Put the ‘fun’ into ‘functional’
SAFETY AND STYLE ARE PRIMO IN THE LATEST COMPACT CARS
Small cars have found their place in the bustling streets of the city and are fast becoming a popular choice of vehicle for urban drivers. Although the Suzuki Alto and EB1 Honda Civic are classic examples of the types of compact cars that ushered in city vehicle revolution, there are now plenty of great models available for the urban dweller.
But when you’re looking for a new compact car you should consider why they are becoming so popular and what’s out there nowadays.
As a rule of thumb, the best first question when looking for any type of car is “what do I actually need?” The market is awash with compact cars, so a shopping list of your requirements will help to keep your search focused and steer you in the right direction.
Does it go without saying that a compact car might not necessarily meet your needs if you’re after a spacious boot to stash the camping gear before you head off-road? Identifying the most frequent use of your car will save you precious time — and dollars — in the long run.
Compact models tend to be considered entry-level options that can be bought on a modest budget and run on the smell of an oily rag.
They’re sometimes thought a practical choice for that memorable first car, or an additional runaround for larger households with limited parking space.
Budget is often a leading factor when looking at smaller vehicles as they do tend to be more affordable to buy, run and maintain. It’s worth also busting the myth that investing in a smaller, more affordable vehicle, will mean you don’t get a lot for your money. Gone are the days of the small car that has only the bare basics for a shoestring budget — manufacturers are more than happy to cater to the public’s growing expectations for fancy features.
Holden have packed in plenty of nifty interior touches into the Spark for example, decking it out with contrasting colour panels, a 7-inch touch display, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay — and it costs less than $20k from new.
Likewise, if your image of a compact car has been one of an unsafe, shapeless box, think again.
Compact, city cars used to offer limited safety features but increased customer demand for these types of vehicles, coupled with an increased consumer focus on passenger safety, has resulted in manufacturers launching affordable models that are better equipped to prevent accidents and protect occupants in the event of a collision.
The Mitsubishi Mirage recently achieved a five-star safety rating from ANCAP thanks to its electronic stability control, electronic brake distribution and six airbags. The chrome accents beneath the bumper and alloy wheels give the Mirage a sharp, smart look from the outside and it packs in small details and flourishes not often associated with budget models. It’s neither boxy nor shapeless and it’s far from unsafe.
Such design advancements — particularly in the realm of safety — have been becoming increasingly present in standard models entering the market for a few years now and we’d encourage anyone buying a car to consider its safety as a top priority.
And, if you’re browsing the online listings, it won’t be long before we start to see the flow of those technologically stacked motors coming through to the used car market, meaning you’ll be able to zip around the city in a motor that puts the “fun” into “functional”, keeps you safe and won’t break the bank.