI Comfortline

Volkswagen -Polo -81TSI-ComfortlineVOLKSWAGEN’S baby is a refined, efficient and enjoyable effort. The mid-spec Polo’s 66 percent three-year retained value is solid and its 1.2-litre turbo four is equal parts frugal and flexible, though it does demand 95-RON premium.

Ford Fiesta Trend

Ford -Fiesta -TrendTHE Fiesta’s intimate and incisiveness steering is the highlight in this good-looking, fine-handling small Ford, but more pragmatic factors are 5.8L/100km economy (on regular unleaded), 12-month service interval and 65 percent residual.

Light Cars under $25K Mazda 2 Genki man Volkswagen Polo 81TSI Comfortline man Ford Fiesta Trend man
Purchase Price $19,990 $18,590 $17,825
Combined cycle fuel (L/100km) 5.2 4.9 5.8
Fuel RON (min. rec.) 91 95 91
Three-year fuel cost $2968 $2978 $3311
Redbook resale (%) 76.3 65.6 64.7
Three-year depreciation $4738 $6395 $6292
AAMI insurance premium $726 $731 $724
Service interval (months) 12 12 12
Warranty (years) 3 3 3