There are 48 different carmakers selling new vehicles in Australia at the moment. It's hard enough to pick a certain brand, let alone a specific model. To make things easier we've devised a list of the top 10 cheapest passenger vehicles currently on sale in Australia, ascending from starting prices that exclude on-road costs.
Suzuki Alto - $11,790
The Suzuki Alto has been famous (sort of) for being Australia's cheapest car for a few years now. It's the fourth most popular new car in the micro segment according to official VFACTS figures. So far this year 885 examples have been sold. It comes with a petite 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine producing 50kW and 90Nm, which helps make it one of the most fuel efficient new cars on the market, using an average of just 4.7L/100km. It is the third most economical in this lineup. The main drawback of the Alto is the seating capacity which is limited to just four. Standard features include Bluetooth, a multi-format six-speaker stereo, six airbags, and central locking. It misses out on a full five-star ANCAP safety rating, making do with four.
Holden Barina Spark - $12,490
Not to be confused with the regular Barina, the Barina Spark is a package directed at younger buyers. It's considerably smaller and pokier, although sharing the same GM Gamma II platform with the Barina. It's been the fifth most popular (716) in the segment so far this year. Power comes from a 1.2-litre four-cylinder producing 59kW and 107Nm. Even though it offers reasonable power it does present a good average fuel economy rating of 5.2L/100km. Inside, the Barina Spark offers seating for five, albeit tight in the rear centre seat. It doesn't come with Bluetooth as standard but it does get eight airbags, central locking and air-conditioning. ANCAP has awarded it four stars.
Mitsubishi Mirage - $12,990
The Mirage is the most popular new vehicle in the micro segment, so far this year going out to an impressive 3916 buyers. It shines bright with an excellent average fuel consumption figure of 4.6L/100km, while power comes from a decent 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine developing 57kW and 100Nm. Five seats, Bluetooth, eight airbags, air-conditioning and a multi-format audio system as standard make it a complete bargain. Recent crash tests have given it a full five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Nissan Micra - $13,490
Nissan's attack on the micro segment, fittingly named the Micra, is the third most popular behind the more expensive Fiat 500. Punters will enjoy a vast array of standard features, such as Bluetooth, air-con, and keyless entry. In fact, the Micra is one most comprehensively-equipped vehicles in the segment, with eight airbags, electronic brake force distribution, as well as stability and traction control. Strangely, it's only been awarded a four-star ANCAP safety rating. The average fuel economy is rated 5.9L/100km.
Volkswagen Up! - $13,990
Introducing the well-received Volkswagen Up!, the newest nameplate in the micro vehicle market. It boasts the best fuel economy average in the class, at 4.4L/100km, and one of the very best consumption figures in the industry for a non-hybrid regular combustion engine vehicle. Passenger accommodation is restricted to four due to its tiny dimensions, however, it is regarded as one of the most enjoyable drives out of all the budget-car specials. ANCAP has awarded it the full five stars, coming with quite advanced tech such as Crash Avoidance technology with braking as standard, and an electronic diff lock with stability and traction control. For some reason Volkswagen has decided not to provide Bluetooth, yet sat-nav is available as a fairly cheap option.
Toyota Yaris - $14,990
Like all Toyota models the Yaris is perhaps the most robust and user-friendly option in its class. It's packaged very well for an entry-level vehicle, coming standard with Bluetooth and voice recognition, a trip computer, four cup holders, five seats, air-con, and a class benchmark nine airbags, with of course five-star ANCAP safety. Push is provided by a 63kW/121Nm 1.3-litre four-cylinder, which consumes 5.7L/100km on the official combined cycle test. It is priced at the higher end of this order.
Holden Barina - $14,990
Australians know the Barina badge like the back of their hands. It's built by a well-known brand in Australia - although being produced in Korea - and it rides on the widely-used and trusted global Gamma II General Motors platform. It's a fun car to drive with a reasonably powerful 85kW 1.6-litre engine. With accommodation for five, the Barina offers passengers a wide range of standard features. ANCAP has also awarded it the full five-star seal of approval. The main drawback is its relatively high fuel economy of 6.8L/100km.
Honda Jazz - $14,990
Easily the most practical and roomy offering here, with flip-down rear seats that transform it into a miniature wagon. It's the second most powerful here thanks to a 1.5-litre iVTEC four-cylinder developing 88kW and 145Nm. Honda has cleverly set the equipment benchmark with the Jazz by giving it a touch-screen interface with a rear-view camera as standard. No other vehicle here offers this. ANCAP is yet to crash test the recently updated model, however, the previous version (2011-on) was given the full five stars. Fuel economy is rated at 6.2L/100km.
Chery J3 - $14,990
You might not have heard of the brand but the Chery J3 is easily the biggest and most powerful car here. In that sense, it provides the most car for the money. Power comes from a 1.6-litre four-cylinder producing 93kW and 160Nm. From there, it starts to go down hill. It doesn't offer an especially noteworthy list of standard features. The fuel economy is the highest here, rated at 8.3L/100km, and ANCAP is yet to test its level of safety. Of all the Chery models ANCAP has tested, none of them have managed to score over three stars.
Kia Rio - $15,290
Being the most expensive here means it needs to standout in all areas, from accommodation, safety, and value. Unfortunately, it doesn't stand out for standard equipment, featuring only a four-speaker stereo (some others get six), no touch-screen interface, no reverse camera, and no cruise control, despite some of the others above getting these conveniences. Fuel economy is rated at a respectable 5.7L/100km, while engine output is commendable at 79kW and 135Nm. ANCAP has awarded the Rio a five-star safety rating.