Top five new cars
IF NOTHING less than a new first car will do, you’re in luck because, as with used cars, new car prices have fallen in real terms and are more affordable than at any time.
A new car gives you the latest safety engineering, much of which you can’t see because it’s buried deep beneath the body panels, in the structure of the car. Most new cars now have stability control, the most effective piece of crash prevention technology since ABS brakes. Don’t buy a car without it.
You also get a three-to-five-year warranty, so if there are any dramas, they’ll be fixed for free. The real beauty of a new car, though, is that you’re not inheriting someone’s misery. If you treat your new car tenderly, it won’t give you any headaches.
A new car will also have the latest audio/ communications technology, like a USB port for hooking up your iPod and accessing its functions on the main head unit or steering wheel buttons, and/or Bluetooth for hands-free phone and audio streaming.
The major disincentive to buying new is depreciation. Over three years, expect to lose 30-50 per cent of your money. Keep your car in good nick, and serviced by the book, and you’ll get a much better price for it when it’s time to say goodbye and move on.
Here’s five new cars we think are great firsttimers:
SIX airbags, stability control, Bluetooth, airconditioning, five star Green Vehicle Guide rating and 5.9-litres per 100km from a 1.2-litre three cylinder engine. I haven’t driven this yet, but the men from Wheels seriously considered it for their Car of the Year, so it has to be a good thing. At $12,990, it’s also a bargain.
IT’S a toss-up between the Mazda and its Ford Fiesta twin, but the Mazda has stronger resale values. The base 1.5-litre Neo hatch is listed at $16,500; you’ll often find it advertised for $16,490 drive away, with six airbags and stability control. There’s no USB or Bluetooth, though. The latter is standard on the Ford.
THE 2010 World Car of the Year, Wheels Car of the Year and Carsguide Car of the Year. What more can we say? It’s not cheap, but you get what you pay for, which is state-of-the-art technology from bumper to bumper. The 1.2-litre 77TSi Comfortline is $19,850.
Kia Cerato hatch
KIAs were once odious little buzz-boxes, but they’re real cars now. Cerato hatch, or its Hyundai i30 twin, are both great value starting at about $21,000 drive away. You get a five-year warranty, all the safety gear, Bluetooth, low running costs and bulletproof reliability.
A BLUE-CHIP Japanese brand hatchback for $21,990 drive away is a killer deal. That’s the recently advertised price on the Mazda 3 Neo, with cruise control, metallic paint, six airbags and stability control. Haggle and you’ll get a similar result.
Good to drive: Stephanie Young says her 1999 Holden Barina looks good in black with the mag wheels.