Australian motoring site CARSguide has done a round-up of affordable, practical and economical vehicle options on the local market. Looking at sub-$40,000 transport, their complete list of criteria in weighing up the models was:
  • Economy - the claimed fuel consumption in combined conditions and likely running costs, based in part on the NRMA's annually compiled data.
  • Practicality - size, number of seats and doors, and boot space.
  • Value - purchase price, standard gear and quality.
  • Image - a bit subjective, but even a practical purchase isn't without an emotional quotient.
  • Driving - derived from CARSguide's on-road experiences.
Vehicles scored out of 25 include the Honda Jazz GLi, Mazda 6, Suzuki Swift Sport, Volkswagen Polo, Hyundai Santa Fe, Honda CR-V and the Honda Civic Hybrid. The highest scoring car with 20/25 was the Mazda 6 MZR-CD diesel hatch which offers outstanding fuel economy with great practicality and size.

Analysis: Fuel economy has always been a factor in car reviews but it seems to be gaining more and more importance in this world of rising fuel prices. Great work from Mazda to take the diesel fight to the Europeans. I'll tell you what though, from the look of this list Honda must be doing something right as well.

[Source: CARSguide]

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