Light Car Under $17K: Gold Star Value Awards 2014

A wide choice in this diverse category brings a mixed final three

1. Honda Jazz VTi
A $14,990 pricetag is low in this company, and is the high note on which the well-equipped entry-level Jazz signals the start of its successful Gold Star Value campaign. However, it’s not purchase price itself, but the product of a cheap sticker and a spectacular 79 percent Redbook three-year retained value that works for would-be Jazz buyers. The resale is among the best of any car considered for 2014. It means the little hatch only sheds about $1000 over each of the first three years, bagging the Honda big points.

The $945 annual insurance figure is as good as most, while official fuel economy from the CVT-equipped, 91 octane-sipping 1.5-litre four is decent, if not class-leadingly great. The Japanese brand’s three-year warranty is the norm, but bettered by some here, and the six-monthly service requirement is less convenient – and may mean more money spent in the workshop – compared with cars that only call for an annual check-up.

The Jazz may have an image problem alongside stylish rivals like the Clio, while the fussy styling of the new third-gen model won’t be for everyone. But in terms of saving bucks, it can’t be beat.

2. Mazda 2 Neo Hatch
WITH first-drive reports of the new 2 filtering out of Japan, the third-gen model has only weeks of life left – run-out deals make it a great time to buy this little doer. Factor in solid resale and a 12-month service interval, and the Mazda mite’s silver medal is deserved.

3. Renault Clio Authentique TCe 90
FOURTH-GEN French supermini marks the return of mainstream models to the Australian market and the dawn of Clio’s value story in Oz, with brilliant 4.5L/100km combined-cycle economy from its 898cc turbo triple, a long 12-month service interval and a generous five-year warranty.

Light <$17k Purchase Price Comb. Fuel (L/100km) Fuel RON (min. rec.) 3-year fuel cost Redbook resale (%) 3-year deprec. AAMI insurance prem. Service interval (months) Warranty (years)
Honda Jazz VTi MT $14,990 6.2 91 $3539 79 $3148 $945.23 6 3
Mazda 2 Neo Sport hatch $15,790 6.4 91 $3653 75 $3948 $923.98 12 3
Renault Clio Authentique TCe 90 $16,790 4.5 95 $2735 67 $5541 $933.53 12 5

Notable classmates: Suzuki Swift GL, Hyundai i20 3-dr Active / Number of cars crunched: 13

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