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

By James Whitbourn, 16 Oct 2014 Best Value Cars

Mazda3 Neo Sedan

Mazda's top-selling 3 is also a top value pick

Mazda's top-selling 3 is also a top value pick

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