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Firstly, ‘affordable’ doesn’t have to mean ‘cheap’. We’ve listed cars in different categories for different driving needs, covering reliability, fuel efficiency, driveability and of course, price.
Cost-effective, economical, fair, reasonable, budget – however these cars are described, the bottom line is; they make affordable new cars.
SUV: Hyundai Kona
Target driver: Families with love of the outdoors.
Fuel efficiency: 8.6L / 100km (city and highway combined)
Price range: From $24,500.
The Hyundai Kona made the list due to its relatively cheap AWD options and high build quality.
There are cheaper rivals like the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V, but the AWD and towing / off road capability delivered by the Kona takes the cake.
Interior materials are not as good as rival vehicles. However, considering the Kona is designed for transporting kids, dogs, bikes and camping gear on weekends, plus a work commute on weekdays, the Kona does just that.
Sedan: Toyota Camry Ascent Hybrid
Target driver: Suburban / urban family.
Fuel efficiency: 4.2L / 100km (city and highway combined)
Price range: From $33,490
With years of refinement and development, the Camry is a classic affordable new car choice.
Toyota has once again crammed modern features in an affordable car: parking sensors, hill-start assist, lane-keep assist and an array of airbags to name a few.
The (slightly) more aggressive styling on the current model looks more modern than previous generations.
However, the Camry driver won’t stand out from the crowd – positive or negative, we’ll let you decide.
Unlike some competitors, Toyota doesn’t charge a whole lot more for the hybrid option, proving a popular option for many buyers.
Hatchback: Suzuki Swift GL
Target driver: Urban couples / singles.
Fuel efficiency: 4.8L / 100km (city and highway combined)
Price range: From $19,490
The Swift has been popular in Australia and overseas for quite some time, and it’s easy to see why.
The current model comes with an 8-inch touch screen. There’s also an attractive safety pack, however, it does come at an additional cost (around $1000) – mind you, It’s probably worth it.
The safety pack features numerous high tech gadgets such as active cruise control and emergency braking.
The 1.2L engine, although small, is perfect for city commutes – easy to park and easy to drive.
For under $20,000, the Swift offers an excellent affordable new car package. There aren’t many high selling new cars under the $20k mark in Australia these days.
For those in the affordable new car market, an enjoyable part of the purchase is choosing the colour.
Unfortunately, the only free colour that Suzuki provides is white, all others you’ll have to pay extra for.
Sports / Performance Car: Toyota 86 (Subaru BRZ)
Target driver: Urban driving enthusiasts with a love of hills-driving on weekends.
Fuel efficiency: 8.4L / 100km (city and highway combined, note: the 86 runs on premium fuel)
Price range: From $32,200
A revival of the famous 1980’s gem – for namesake at least, the 86 is known for nimble cornering and punchy drivability.
The engine is a ‘boxer’ or horizontally-opposed 4 cylinder made by Subaru – yes, like the famous WRX.
In other words, the 86 has history and refinement from two respected manufacturers. If wearing it’s Subaru badges, the 86 is known as a BRZ.
Clean good looks and a modern interior, albeit with less-than-luxurious materials, the 86 is a popular 2-seat coupe. Designed for the enthusiast, there is a huge market for performance upgrades.
The ‘1980’s gem’, mentioned above, is the AE86 Toyota Sprinter Trueno. The sporty and very capable RWD even featured as a hero car in the Japanese anime cartoon, Initial D.
People Mover: Citroën Grand C4 SpaceTourer
Target driver: Short to mid-range distance commuting family.
Fuel efficiency: 6.4L / 100km (city and highway combined)
Price range: From $38,490
The 7-seater Grand C4 SpaceTourer is a revived version of the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso for the 2021 model year.
People movers need to tick two main boxes – passenger comfort and safety.
The Grand C4 SpaceTourer ticks both. Higher quality interior materials set it apart from equally priced rivals, it’s not overloaded with cheap hard plastics or simple cloth.
Depending on model, a 12-inch center screen is also standard along with expected drink and storage compartments.
Note that the luggage room quickly diminishes when the rear 3rd-row seats are in use.
In 7-seat configuration, the Grand C4 SpaceTourer is better suited for ferrying kids to sports matches rather than long haul road trips.
Ute: Ford Ranger XL Double Cab
Target driver: Domestic tradie, weekend camper.
Fuel efficiency: 7.8L / 100km (city and highway combined)
Price range: From $39,390
The Ranger wins this (just) on affordability.
The wide range of models and prices come with some great features as standard.
Pedestrian Recognition, Hill Descent Control, Emergency Brake Assist and Voice Recognition System to name a few.
The base model Ranger is not as ‘off road’ friendly as some of its more expensive higher-end versions, with the pricing above for the 4×2 version.
However, with the options available, proven reliability and price, most ute buyers should take a long look at Ford’s offer.
The lighter base model is quite quick in a straight line for a budget ute. Towing capacity varies on model.
The Ranger has been Australia’s second-best selling car since 2016 – just behind its rival, the Toyota HiLux.
All-rounder: Kia Seltos
Target driver: Australia families.
Fuel efficiency: 6.8L / 100km (city and highway combined)
Price range: From $26,790
With the huge popularity of SUVs in Australia plus the added demand for off road, fuel efficiency and safety features, the Kia takes the flag.
Kia’s enormous 7-year warranty further pushes the Seltos across the line.
Safety includes adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-keep assistance.
Other features include a 10.25-inch screen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and 433 litres of boot space – larger than its Hyundai competitor. The aggressive, or ‘keen’, styling also fits in well in 2021.
Kia has seen huge sales of its Seltos as the vehicle attracts a wide range of buyers from young suburban families to inner-city commuters.
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