1. Mazda 3 Neo sedan
WHY the 3 sedan? It’s better looking. Okay, that's not particularly pragmatic; both the hatch and its booted brother offer the blend of cash-saving qualities that see the Mazda 3 dust off a 15-strong sub-$25K small car field.
Happily, the third-gen 3 adds economy to its list of high points. However, it’s solid showings across the board that help the Mazda to a well-deserved gong. The 3 is
happy on a low-octane fuel (91), strong on resale (77 percent), with an annual insurance premium on the cheap side at $934. And it conveniently only needs a 12-monthly appointment with the spannerman.
The Mazda’s only downfall is its three-year unlimited-kilometre warranty – not exactly stingy, but well short of industry-best.
2. Holden Cruze Equipe
TWO best-sellers figuring at the pointy end here speaks loudly about how switched-on Aussie buyers are. Cruze comes second, with strong resale and class-cheapest insurance.
3. Kia Cerato S sedan
A FIVE-YEAR* warranty sees to it that Kia – and Korea – is always in the hunt for a Gold Star gong. No prizes for aesthetics, but if there were, the Peter Schreyer-styled Rio would fare well.
*STOP PRESS: Since pubication of this article, Kia has increased its warranty to seven years/unlimited kilometres
|Small <$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)|
|Mazda 3 Neo sedan||$20,490||5.8||91||$3310||77||$4712||$933.96||12||3|
|Holden Cruze Equipe 1.8||$19,890||7.0||91||$3995||72||$5569||$872.71||9||3|
|Kia Cerato S sedan manual||$19,990||6.6||91||$3767||64||$7196||$950.13||12||5|
Notable classmates: Hyundai i30 CRDi Active, Golf 90 TSI / Number of cars crunched: 15