A safe and solid shortlist
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.
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.
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.
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.