Cheap-car champions: three new cars for buyers on a budget
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The AA often receives calls from members looking to buy a used car for around $20,000, and many are surprised when we inform them there are a handful of new cars available within their budget.
Besides the obvious perks such as that new car smell, buying new often comes with bonuses such as extended warranty programmes and roadside service included.
Although the below cars are all on the small side and might not break any performance records, they’re worth considering as an alternative to buying a compact used car.
Mitsubishi Mirage XLS (from $18,490)
Manufactured since 1979, the Mirage has been a constant on New Zealand roads for around four decades.
This compact car is powered by a 1.2 litre MIVEC engine that develops 58kW at 6000rpm and consumes just 5L/100km. The Mirage hasn’t got the most advanced infotainment system but spends money where it counts with side curtain airbags, and electronic brake force distribution. Thanks to these safety efforts, the Mitsubishi Mirage XLS received a five-star Ancap rating in 2013.
Mitsubishi extends its confidence across its entire range with its Diamond Advantage Warranty, which is a 10-year (or 160,000km) powertrain warranty; a 5-year (or 130,000km) new vehicle warranty; plus five years of Premium Roadside Assist.
Holden Spark ( from $16,490)
The current Spark is powered by a 1.4 litre engine which produces [email protected] The LS starts from just $16,490 and is available as a manual and consumes just 5.2L/100km, but both the LS and LT are also available as CVT automatics.
Both variants received a five-star ANCAP rating back in 2016, but the LT model, starting from $18,490, offers additional features like Rear Park Assist and 15in alloys.
The Spark is well connected, too, thanks to the inclusion of Apple CarPlay/Android Auto on the 7in touch screen display.
Holden includes three years of scheduled servicing and a three-year 100,000 km warranty for the Spark.
Kia Picanto (from $16,990)
The name Picanto is derived from the name “picante”, which means spicy or hot in Spanish, and this is demonstrated by some of the colours that Kia offers, such as Honey Bee, Pop Orange and Lime Light.
The Picanto is powered by a small 1.2 litre Kappa engine, producing 62kW at 6000rpm and consuming between 5L to 5.8L per 100 km.
The base model is available as either a four-speed auto or a five-speed manual, meaning you have the option to get the optimum power available should you choose to mix the stick shift.
The entry models of the Picanto include great convenience features such as a 7in infotainment system with a reverse camera, parking sensors, and even cruise control.
Safety-wise, the Picanto features autonomous emergency braking, side curtain airbags and impact sensing door unlock for added protection. It was awarded a four-star ANCAP rating in 2017.
Kia offers a five-year or 100,000km warranty, which includes roadside assist.
Why new? Why not?
If you are in the market for a small used car, it’s worth shopping around to see if any new options squeeze within your budget.
Thanks to the numerous warranty packages offered by manufacturers, it might even be worth going slightly over your budget if it means having peace of mind for the first three to five years of ownership.
Also, the first Warrant of Fitness on a new car lasts for three years.