You’ll buy anything else, it seems, but Aussie-made is among the world’s best
‘‘ PATRIOTISM,’’ a latter-day Samuel Johnson might have reason to say, ‘‘ is the last refuge of the car maker’’.
The foreign companies that engineer, adapt and assemble cars in this country have never been shy of wrapping themselves in our flag. The paradox is that Australianmade cars, though they’ve never been less popular with new-car buyers, have never been better relative to the vast, bewildering choice that confronts buyers.
Carsguide intensively reviews everything new on four wheels. It matters not to us if it hails from Argentina or Australia, only if it’s good enough for you.
We drive the new Commodore soon and will report that in full then. But in the meantime, we recommend these three for being not only the best cars assembled by local hands but at the upper ends of their respective classes.
HOLDEN CRUZE SRi PRICE From$24,190
ENGINE1.6- litre 4-cyl turbo, 132kW/240Nm
TRANS6- speed manual or auto; FWD
Some 252,000 small cars sold here last year, a rare confluence of quantity and quality, because the prevailing standard is excellent. At this price point the newest version of the Cruze is our pick.
It looks much the same as ever but beneath lurks a world-class turbo petrol engine and the fruits of two years’ intensive development by Holden engineers. It’s that rare thing, a family-friendly car that’s entertaining to drive, even with — especially with — the automatic transmission.
In fact it’s the best-driving small car under $30,000, loaded with what were optional extras as standard including a 7.5-inch multimedia screen with Pandora. VW’s new Golf, released this month, needs to be exceptionally good to retain its place in the sun.
Back in contention with the cheapest locally-made Holden in 21 years.
— Joshua Dowling