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2ND PLACE Ford Focus Trend
Underrated and possibly facing some
fallout from the LW series’ twin-clutch
transmission woes, the LZ Focus has
still scored a notable second place.
The LZ series now comes with a
conventional six-speed automatic or six-
speed manual. With 132kW, the 1.5-litre
turbo engine is reasonably powerful for
this segment yet still claims a thrifty
6.2L/100km. It achieved strong on-the-
road scores due to its nimble handling
and punchy performance.
The Trend spec has a good helping
of standard features, which let it hold
its own in the value for money stakes.
The Focus also comes with Ford’s
acclaimed Sync3 connectivity system,
including sat nav, but the latest active
safety gear is an optional extra for
3RD PLACE Mazda3 Maxx
The Mazda3 enjoyed a refresh in July
2016 and a couple of upgrades,
especially in safety systems, have more
than compensated for its slight price
rise. Features such as autonomous
braking and, in the Maxx’s case, blind
spot monitoring, are included.
One of the other changes was
applying Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control
philosophy, which utilises engine torque
control to improve vehicle behaviour
during cornering. This really pays off
in the Mazda3’s handling and ride.
From the moment you take the
driver’s seat, there’s a strong
impression of build quality, attention to
detail and finish. If not for a low
warranty and dealer access score, the
Mazda3 might have taken the top spot.
Best Small Car
Price was a key factor in the Kia Cerato S taking first place
in this highly competitive category
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder Transmission: six-speed automatic Power: 112kW Torque: 192Nm
Fuel consumption: 7.1L/100km (claimed) ANCAP: HHHHH Price: $19,990 (indicative drive away)
The Cerato S is proof that a bargain purchase
price is a fantastic starting point for a small car
AT $19,990 for either the manual or
automatic, hatchback or sedan, the Kia
Cerato is a very attractive proposition.
But there’s certainly more to this value
story, including Kia’s industry-leading
warranty and capped-price servicing
up to 105,000km. That’s peace of mind
that’s very hard to beat.
The Cerato S comes with a 2.0 -litre
engine that uses regular unleaded
fuel, has a claimed consumption of
7.1L/100km, and provides drive through
a six-speed automatic or six-speed
manual transmission. The Korean
manufacturer has been producing its
own engines and transmissions for
some time now and they have proven
durability and efficiency.
On the road, the Cerato efficiently
tackles urban commuting but is flexible
enough for highway journeys. Reasonable
power is available with 112kW backed up
by 192Nm, and for most driving situations
the Cerato gets around without any fuss.
This is also thanks to a very smooth and
precise-shifting automatic transmission.
The Cerato backed up its value for
money numbers with consistent scoring
for space, practicality, comfort and
equipment. The S version does lack
some driver interaction features, such
as a touchscreen control centre, which
also accounts for the absence of a
reversing camera. These items are
starting to become standard equipment
in other models in this category, but
you’ll need to opt for the $500 AV
upgrade to gain them.
One thing the S does supply, which
you don’t find as standard too often in
this class, is front and rear parking
sensors. And it’s great to see a full-size
matching spare wheel in the boot.
Australia’s Best Cars always assesses
the bestselling variant in any model
line-up, and significantly the Cerato S
is the entry model. So even though
Cerato’s three better-spec versions
feature enhanced comfort levels, an
infotainment system, and some extra
safety equipment, the Cerato S is proof
that a bargain purchase price is a
fantastic starting point for a small car.
But that’s not trying to downplay the
credentials of our class-winner. The
$20,000 threshold has always been a
consideration for small-car buyers and
the Cerato S offers the kind of value that
many of them are surely seeking.
OR0317_BC_02 Small Under + Over.indd 36
13/02/2017 9:32 am
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