Australia’s best cars 2016: Best Small Car under $35,000
Winner: Kia Cerato S
There’s an air of quality and attention to detail in Mazda3, along with strong safety credentials.
The drive-away price of the Cerato S had a strong bearing on results this year. At $19,990 for either the manual or automatic, hatchback or sedan, it’s a very attractive proposition, backed by an industry-leading warranty.
Cerato efficiently tackles urban commuting but is flexible enough for longer highway journeys too. Reasonable power is available with 112kW backed up by 192Nm of torque, and for most driving situations Cerato gets around without any fuss. The Korean manufacturer has been producing its own engines and transmissions for some time now with favourable success in regards to durability and efficiency.
Cerato backed up its value numbers with consistent scoring for space, practicality, comfort and equipment. The S model lacks some interaction features such as a touch-screen control centre, which also accounts for the absence of a reversing camera. They’re in a $500 AV upgrade; it’s hard to argue why you wouldn’t at this price.
Yet one thing the S does supply which you don’t find as standard too often in this class is a front parking sensor system as well as for the rear. And it’s great to see a fully compatible and matching spare wheel in the boot.