2017 Small Car buying advice

Safe, affordable small car needed

2017 small car advice

It’s great when we receive a question from a Behind the Wheel reader that’s reasonably easy to answer.

That was the case with this one received from Malcolm this morning…

Howdy. I am interested in assisting my daughter buy a small ‘commuter-style’ car. The majority of her driving is short haul and city/urban. No preference for manual or auto. Doesn’t mind 3 door if it suits other criteria. Requires 5 star safety rating. Price up to $20k. Could be new or a good used vehicle. Good turning circle. Good vision. Consideration of parts and servicing costs.

Thanks Malcolm, there are a few micro/light cars that come to mind that meet the criteria – all offer capped price servicing and a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

In no particular order, here are our suggestions:

Kia Picanto: Kia’s new micro car was launched only months ago and boasts good on-road manners, surprisingly roomy interior, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

The Kia product also brings a seven-year warranty.

Holden Spark: A 2016 Car of the Year finalist for us, Holden’s Spark drives surprisingly well, and has Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. The LT grade is the one to look at as it brings a reverse camera and rear parking sensors (among a number of other extras).

Holden’s three-year/100,000km warranty applies.

And there are two options to check out that are slightly larger – the Toyota Yaris and Mazda2:

Mazda2: Has the advantage of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) as standard. A good drive with a 79kW 1.5 litre engine, the Mazda offering also gets the clever G-Vectoring system for better control. In the base-model offering there’s no Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and a reverse camera is an optional extra (fitted in rear-view mirror).

Mazda offers a three-year unlimited kilometre warranty on the Mazda2.

Toyota Yaris: The Yaris is great little car to drive and has an attractive and fuss-free interior. It uses more fuel and has less power than the Mazda though and AEB is part of an optional $650 Safety Pack.

The warranty is three-years/100,000km.

Related: 2017 Mazda2 – Toyota Yaris comparison

So, there’s four good new car options for you Malcolm. The Kia Picanto is probably the pick given the warranty, pricing and standard features.

If you were to look second-hand, or for a demonstrator car – have a look at the Toyota Corolla or Mazda3.

Hope that helps, and please let us know which way you go.

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