Light Car Under $25K: Gold Star Value Awards 2014

French domination a genuine surprise

Renault Clio Expression TCe 90

French domination a genuine surprise

1. Renault Clio Expression TCe 90
LET’S first tackle the elephant in the room: Why is it that, a price bracket up, the Clio and Mazda 2 change order, and where has the Jazz gone? There’s nothing sinister happening; it’s just that the battle raging in this class is a particularly close one, and subtle differences in price, resale and insurance premium shake up the order. Renault’s Clio takes the gong, while the Jazz is relegated to fourth.

The take-home message is that they’re all excellent buys. But the Gallic gold medallist tops them – by a slender 1.4-point margin – with a terrific 4.5L/100km official combined cycle fuel economy figure (albeit on 95-octane premium fuel) and a characterful, throbby triple-cylinder note. The Renault’s 66 percent three-year Redbook resale is reasonable, while the annual insurance bill is among the cheapest here at $933.

The brand’s adoption of an across-the-range five-year warranty counts for plenty. Without it, the Renault would slip to second. Meanwhile, the Clio’s 12-month service interval offers hassle-free motoring and cash-saving potential. Consider the driver appeal on offer for less than $18K (plus on-roads) and Renault’s baby is the archetypal Gold Star car.

2. Peugeot 208 Active
THE three-pot Peugeot goes close to Clio’s economy, but without the turbo torque. Betters its rival’s resale, at 70 percent, and matches it for cheap insurance and a 12-month service interval, but falls two years short of Renault’s five-year warranty, which is certainly a consideration on French cars.

3. Mazda 2 Maxx Sport hatch
WITH fuel economy to rival the pair of Frenchies above it, the Mazda 2 coodabeen a contender. In fact, a small but meaningful drop in fuel use would see it take out the category, and the next-gen 2, due in December, will bring that efficiency improvement.

Light <$25k Purchase Price Comb. Fuel (L/100km) Fuel RON (min. rec.) 3-year fuel cost Redbook resale (%) 3-year deprec. AAMI insurance prem. Service interval (months) Warranty (years)
Renault Clio Expression TCe 90 $18,290 4.5 95 $2739 66 $6219 $933.53 12 5
Peugeot 208 Active 1.2 $18,490 4.7 95 $2856 70 $5547 $951.86 12 3
Mazda 2 Maxx Sport hatch $17,440 6.4 91 $3653 72 $4883 $951.59 12 3

Notable classmates: Hyundai i20 5-dr Elite, Honda City VTi / Number of cars crunched: 13


How are you finding our new site design? Tell us in the comments below or send us your thoughts at


Subscribe to Wheels magazine

Subscribe to Wheels Magazine and save up to 44%
Get your monthly fix of news, reviews and stories on the greatest cars and minds in the automotive world.




2022 Renault Megane E-Tech Electric

First look inside the new all-electric Renault Megane

French automaker reveals glimpses inside the cabin of its first fully electric vehicle, and a cheeky shot of its rear-end too

7 hours ago
Kathryn Fisk

We recommend

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.