Top-Rated Small Vehicles

Mazda, Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Kia, and Suzuki have all been evaluated for Canstar Blue's 2021 Small Auto Review on their driving dynamics, dependability, point of sale service, after-sale service, car servicing, value for money, and overall satisfaction.

Top-Rated Small Vehicles
Top-Rated Small Vehicles

Returning to the top of the small vehicle ratings is Mazda

The size of the automobile is unimportant; what counts is what it is capable of. Because they often provide drivers the same amenities offered in bigger alternatives at a fraction of the cost, compact cars are often the first choice for drivers. 

Some auto manufacturers also promote lower operating costs as a key selling feature. Finding a new set of wheels, though, maybe a monumental process. To assist you, we surveyed more than 500 Australian drivers on their experiences with the new compact car they bought from a dealership three years ago. 

Respondents evaluated manufacturers based on their overall happiness, driving experience, dependability, point of sale service, after-sale service, automobile servicing, and value for money. In this year's rankings, automakers that obtained the minimum required survey sample size of 30 responses are contrasted.

In 2021, Mazda seized control of the steering wheel, reclaiming it from Suzuki after a few years of close competition. What few vehicles are available, though, and how do the various brands compare? Learn more below.

Top Small Vehicles

Following are Australia's top small vehicles, according to customer ratings from Canstar Blue's 2021 review:

  1. Mazda
  2. Honda
  3. Toyota
  4. Hyundai
  5. Volkswagen
  6. Kia
  7. Suzuki

Mazda was the only brand to receive five stars for total satisfaction, whereas Suzuki, the previous champion, only received three stars. Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, Volkswagen, and Kia all received ratings of four stars. The only manufacturer to receive five stars for dependability and driving enjoyment, Mazda also received five stars for overall satisfaction and shared first place for value for money.

Along with Mazda taking the top rank for value for money, other significant five-star results include Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia sharing the top spot for point-of-sale service. For after-sales support, Kia, Hyundai, and Toyota all received five stars, while Toyota and Kia stood out with five stars for vehicle maintenance.

Top-Rated Small Vehicles

For a summary of what each of the seven brands in this year's tiny car review has to offer, continue reading.

Compare Small Cars

Mazda Minivans

Given how well-liked the Mazda2 is among Australian drivers, Mazda is a titan in the small vehicle market. And it appears that the Japanese automaker has found a successful formula after creating the Mazda3 as an additional compact vehicle choice. 

The Mazda2 comes in the G15 Pure, Pure SP, Evolve, or GT models; the G15 Pure has featured an 82kW engine power, a 1.5L gasoline engine with an automatic or manual gearbox, 15-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, two USB charging outlets, and 250L of luggage capacity. 

Sat Nav, a 360-degree monitor, keyless entry, front and rear parking sensors, leather seats, LED daytime running lights, rain-sensing wipers, and 16-inch alloy wheels are all included with the Mazda2 GT variant. The Mazda3 Hatchback is one of Mazda's various compact vehicle alternatives. It comes in a variety of versions, including the G20 Pure, Evolve and Touring, G25 Evolve, GT, Astina, or the X20 Astina. 

A 2.5L gasoline engine with an automatic or manual gearbox, FWD, 139kW power, 18-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers, LED headlights, leather steering wheel, paddle shifters, eight-speaker audio system, and Sat Nav are all included in the G25 Evolve. The X20 Astina is equipped with LED daytime running lights, a reverse camera, front and rear parking sensors, driver monitoring, an 8.8-inch infotainment system, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel.

  • With a shared five-star rating for value for money, Mazda was the only manufacturer to receive five stars for dependability, driving experience, and overall satisfaction. For a point of sale service, after-sale service, and automobile servicing, it received four stars as well.

Honda Minivans

Honda used to sell the well-liked Jazz little vehicle, but today it only sells the Civic Hatch, but it still offers the VTi-S, VTi-L, or RS variants. While the VTi-L has a turbo engine with an output of 127kW, 17-inch alloy wheels, auto dusk sensing headlights, and Honda SENSING safety features like Hill Start Assist, Vehicle Stability Assist, and a 7-inch infotainment system, the VTi-S comes with smart entry, LaneWatch safety features, as well as front and rear parking sensors. 

The Honda Civic RS Hatch variant has a 340-liter trunk, 18-inch alloy wheels, a 127kW engine, dual exhaust, push-button start, and LED rear lights.

  • The majority of categories, including automobile servicing, dependability, and overall satisfaction, were given four stars for Honda, while the after-sale service received three stars. Honda received five stars for point-of-sale service.

Toyota Minivans

The popular Yaris and Corolla Hatch, as well as the more modern Ascent Sport, SX, and ZR models of the Yaris, are just a couple of the many "fun-sized" hatchbacks offered by Toyota.  A 1.5L direct-injection gasoline engine, 15-inch steel wheels, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, and Toyota Safety Sense, which includes Lane Trace Assist, Active Cruise Control, and Road Sign Assist, are all standard on the Ascent Sport. 

It also has a reversing camera. The ZR Yaris has a hybrid or gasoline engine, paddle shifters, 16-inch alloy wheels, satellite navigation, a head-up display, a blind-spot monitoring system, and more. parking sensors in the front and back, as well as privacy glass.

Similar options for the Corolla Hatch include the Ascent Sport, SX, and ZR models, all of which come with a choice of a gasoline or hybrid engine. 16-inch alloy wheels, smart entry, satellite navigation, auto high beam, road sign assist, pedestrian and cyclist detection, dual-zone temperature control, blind spot monitoring, and wireless phone charging are all features of the SX.

  • For a point of sale service, after sale service, and automobile servicing, Toyota received five stars. All other categories, including value for money, dependability, and overall satisfaction, received four stars.

Hyundai Minivans

Hyundai, a South Korean automaker that offers the i30 and i20 in its small car lineup, is one of several manufacturers shifting its focus to the SUV market, but it still provides enough to keep drivers interested in its small car lineup. Despite the i20's widespread discontinuation, the i20N sports model is still on the market. 

It has a 150kW engine, six driving modes, a 10.25-inch infotainment system, a 6-speed manual transmission, 18-inch alloy wheels, a sports body kit, a variable exhaust with a chrome tip, and parking guidance, LED headlights, and rain-sensing wipers.

The bulk of Hyundai's compact vehicle lineup, which also includes the i30 Active, Elite, N Line, and N Line Premium models, is made up of the i30. The entry-level i30 has a 2.0L engine, a 2WD drivetrain, an 8-inch infotainment system, a 7-inch instrument cluster, a rearview camera, 16-inch alloy wheels, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The N Line Premium has a 1.6L petrol engine, a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a seven-speaker audio system, a panoramic sunroof, Sat Nav, heated

  • With three stars for the driving experience and four stars in all other areas, including overall satisfaction, Hyundai received five stars for point of sale service, after-sale service, and value for money.

Small Volkswagen Cars

After entering Australia's streets, it would be difficult to miss a modest Volkswagen automobile. The introduction of the Golf and Polo models into the compact vehicle market has contributed to the German automaker's explosive growth over the past ten years. 

There are two models of Golf: the Golf and the Golf GTI. The Golf has a 110kW output, a 10-inch Digital Cockpit system, wireless phone charging, keyless entry, and push-button start, as well as front seat lumbar adjustment. Ambient lighting, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED performance headlights, and light-absorbing side and rear windows are further features of the Golf R-Line.

The Volkswagen Polo is similarly available as a base level Polo or Polo GTI, with the GTI packing a punch, having a 2.0L turbocharged engine, Sports Select Suspension, DSG gearbox, LED headlights, sunroof, leather steering wheel, sports seats, a customized dashboard, and an 8-inch infotainment unit to keep you comfortable and enjoy the ride.

  • For dependability, driving enjoyment, point-of-sale service, and overall satisfaction, Volkswagen received four stars. All other categories, including value for money, received three stars.

Kia Minivans

The Picanto, Rio, and Cerato Hatch are now part of Kia's compact vehicle lineup, which is best known for its Rio models. Even if the Korean brand's SUV lineup has received recent attention, drivers still have a wide choice of options when looking for a smaller vehicle. 

The Picanto comes in three different trim levels: 

  • S, GT-Line, or GT. 

  • The S model, which is the entry-level model, is available in a manual or automatic transmission and includes a rearview camera with dynamic parking, daytime running lights, and cruise control.

The Kia Rio comes in the S, Sport, GT-Line, and SX Limited Edition trim levels. The S model comes standard with electric outside mirrors, daytime running lights, an 8-inch infotainment system, a rearview camera, and Bluetooth multi-connection. The SX Limited Edition Rio adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, heated side mirrors, a premium steering wheel, cruise control, and either a manual or automatic transmission.

The Kia Cerato hatch is offered in the S, Sport, Sport+, or GT trim levels. The GT model includes a dual-clutch transmission, 1.6L turbo engine, multi-link suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, sports seats, wireless phone charging, paddle shifters, sunroof, and ventilated front seats for a balance of comfort and power.

  • Kia received five stars overall, with four stars for dependability and general satisfaction and just three stars for the driving experience. Kia also received five stars in several other areas, including point of sale service, value for money, after-sales service, and auto servicing.

Suzuki Minivans

Due in part to its flagship model, the Swift, as well as the Swift Sport and Baleno supporting the pack, Japanese automaker Suzuki is one of the top brands for compact vehicles. The Baleno is Suzuki's smallest model, yet it still features a 355L boot, fold-down back seats, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a USB port, a 1.4L petrol engine, and a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual gearbox, and the option between the Baleno GL and GLX models.

The Suzuki Swift is available as the GL Navigator, GL Navigator Plus, or GLX Turbo model. The base GL Navigator comes with a 1.2L Dualjet engine, a 7inch infotainment unit, a digital speedometer, Sat Nav, reverse camera, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, and Adaptive Cruise Control.

For those seeking a sportier vehicle, the Suzuki Swift Sport includes a BOOSTERJET turbo engine, a 6-speed manual transmission with paddle shifters, adaptive cruise control, steering-wheel controls, a reverse camera, a 7-inch infotainment system, 17-inch alloy wheels, a Blind Spot Monitor, and an Advanced Forward Detection System as standard equipment.

  • Suzuki has scored four stars for point of sale service, value for money, after-sales service, and automobile servicing, but received three stars for driving experience, dependability, and overall satisfaction, dropping it off the winner's podium.

What is the price of little cars?

Small vehicles are often the most affordable option for people looking to purchase a new vehicle, with the least expensive starting at approximately $18,000 and the most expensive small car models costing closer to $45,000. According to the results of our most recent poll, respondents spent an average of $26,150 on a new compact automobile, proving that even a little car is still a significant financial commitment.

Do I need a little automobile the most?

Small cars have several benefits, including being more fuel-efficient, simpler to park, and most crucially, less expensive to purchase. These are the primary justifications given by those who bought a tiny automobile in our survey:

  • 23% of the cost.
  • Running expenses: 18%.
  • 14 % safety rating and features.
  • Name of the brand: 13%.
  • Style (10%, including design and color).
  • 9 % size.
  • 4 % cite personal reasons.

So a little automobile is your best option if you require a cost-effective, compact vehicle to carry you from point A to point B securely. However, whatever you choose, be sure to do your research online before making a purchase, just like 77% of those we polled! If you're still unsure, look through Australia's top-selling compact vehicles to see what other people are leaving in. Photo credit: Studios

who is the page's author?

Dean Heckscher, the lead for content projects at Canstar Blue, wrote this report. He is our go-to authority on anything related to streaming, fitness, and cars. Dean contributes to making complex topics understandable for our readers by producing consumer research reports for Canstar Blue. He has a strong interest in assisting customers in making more educated judgments regarding all types of consumer goods and services.

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