Not-so-tall or­der

Herald Sun - Cars Guide - - WHICH CAR? - CHRIS RI­LEY KICKS THE TYRES FOR A READER

THE QUES­TION

I know noth­ing about cars. I’m look­ing for some­thing $20K25K, with four doors and com­fort­able be­cause I’m 188cm tall. I’d like an eco­nom­i­cal auto with rea­son­ably priced ser­vic­ing. Cruise con­trol isn’t essen­tial. I’m con­sid­er­ing Hyundai’s i30, the Toy­ota Yaris and Corolla, Subaru Im­preza and VW Golf . Doug

We’re go­ing to cross the Yaris off the list be­cause it’s smaller and you al­ready have the Corolla in there. The three big­gest sell­ing small cars are the Corolla, Mazda3 and i30 in that or­der — but there’s not much be­tween them. They should all fit but be sure to try them on for size first.

Hyundai i30 1.8 Ac­tive X, from $24,890

The Ac­tive X is the value model, with 107kW/175Nm engine and six-speed auto. It has seven airbags, cruise con­trol, 16-inch al­loys, full-size al­loy spare, leather trim, rear park sen­sors, re­verse cam­era and Ap­ple CarPlay sup­port (but not An­droid Auto yet). Thirst is 7.3L/100km. War­ranty is five years/un­lim­ited km. Ser­vic­ing costs $747 over three years.

Toy­ota Corolla 1.8 Ascent Sport, from $23,250

Looks sharp and is one step up from the base model with ad­mirable ride and han­dling. Driv­e­line is 103kW/173Nm engine and seven-step CVT. It is cheap to buy and run but thread­bare, with cloth trim, air­con, 16-inch al­loys, full-size steel spare, cruise con­trol and re­verse cam­era. Toy­ota Link con­nec­tiv­ity brings such in­for­ma­tion as fuel prices and weather. Claims 6.1L/100km, war­ranty is three years/100,000km and ser­vic­ing is $840 for three years.

Subaru Im­preza 2.0i Pre­mium, from $23,400

The boxer four-cylin­der (110kW/196Nm) turns all four wheels via six-speed CVT with pad­dle-shifters. Per­for­mance is lack­lus­tre but the ride and dy­nam­ics are good and there is engine stop-start. Fea­tures in­clude leather trim, cli­mate con­trol air­con, 16-inch al­loys, space saver spare, cruise con­trol and re­verse cam­era. Fuel use is 6.8L/100km. War­ranty is three years/un­lim­ited km. Ser­vic­ing is ex­pen­sive: $2217 for three years.

VW Golf 1.4 92TSI, from $25,340

The no-frills en­try model has 92kW/200Nm engine and seven speed DSG trans­mis­sion. It comes with 15-inch wheels, space-saver spare, cloth trim, air­con, cruise con­trol and re­verse cam­era. Sharp per­for­mance from turbo, with ex­cel­lent fuel econ­omy — 5.4L/100km but it’s pre­mium un­leaded. Gear changes can be jerky in traf­fic. It sup­ports Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto. War­ranty is three years/ un­lim­ited km. Ser­vic­ing costs $1503 for three years.

WILD­CARD Mazda3 Maxx, from $24,890

Tech’s more ad­vanced than the oth­ers and safety gear in­cludes auto brak­ing and blind spot alert. Driv­e­line is 114kW/200Nm engine with six-speed auto, aided by pad­dle-shifters and stop-start. There are rear sen­sors, re­verse cam­era, cloth trim, air­con, 16inch al­loys, space-saver spare, cruise con­trol, dig­i­tal ra­dio, sat­nav and in­ter­net ra­dio with Pan­dora, Stitcher and Aha sup­port. Claimed thirst is 5.8L/100km. War­ranty is three years/ 100,000km. Ex­pen­sive to ser­vice at $2037 for three years.

VER­DICT

It’s not on your list but the Mazda3 stands out. It has more power, bet­ter econ­omy and ad­vanced safety.

MAZDA3 MAXX

SUBARU IM­PREZA

VW GOLF

TOY­OTA COROLLA

HYUNDAI i30

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