For peace of mind
I am looking at replacing my 2004 Holden Commodore VY Berlina. My budget is $20,000. I love the VF Commodore, a couple years old, but I am also keen on a Mazda3, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra or Holden Cruz — ideally sedans. I am also looking at the servicing that goes with them. What is your preference?
Nita Chahine Ah yes, the good old VY. Did the plastic insert in the rear bumper fall out? So many have.
The new VF is a very different beast to the other possibilities you mention, being a much large car and that means higher fuel consumption. They look good though.
You’re better off with a smaller car but unfortunately all of those you mention will set you back more than $20K on the road — and an auto will be another $2000.
Rather than going secondhand, we’d recommend trying to scrape a little extra together to buy the peace of mind that goes with a new car, with a long-term warranty and fixed-price servicing. All of these get five stars for safety.
Mazda3 Neo, from $20,490 Mazda3 is deservedly the biggest selling privately bought car in Australia. It looks like a million bucks, goes extremely well and is thrifty on fuel. It comes with alloy wheels and cruise control. There’s no rear camera but it has rear parking sensors. Claimed fuel use is 5.7L/100km. Most expensive to service at $2037 in total for three years or 60,00km.
Toyota Corolla Ascent, from $19,790 The Corolla needs no introduction but it’s got plenty of competition these days. Edgy styling is attractive. The least powerful of this group, the Ascent still comes with steel wheels but has cruise control and rear-view camera. Ride and handling are quite agreeable and thirst is a claimed 6.6L/100km. It’s the cheapest to service at $840 in total for three years or 60,000km.
Holden Cruze Equipe, $19,890 Cruze looks the goods but doesn’t seem to age well. From what we hear it will take a hiding on resale. The 1.8-litre engine is a better fit with the auto. There are alloys, cruise control and rear parking sensors but no camera. Claimed thirst is 7.4L/100km and servicing costs $956 in total for three years or 60,00km.
Hyundai Elantra Active, from $21,490 Nice looking car but it doesn’t sell as many as its i30 hatch counterpart. A new model has been introduced and now comes with a larger 2.0-litre engine. It gets alloys, cruise control, rear camera and rear parking sensors. Thirst is 7.2L/100km. Servicing costs $1096 in total for three years or 60,000km.
I’d steer clear of the VF and chase a deal on one of the smaller cars. The Mazda3 is the most powerful and uses the least fuel. But you might find some runout Elantras within your budget. Try for the best deal rather than being emotionally invested in a particular model.