Australia’s Best Micro and Light Cars in 2015

blue mitsubishi mirage driving on road next to grass


Posted February 25, 2016

Australia’s best cars 2015: Micro Car

Winner: Mitsubishi Mirage ES

Micro Car suggests micro price, and its scoring in Value for Money criteria sees Mitsubishi Mirage defend the title it won last year. Mirage’s running/repair costs and warranty are stand-outs, plus it has class-leading fuel consumption from its tiny 3cyl engine. But Mirage’s bonus attribute is its on-road ability. It’s easy to drive and manoeuvre, and the engine performance is responsive and flexible.

Mirage’s 1.2L petrol engine produces 56kW and 100Nm, and it comes with a 5spd manual transmission (with the extra-cost option of a CVT). The equipment levels in this entry-level ES spec are quite generous and provide driver’s seat height adjustment, air-conditioning with pollen filter, power windows, keyless central locking, electric steering and Bluetooth with audio streaming and voice control.

City cars generally aren’t tasked with people-moving, so while there is plenty of room in the front, space in the rear is challenging to say the least, although it’s still par for the course for the class. Always difficult to understand is a space-saver spare wheel when a full-size spare could be accommodated in Mirage’s wheel well.

Mirage was the only car in the finalist trio with a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

white hyundai accent driving on road next to grass

Hyundai Accent Active.


Australia’s best cars 2015: Light Car

Winner: Hyundai Accent Active

Hyundai’s recent update to Accent is a winner. The entry-level Active now has a 1.4L engine (down from a 1.6L unit) and a new CVT. Accent also got a $2000 price cut to make it an outstanding value-for-money proposition.

The 1.4L 4cyl petrol engine produces 74kW and 133Nm, which is fine around town. But when the speed picks up and the road gets windy, it falls behind others in handling ability. The new CVT is a step up on the dated 4spd auto on the old Accent. This combination of a smaller engine with a more flexible transmission has cut fuel consumption to a respectable 6.2L/100km.

While not affecting durability, the low-cost entry-level aspect of Accent is noticeable in build/finish quality and the internal layout. Plus it only has steel wheels.

However, it’s in its appeal to younger first-time buyers where Accent shows its mettle with, for example, all the modern connectivity.

Accent is the biggest of our finalists, with a large luggage area and good rear legroom. And despite its entry-level focus, it still gets a five-star ANCAP safety rating.