1. Mazda 3 Touring
MAZDA’S recent focus on shaving fuel use via its SkyActiv program is the reason its cars now feature at the pointy end rather than fighting it out mid-pack as they often did previously.
The Mazda 3 has always possessed a blend of qualities that make the model an excellent value proposition, a fact that explains the more than 3000 new buyers it attracts each month. These strengths carry into the third-gen model in the form of a stout 77 percent three-year retained value, which translates into $5900 lost over the first three years – less than any other car considered in this class and price bracket. The 3’s insurance premium is low at $982, although it’s worth noting that there’s not much variation among small cars.
A 12-month service interval is also a big plus. And, while the brand’s three-year warranty isn’t the best out there, we’d be worry-free about the reliability inherent in anything with a Mazda badge.
Then there’s the economy. The outgoing model drank 7.9L/100km on the combined cycle; the new one is some 27 percent thriftier, at 5.8L/100km (and still on bottom-shelf 91 octane). With this previous missing link addressed, the Mazda 3 is an all-round Star.
2. Hyundai i30 CRDi Active
OUR summation in Showroom is, of course, spot-on: “Entry-level diesel remains excellent value.” The i30 does it by putting in consistently solid performances across the disciplines, offering excellent economy and reasonable resale, before bringing it home with a 12-month service interval and five-year warranty.
3. Renault Megane Authentique dCi 110 hatch
SINCE Renault re-platformed its base Megane, driver appeal and ride quality near to the old-school French variety have been part of the deal. In base turbo-diesel form, so is excellent economy. Long warranty and service intervals are great; resale and reliability reputation less so.
|Small <$35k||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 Touring hatch or sedan manual||$25,490||5.8||91||$3311||77||
|Hyundai i30 1.6L Active CRDi auto||$25,480||5.6||91||$3196||64||$9302||$1050.67||12||5|
|Renault Megane Hatch Authentique dCi 110||$25,990||4.5||D||$2720||58||$10,916||$933.53||12||5|
Notable classmates: Kia Cerato Si sedan, Toyota Corolla Levin ZR hatch / Number of cars crunched: 8