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

By James Whitbourn, 16 Sep 2015 Best Value Cars

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

Kia tops hard-fought podium

Kia tops hard-fought podium.

Kia Cerato S

Kia -Cerato -SNOTHING can beat a Kia warranty – seven years and unlimited kilometres – which brings enviable peace of mind, even in something you’d expect little trouble from, such as our category champ, the Cerato S.

Here, however, it’s not just a long warranty that seals the deal. The Kia is among the least expensive to buy of the entry-level small car set, which helps offset its retained value forecast of only 57 percent.

Fuel consumption is good at 6.6L/100km; some rivals do better, but they demand 95 octane while the Cerato happily sips regular 91. Top it off with inexpensive insurance ($730) and you have a sure-fire cash-saver.

Mazda 3 Neo

Mazda -3-NeoPODIUM finishes must be a familiar feeling for Mazda’s venerable small car, which often tops the sales charts. The Mazda kicks off with 64 percent retained value and follows up with frugality (5.8L/100km) and a long service interval (12 months).

Skoda Rapid Spaceback Ambition

Skoda -Rapid -Spaceback -AmbitionTAKING a light car platform and expanding on it is the Rapid's winning recipe. The hatch's interior is larger than its VW Polo-based cousin, and at $18,990 the practical wagon-like body is an even better buy.

Small Cars under $25K Kia Cerato S man Mazda 3 Neo man Skoda Rapid Spaceback Ambition man
Purchase Price $19,990 $20,490 $18,990
Combined cycle fuel (L/100km) 6.6 5.8 5.4
Fuel RON (min. rec.) 91 91 95
Three-year fuel cost $3767 $3311 $3282
Redbook resale (%) 57.0 63.7 59.5
Three-year depreciation $8596 $7438 $7691
AAMI insurance premium $730 $804 $731
Service interval (months) 12 12 12
Warranty (years) 7 3 3