A safe and solid short­list

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - WHICH CAR? -

THE QUES­TION

We need to buy a new car for our daugh­ter. Our choices are the Hyundai i30 Ac­tive X, Kia Cer­ato or Toy­ota Corolla. Phil Kenny

All three of the cars on your short­list are solid choices. The Cer­ato and i30 are keenly priced and come with longer war­ranties than most of their com­pe­ti­tion. The Corolla on the other hand will hold its value well. We’ll as­sume safety is a pri­or­ity for you, though, and add a wild­card to the mix in the form of the Skoda Fabia. It’s a smaller car but it comes stan­dard with emer­gency au­to­matic brak­ing, which will slam on the brakes if it an­tic­i­pates an ac­ci­dent with an­other car.

CHOICES

Kia Cer­ato, from $19,990 drive-away The drive-away price — which is for the auto — is the sharpest deal in the mar­ket at the mo­ment, at roughly $6000 be­low the reg­u­lar price. There’s a seven-year war­ranty, which means your daugh­ter won’t have to worry about nasty, ex­pen­sive sur­prises. Un­for­tu­nately, the base model Cer­ato doesn’t get au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing or a re­vers­ing cam­era. You’d have to pay for an SLi at $32,490 to get that and other driver as­sis­tance tech­nol­ogy. The Cer­ato is spa­cious and welle­quipped, with sharp road man­ners, a perky 2.0-litre en­gine and an at­trac­tive look­ing cabin for the money. Ap­ple CarPlay/An­droid auto, for dis­play­ing smart­phone apps on the cen­tre screen, is op­tional, while sat­nav isn’t avail­able.

Hyundai i30, from $21,990 drive-away The i30 is in run-out mode and there’s a good chance that if you’re pa­tient the price will limbo to $19,990 drive-away for an auto at some stage. At the mo­ment you can get it for $21,990 with a $1000 gift card. The Ac­tive X adds leather and 16-inch al­loy wheels and is usu­ally avail­able for $2000 more. The war­ranty is a still­gen­er­ous five years. The i30 has a well pre­sented cabin, if not as mod­ern as the Cer­ato, and it’s a com­fort­able car to drive, with sus­pen­sion tuned for our roads. Un­like the Cer­ato, the lat­est col­li­sion avoid­ance tech­nol­ogy isn’t avail­able on any vari­ant, though it has a re­vers­ing cam­era, chilled glove box and Ap­ple CarPlay/An­droid Auto.

Toy­ota Corolla, from $22,490 drive-away Aus­tralia’s favourite car is not as sharply priced as the Korean pair in this con­test but it has a qual­ity cabin and a rep­u­ta­tion for re­li­a­bil­ity. There’s no Ap­ple CarPlay but you can get sat­nav and other func­tions through its Toy­otaLink tech­nol­ogy. The war­ranty is only av­er­age at three years. It has a stan­dard re­vers­ing cam­era and the $750 safety pack op­tion in­cludes auto emer­gency brak­ing and lane de­par­ture warn­ing. Pre­dictable road man­ners and a user-friendly cabin com­plete the pack­age.

WILD­CARD

Skoda Fabia, from $19,490 drive-away It’s a size smaller than the other cars here but its stan­dard driver aids — in­clud­ing auto emer­gency brak­ing — are hard to ig­nore. Stan­dard Ap­ple CarPlay/An­droid Auto will mean your daugh­ter is less likely to reach for her phone, while the rear-view cam­era will help avoid park­ing dings. It’s a nippy per­former, thanks to a 1.2-litre turbo en­gine matched to a slick-shift­ing twin-clutch auto. The cabin has some clever touches and it’s fun to drive, too.

VER­DICT

If you have the ex­tra cash, the Toy­ota with the safety pack is a clever choice. If size isn’t im­por­tant, con­sider the Skoda. For sheer value-for-money and peace of mind, the Kia is the car.

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