I drive a 2006 Honda Civic Sports and have been very happy with it. My husband’s car is a 2011 Subaru Outback and that’s also been a great car. My husband died suddenly last year but he had always researched which cars were reliable, efficient, comfortable etc and then gave me a few choices. I am looking for a new car and in particular the new Honda Civic or Subaru XV, both different cars but I would like to know in terms of reliability, efficiency etc is one better than the other? Also, is there another car I should also be considering? I test drove Mazdas but was not impressed. Helen, email Your situation cannot be easy and it’s also complicated by going from two cars down to one, without your husband’s input in the process. The Civic and XV both fit into the compact class but could not be more different cars, one a slightly flamboyant little SUV and the other a sensible four-seater family car. On the price front, you’re going to pay somewhere between $25,000 and $30,000 by the time the on-road costs are added to the deal, but ensure you don’t get talked into extras like paint and fabric protection, which are a nice little profit maker for dealerships.
Honda Civic, from $22,150 This is the right time to be looking at a new Civic, because the latest model is a welcome return to form by Honda. It finished in the top three of our Car of the Year judging in 2016 thanks to top-notch quality, a roomy cabin and styling that’s edge on the outside and a little bit space-age in the dash. Still, the price hurts in the supercompetitive small-car class where there are good cars under $20,000, and you need to upgrade to the VTiL to get more safety and the essential turbo engine. Subaru XV, from $26,740 A nice looking little car that’s quiet and comfortable, but it’s quite costly. Also, the performance is lacklustre because of its CVT transmission even though it has a 2.0-litre engine. Like all the tiddler SUVs it is also cramped in the back and the boot is not particularly roomy. A new one is coming later this year if you can wait. Kia Cerato, from $19,990 driveaway The Cerato is a classy little car that’s extremely well priced and also comes with a seven-year warranty for peace-of-mind. Don’t be put off by the South Korean badge because the car has suspension that’s tuned for Australian roads and the pricing is as sharp as it gets if you can avoid being talked into things you don’t need.
Skoda Yeti, from $24,690 It’s a practical crossover that comes with Volkswagengroup quality and a body that can handle almost any job. It’s also quiet and nice to drive, with a frugal 1.2-litre turbo engine. The Skoda name is not well known in Australia, but the Czech brand does good cars that pick from the Volkswagen parts bin but add extra flair.
If you’re buying on a tight budget, the Kia makes the most sense and will not let you down. But if you want something to spoil yourself then you should test drive the Civic and Yeti for the one that makes you smile. Based on our COTY testing you’re probably going to find yourself in a Honda Civic.