The Road Ahead : December 2014
MOTORING | AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 52 THE ROAD AHEAD DEC 2014/JAN 2015 Small car under $35k Small car over $35k BEST SMALL CAR UNDER $35,000 >> VOLKSWAGEN GOLF 90TSI COMFORTLINE Even though the Comfortline variant is not the cheapest vehicle in this category, Volkswagen's careful planning and engineering gives the impression that making the car appealing to drive is the manufacturer's primary objective. The Comfortline variant is the second level into the range, followed by the equipment-packed Highline variant, which also has a diesel on offer. The 90TSI Comfortline and entry level 90TSI are powered by Volkswagen's renowned 1.4-litre turbocharged 90kW engine coupled to either a six-speed manual or seven-speed direct shift automatic transmission (DSG). The globally popular Golf excels on the road and this should become apparent early during a test drive. The Golf leads the class in performance -- it is almost sports-like, but without the heavy fuel usage. Its ride score also led the field, and while a comfortable ride usually means a dip in handling prowess, this was not the case. With a generous mix of usable features, capped-price servicing, high safety levels, low fuel consumption, and great on-road performance, the Golf 90TSI Comfortline should appeal to many looking in this segment of the market. Indicative Drive Away Price: $31,817 BEST SMALL CAR OVER $35,000 >> AUDI A3 SPORTBACK TFSI COD It's two in a row for the highly appealing Audi A3 Sportback TFSI COD, which triumphed this year in another almighty battle for the best small car over $35,000. The leading challengers again were two other prestigious Europeans -- the BMW 116i and the Mercedes A180. The third-generation Audi A3 appeals to the discerning small car buyer who is looking for a bit more style, prestige and slick performance than the cheaper mainstream models offer. The introduction of the technically sophisticated COD (cylinder on demand) engine late last year added another dimension to its appeal. This compact, five-door hatchback offers class-leading space, and outstanding fuel economy and low emissions. It also scores well in performance, ride and braking, providing a strong, agile, effortless drive over most road surfaces. The COD technology delivers ample performance where required and enables the engine to drop from four cylinders to two when only minimum power is required. This is how it scores an official figure of 4.7L/100km, making it more efficient than all the petrol-turbo vehicles in its class. Indicative Drive Away Price: $43,594 SCORE BOX TOTAL: 804, 2ND: Hyundai i30 Active, 792, 3RD: Mazda3 Maxx, 784, VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 3, Depreciation 5, Running & repair costs 7, Fuel consumption 9, Warranty and dealer access 4, Insurance 8, Standard features 10. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 7, Environment 9, Seating comfort 8, Space 5, Practicality 7, Ergonomics 8, Build and finish 7. ON THE ROAD: Performance 8, Ride 8, Handling 7, Braking 6, Smoothness and quietness 7. SCORE BOX TOTAL: 862, 2ND: Mercedes A180, 846, 3RD: BMW 116i, 818 VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 6, Depreciation 6, Running Costs 6, Fuel consumption 10, Warranty and dealer access 3, Insurance 3, Standard features 4. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 7, Environment 10, Seating comfort 6, Space 7, Practicality 7, Ergonomics 7, Build and finish 8. ON THE ROAD: Performance 7, Ride 7, Handling 7, Braking 7, Smoothness and quietness 6.
February March 2015