Small car, big choice
I haven’t bought a car for over 13 years. At present I am driving a 2003 Toyota Echo manual hatch. I am trying to decide whether to buy a 2016 Toyota Yaris SX hatch or a 2016 Mazda 2 Maxx hatch. Which would you recommend for me? Should I wait for the new models to be released? I would really appreciate your advice. Christine Vickery
You don’t specify whether you want to replace your manual or go down the automatic path. Both cars can accommodate you, though the Yaris shows its age with a five-speed manual and four-speed auto against the Mazda2’s six-speed manual and six-speed auto.
Toyota Yaris SX, from $17,330 There’s nothing special about the Yaris, beyond it being a Toyota. The engine and transmission choices aren’t close to class-leading and the price puts it into that level. Standard gear runs to a 6.1-inch touchscreen with reversing camera, rear privacy glass, 15inch steel wheels and front fog lights. It edges ahead with a 286-litre boot to the Mazda’s 250 litres. Fuel use ranges from 5.8L/100km for the manual to 6.4L/100km with the auto. Service intervals are six months/10,000km and capped price servicing is good value at $840 for the first six trips.
Mazda2 Maxx, from $19,690 driveaway The base Maxx is fitted with a light, precise six-speed manual; the automatic adds $2000. It uses less fuel than the Toyota at a claimed 4.9L/100km for the auto and 5.2L for the manual. Standard gear includes keyless start, a seven-inch infotainment screen and 15-inch alloy wheels. City-speed auto emergency braking is a $400 option. The Mazda 2 requires servicing every 12 months or 10,000km and in the case of the Maxx those costs amount to $1192 for the first four visits; $1476 for five. Offsetting the higher servicing costs is — at least temporarily — a driveaway price of $19,690 for a 2016-plated Maxx.
Suzuki Swift GL Navigator, from $16,990 driveaway Starting to show its age, as evidenced by the five-speed manual/four-speed auto combo. Beyond that, the GL Navigator picks up satnav, cruise control and alloy wheels. The Swift is a better drive than the Yaris but the interior doesn’t look nearly as modern. Fuel use is 5.5L/100km for the manual and 6.4L/100km with the auto. Servicing is scheduled every six months/10,000km and the first six trips will cost $1284.
If you enjoy driving, the Mazda2 is the right car at the right price. If a cheap, reliable car is your criteria, go the Suzuki. If the Echo has left a lasting impression, the Yaris won’t disappoint.