Diesel engines in small cars are not popular in Australia, but they are effective at keeping overall costs down.
The i30 CRDi’s 1.6-litre turbo-diesel engine is the Gold Star equivalent of bringing a sawn-off to a knife fight – its 4.9L/100km economy gives it the upper hand against the petrol Cerato (7.1L/100km) but it’s actually fair game as there’s no oil-burning alternative in the Kia showroom.
You’re paying a premium for the oiler in the base Active’s $26,350 price, while the extra on the upper-spec Cerato S Premium all goes into extra equipment. So what will it be, niceties or frugality? Given a substantial early lead on the fuel-saving front, this category was the Hyundai i30’s to lose. But the brand’s five-year warranty keeps it in the hunt with Kia, while smashing the Civic’s three-year cover. Similarly, the 12-month service interval is equal best. The i30’s annual insurance bill is within $4 of the category-cheapest Cerato, and it does well to equal the Honda’s 56 percent three-year resale to carry its lead over the line.
The Cerato out-specs the i30 and offers a six-speed auto rather than a manual for less money, then offsets its slightly greater fuel use with an industry-beating seven-year warranty and class-cheapest $657 annual comprehensive insurance premium.
Honda has its groove back with the tenth-gen Civic and it stacks up as good buying. A sticker price just $490 north of the category’s lower limit works with best-in-class 56 percent resale to minimise money shed in the initial years.
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