Car Buyers' Guide: Hatching a plan
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Those who live in larger towns and cities often need a practical and affordable hatch to get them from A to B. We’ve pulled together four models under $15,000.
Kicking off the list is the 2010 Mazda2. It’s lightweight and comes with a few funky interior touches such as the motorcycle-style rev counter.
The Mazda2’s exterior and interior styling has been influenced by its bigger brother — the Mazda3 — and it also has easy-to-use, intuitive controls.
The Japanese import equivalent is the Mazda Demio, which benefits from good parts and service support in New Zealand. It also has good fuel economy along with a few engine choices plus, should you prefer, it’s available as a conventional automatic as opposed to the more common CVT.
Affordable hatches aren’t always restricted to vehicles sourced from Asia; there are affordable European cars with similar price tags. However, it is worth noting the general maintenance and servicing of a European will be slightly higher.
For those who are on a budget but still desire a bit of luxury and continental style, the 2010 Volkswagen Polo is a solid, low cost choice. It offers fun handling around town and, on the motorway, its well-insulated cabin allows for a reasonably quiet ride. The practical layout of the Polo gives you plenty of storage space for luggage, and there are a few engine variants also on offer, but the turbo-charged option may stretch the budget for some.
In 2010, the Hyundai i30 started to mature and this saw Hyundai’s popularity increase among Kiwi drivers. Aimed at the European audience, the i30 gained inspired styling from this market, resulting in a competitive car from a price and spec perspective. Over time Hyundai’s reputation has blossomed in New Zealand, and the i30 is no exception. Despite being a hatch, it offers good leg room and it comfortably accommodates four adults. The i30 is good value for money and the SX model even has electronic force distribution braking included.
Another top choice for an affordable hatch is the 2010 Honda Jazz or Fit (Japanese version). Honda’s proven reliability and history make it a sensible choice, and these models are neatly styled and laid out in a logical way — everything is where it should be in a no-nonsense approach.
Relocating the fuel tank has created a flatter floor plan in the back, increasing the versatility of the car’s interior space. The folding “Magic Seats” add to this and it’s great for packing all your gear for those weekend trips out of the city. The Jazz allows you to fit more in your car than you would expect at first glance, so this is definitely worth a second look. If you’re familiar with previous Honda models the 2010 Jazz won’t disappoint.
There are many deserving hatches out there but any of these four affordable and fairly new models will make a great option for urban drivers. Depending on their mileage and condition, these vehicles will usually cost around $10,000 to $15,000.