Small hatches hold out against SUV on­slaught


Aus­tralians are buy­ing SUVs in record num­bers but there is still plenty of love for the hum­ble hatch­back, with small cars un­der $40,000 dom­i­nat­ing new-car sales charts.

The seg­ment in­cludes the three most pop­u­lar pas­sen­ger cars – the Toy­ota Corolla, Mazda3 and Hyundai i30 – with the Kia Cer­ato and Volk­swa­gen Golf also among the top 20 small cars.

It’s also a way to get into Euro­pean car own­er­ship, via main­stream mod­els such as the Golf, Skoda Oc­tavia, Holden As­tra, Re­nault Me­gane and Peu­geot 308 or pre­mium mar­ques in­clud­ing the Audi A1, BMW 1 Se­ries and Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

That said, even the most af­ford­able small cars are now avail­able with many of the fea­tures that used to be the ex­clu­sive do­main of pricier hatches, in­clud­ing highly ef­fi­cient pow­er­trains, so­phis­ti­cated in­fo­tain­ment sys­tems and ad­vanced driver as­sis­tance tech­nol­ogy such as au­tonomous emer­gency brak­ing (AEB).

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