Australia’s most affordable light cars
The Driving Your Dollars survey reveals that the Suzuki Baleno GL hatchback is the most affordable light car - and the most affordable vehicle overall – to own and run in Australia in 2020, thanks to its relatively low purchase price and servicing costs.
The Baleno costs $707.21 per month averaged over five years. That's more than $30 a month less than the next most affordable car surveyed, the Suzuki Swift GL Navigator ($740.56 per month) and the Toyota Yaris Ascent ($744.97). (The Yaris was recently replaced by an all-new model, so that figure reflects the cost of the superseded model.)
The Honda Jazz VTi ($753.28), Kia Rio S ($786.85) and Volkswagen Polo Trendline ($809.83) follow, while the Mazda2 G15 Pure ($848.42) rounds out the category as the most expensive light car surveyed to own and run.
Overall, light cars are the cheapest to run of all 11 categories of vehicles included in the survey, with an average monthly cost of $770.16. While this is largely due to lower purchase prices than larger cars, light cars generally have more fuel-efficient engines, lower servicing costs and can be cheaper to insure.
Australia’s most affordable small cars
Small cars represented the second-most affordable category with an average monthly cost of $928.64.
Hyundai topped and tailed the category with two very different models. The cheapest small car to own and run is Hyundai’s i30 Go hatch on $872.39 per month. Interestingly, the turbo-diesel version of the i30 Go is cheaper to run than the petrol variant which placed third on $880.73, despite carrying a $3000 price premium. The Hyundai Ioniq Elite Hybrid is the priciest small car surveyed this year with a monthly spend of $1087.31 – more than all the vehicles in the small SUV segment.
That result challenges the theory that hybrids are cheaper to run. But the Ioniq’s purchase price of a tick under $40,000 including on-road costs is to blame here.
Making the case for hybrids, the Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid is the second-cheapest small car to operate on $877.25. After the third-placed petrol i30 is the petrol-powered version of the Corolla Ascent Sport on $885.20, followed by the value-packed Kia Cerato S on $899.92. The second-most-expensive small passenger car in the survey to own and run is the Volkswagen Golf 110TSI Trendline on $984.01.
Australia’s most affordable small SUVs
Small SUVs represent the fastest-growing market segment in Australia. The decline in sales of light and small passenger cars is largely due to the popularity of these compact high-riding wagons. On average it costs $979.08 a month to own and run a small SUV, according to the survey.
A pair of Hyundais were the cheapest among the small SUVs surveyed, with the Venue Go costing $851.22 per month followed by the Kona Go ($896.88). The Mazda CX-3 Neo Sport comes in third on $910.95 followed by the 2019 Australia’s Best Cars winner for Best Small SUV Under $40,000, the Kia Seltos on $931.41.
The top-seller in the segment, Mitsubishi’s ASX, lands in the middle of the pack on $990.46 per month for the ES. At the pricier end, Subaru’s all-wheel-drive XV 2.0i is the most expensive surveyed on $1070.01.