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