Small un­der $24K

Wheels (Australia) - - Headtoheaod -

1st Kia Cer­ato S

While our light- and sub-light champs rep­re­sent good driv­ing and top value, in the small class the law of di­min­ish­ing returns is yet to set in. Yes it will cost more to own a Kia Cer­ato than a Pi­canto or Rio, but even com­pared with the lit­tlest Kia, the step to the Cer­ato in terms of de­pre­ci­a­tion cost is only about $1000/year. Is the ex­tra ex­pense jus­ti­fied by a roomier body, perkier 2.0-litre en­gine, an avail­able six-speed man­ual and ex­tra fea­tures? We’ll let you de­cide. Ei­ther way, you get Kia’s ex­cel­lent seven-year war­ranty and a 12-month or 15,000km ser­vice in­ter­val, and it’s not as though the in­sur­ance premium goes through the roof in the up­size, at a very rea­son­able $ 635 per an­num.

2nd Hyundai i30 Ac­tiveive CRDI

The new-gen Hyundai i30 Ac­tive turbo-diesel six-speed man­ual pips its petrol sib­ling de­spite cost­ing an ex­tra $2500 up front, re­coup­ing the dif­fer­ence at the six fuel bowser at a rate of about dol­lars per week.

3rd Mit­subis Mit­subishi Lancer ES Sport

What the an­cient Lancer lacks in fresh­ness it makes up via cabin space, equip­ment for your dol­lar, and a five-year war­ranty Euro tot top­ple Ja­panese and most (but not Korean) ri­vals.

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