Two Japanese stalwarts and a surprise European appearance round out the small SUV affordable top three.
1st: Suzuki Ignis GL
The fact depreciation is by far the biggest component cost of ownership of any car allowed the Suzuki Ignis manual to ride its class-low $15,990 purchase price all the way to the top step of the podium. You see, despite its 45 percent three-year resale being out-done by most key rivals, being between $4500 and $11,000 less costly to buy in the first place means it will only lose about $8800 over the first three years, about $1500 less than the Mazda CX-3.
None can beat the 820kg, 1.2-litre Suzi’s 4.7L/100km official consumption – and only the 200kg-heavier three-pot Citroen C4 Cactus matches it – yet having saved plenty on the dealership and petrol station forecourts, the Ignis set about resting on its laurels, with an unremarkable three-year, 100,000km warranty and none-too-generous six-month/10,000km service interval. As long as the 271-litre boot is big enough, this is officially the value pick of the baby SUV set.
2nd: Mazda CX-3 Neo
We like the Mazda CX-3 for its stout resale and 12-month service interval, but we love its style, quality, handling and 2.0/six-speed manual verve. It’s the driver’s baby SUV, as long as you can fit your stuff in the 264-litre cargo bay.
3rd: Renault Captur Expression
Gallic cabin flair and flexible cargo capacity – 377 to 455 litres, with help from a rear bench on sliders – are the Renault Captur’s aces, along with turbo-triple parsimony and charm, a 12-month service schedule and a five-year warranty.