Many buyers in the market for a new compact car look to the Volkswagen Polo as an attractive option. Its economical range of engines means it’s cheap to run, and solid build quality gives the impression that it feels more expensive than it really is.
The Volkswagen Polo 2021 prices range from $19,290 for the basic trim level Hatchback Polo 70TSI Trendline.
However, it would be wrong to assume that the Polo is the only good option out there. The compact car market is still popular, with many rivals constantly vying for supremacy, and each offering their own different takes in the small car class. Perhaps you might be drawn to something more enjoyable to drive, something that’s better bang for your back, or just something that looks different?
Let’s take a look at five compact car models that can give the Polo a run for its money.
The Ford Fiesta is perhaps the Polo’s longest and most well known competitor. Its well refined handling has the ability to put a smile on your face along winding roads while still maintaining decent ride comfort.
The cabin design and layout decision make it feel a bit too busy and cluttered. For example, the large 8-inch touchscreen is nice but with it sticking up and out of the dash, makes the space feel smaller.
Only the top level Ford Fiesta ST trim is sold down under. This means you get all the bells and whistles such as sports detailing and large 18-inch wheels, peppier 1.5L engine, and some driver assist features like lane keep assist, which is not found in all small cars.
However this also eliminates any choice you may have including the price point, which starts from an eye-watering $31,990 when compared to others in this class.
Another worthy contender to the Polo is the Mazda 2. The sleek interior design is perhaps its strongest point, with one of the most simple and attractive dashboard layouts around. Clean and uncluttered, they deserve high marks for style and enjoyment in the cabin.
The Mazda’s new Skyactiv-G 1.5L engine feels responsive, with good ride comfort. And though with fuel economy of 5.3L/100km it is more efficient if you were to compare like-for-like engine sizes, it does still consume more petrol than say the Polo or Fabia.
Note that there is not much room in the boot, with just 250L for the hatchback and 440L capacity for the sedan. So if luggage space is important to you, you probably want to look elsewhere.
Mazda 2 prices start at $20,990 for both the entry level trims in Hatchback and Sedan.
Kia has been competing long and hard in the small car class with its Rio model. The interior feels more spacious than previously, but with a noticeable presence of hard plastic surfaces used in the cabin, there is a lingering sense of that cheep but cheerful feel.
While the Rio does have a solid offering in tech such as large 8-inch touchscreen and six speaker audio system, it does lack somewhat in the safety features department with electronic stability control and autonomous braking not standard in its entry level trim as it is with other models.
Out on the road you should encounter no problems with fuss-free gear changes and decently balanced ride and handling. Fuel consumption isn’t sits toward the higher end at 6L/100km its regular 1.4-litre petrol engine.
Kia offers an impressive 7 years/unlimited warranty that is the longest of all the cars on the market.
Prices range from $18,590 onwards for the basic trim level Hatchback Rio S
You may not have heard of the C3, but I assure you it’s out there. The biggest drawcard by far is its funky look and eye-catching exterior. You can add your own personal flair by changing the colour of the fog light surrounds, side mirror caps, front door “bump”, and even the colour of the roof. The styling continues inside with two toned seats and a splash of colour circling the dashboard to break up the grey plastics.
There are three plastic “bumps” that stick out along the side of the C3,that are there to help protect the car against carelessly opened doors in the carpark. One thing’s for sure, you will definitely not mistake it for anything but a C3.
Running on a 1.2-litre engine, the C3 is fun to cruise around, and though not a rocket, it offers good driveability with decent acceleration and an overall comfortable ride. Fuel economy is also good at 5.2L/100km.
The Citroen C3 is priced from $28,990 for Hatchback C3 Shine 1.2 Pure Tech 82.
It’s exciting times for Skoda Fabia with the launch of the completely new fourth-generation in 2021. It’s a great all-rounder, not too cramped, with its own unique styling and Simply Clever elements inside the cabin and read more about Full Skoda Fabia Review.
Though the regular Fabia and Polo range run on much the same 1.0L turbo petrol engines under the hood, the Fabia is lighter overall, making it slightly faster and with better fuel economy, with no comparable loss in handling or drivability.
Strangely, the Fabia Hatchback has a generous starting 330L boot capacity, which is actually less than that of the 351L of the Polo. But the tables are turned once you fold the seats down, with the Fabia slightly edging out the Polo in boot space.
Choosing the Fabia Wagon gives you heaps more room for not much more cash. And with 530L in volume that expands to 1395L, it is cavernous in compact car terms.
The Skoda Fabia prices start from $18,390 for the basic trim level Hatchback Fabia 70 TSI and $19,490 for the entry level 70TSI Wagon.
As far as value for money goes, it’s hard to look past the Skoda Fabia.