If there’s one conspiracy theory that we reckon actually has a decent chance of being real, it’s that ‘they’ are slowly but surely decreasing the size of car parks in shopping centres and, well, all over the place. This, of course, means that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to fit some of the bigger cars in without parking half a kilometre’s walk away.
And if you live in and around the city, just getting around in general can be a bit of a pain when you’re behind the wheel of even a mid-sized sedan these days. So to make life easier, it might be time to scale your ride down to something a little smaller.
But while you might think that buying a more compact car means you have to squeeze into it like this guy in the Simpsons driving the Vee Dub, visiting dealerships and physically getting in the driver’s seat of small cars will surprise you with how much room they actually offer. Even if you’re on the taller end of the scale (unless you're, like, 7ft or taller, in which case you’re SOL and have to stick to something bigger).
So for those who are thinking about switching over to a smaller vehicle, we’ve put together this useful list of 5 of our top picks of smaller, more compact city-life cars to help you make a more informed decision when it’s finally time to buy.
Our 5 compact car picks
Alright, so taking into consideration factors such as driveability, interior space, tech and features included, style and looks as well as value for money and resale, here are what we reckon to be the hottest small cars on the market right now.
The Swift, more specifically the Swift Sport, has been a favourite of those who need something compact but also enjoy opening the throttle up every now and then and having a little bit of fun.
But even the base model GL Navigator (priced from just $22,490) is a fantastic car which offers an abundance of inclusions for its price. Satellite navigation, voice command, reversing camera and outstanding fuel economy are just the beginning of what you’ll get with the Suzuki Swift. And with plenty of space for both driver and passengers, it’s absolutely worth a test drive.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll probably have heard that Toyota have made, shall we say, a couple of performance improvements on the standard Yaris recently, in the form of the GR range. Anyone who truly appreciates cars (and has the $54-plus grand to spend), we just can’t recommend the GR Yaris Rallye enough. Absolute monster of a vehicle. The car version of the Tasmanian Devil from Looney Tunes.
But if you’re happy to just get from A to B comfortably, with a flash of style, and with absolute ease in terms of maneuverability, the standard model range Yaris is a fantastic option. After looking at it from the outside and then actually getting in, you’ll feel like Harry Potter going into the Weasleys’ tent at the Quidditch World Cup - it’s imperceptibly large. And while 85-88kW may not seem all that much, it’s plenty for zipping around a carpark to get to the last car park first or in the congestion of the city centre. Plus, the 3.3-4.9 litres per 100km fuel economy you get with it makes everything worthwhile.
On top of all that, across the entire range you’ll get a 7” colour touchscreen infotainment system with USB input, digital radio, bluetooth connectivity and voice recognition, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, a long list of driver assist features and a heck of a lot more, too.
All that and more for just $27,603 driveaway for the base model Ascent Sport? Sign us up.
Sure, Vee Dub has gone through some grief over the past few years because of its emissions scandal. But after a scandal, don’t they deserve a second chance? I mean, look at Bill Clinton…
Ahem, so anyway, the Polo is most definitely a top contender of the best compact/small car category for a number of reasons.
First is the 147kW, 0-100 in 6.7-second, 2-litre turbocharged GTI model variant. A delightfully exciting car for those who sometimes develop a need for speed. And with a quoted fuel efficiency of ust 6.1 litres per 100 kilometres, you don’t need to break the bank to do so.
Onto onto the standard range, they just look… great. Sleek lines and well-designed for the aesthetically-focused out there, heaps of boot space - and driver/passenger space too - and a wealth of included features thrown into the mix and it’s a double thumbs up from us.
The base model Polo 70TSI Trendline with 5-Speed Manual is priced at $22,490 driveaway, but we know how to score unbeatable VW deals every day of the week.
It’s pretty difficult these days to make a list of top cars in most categories without mentioning Mazda’s CX range, and the compact category is no different.
The Mazda CX-3 is a beautifully-looking four-door hatch that is so easy to drive. Intuitive in the way it’s all laid out, all the options it comes with and its size all work together to create a delightful symphony on the road which needs to be experienced first-hand. And while they’re a smidge bigger than the other cars in this list, you’re sure to find them a breeze to handle no matter where you’re driving.
The Neo Sport model variant with manual transmission, which is the base model of the CX-3, is priced at $24,990 and includes an array of features including (but nowhere near limited to) keyless push-button engine start, reversing camera and rear parking sensors, Smart City Brake Support (SCBS), Hill Launch Assist (HLA) and a great infotainment system.
Looking for a responsible, well-priced daily city driver that also provides plenty of comfort? The Hyundai i30 is the way to go. Starting from $25,490 for the 2-litre, 6-speed manual GDi which comes packed with features like 8” touchscreen (Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatible), rear camera and more, it’s a wonderfully responsible selection.
Interested in adding the stylish Hyundai i30 to your garage? We’ve always got amazing Hyundai deals happening.
Secret car unlock: Mercedes A45 S AMG
Taking a page from the Tekken game franchise, we thought we’d reward you for reading the previous 5 compact vehicles by unlocking a secret car - the Mercedes A45 S AMG.
And what a car it is. To be expected, considering its 2-litre turbocharged engine is pushing 310kW and kerb weight is just a little more than a Toyota Corolla. With that in mind, it’s easy to recognise why it can climb from 0 to 100 in 3.9 seconds. Inside and out, it looks mean. In a good way, though. Especially if you opt for the high-performance seating and AMG aerodynamics packages.
If you have a hundred grand and change to spend (excluding options), spoil yourself and grab one of these - you won’t regret it.
Get behind the wheel of your little pocket rocket sooner with carconnect
If the word ‘negotiation’ sends shivers up your spine and brings on that slow creeping feeling of anxiety from your toes up to your head, you’re not alone. Many people find not just the negotiating but also a few other steps in the car buying process stressful.
That’s why we’re here.
At carconnect, we take care of it all for you! All you need to do is search for a new car and input a couple of details - that’s it. Then we’ll take over and put a tender out to our extensive, nationwide dealer network and it’s on them to put their best price forward. You can then select your preferred offer and arrange payment. Yes - it really is that simple. We can even arrange for your new set of wheels to be delivered directly to your home or workplace, too!
And to top it all off, if you’re thinking about financing our industry partners Stratton Finance are bound to secure you an incredible car finance deal every time. They’ve even got a free online car finance quote tool that shows you how much your monthly repayments could look like.
So get searching today and we’ll go above and beyond to ensure you’re behind the wheel of your gorgeous new car sooner, and with zero stress. For any questions, you can get in touch with us either by calling 1300 880 008 or sending us a message online.