Should I Buy a Fiat 500, Suzuki Alto, Kia Rio or Hyundai i20?

QUESTION: We have been looking at the fiat 500 1.2-litre. What is your opinion? Should we be looking at somethig else? We have a 2005 Ford Falcon to trade in, and the hood lining is starting to come away at the edges. Should we get it repaired? Thank you, Kevin.

ANSWER

Fiat 500 Pop - probably the coolest car at the $16k (ish) pricepoint. Tonnes of retro flair.

Obviously this is a major change from the Falcon, automotively. Provided it makes sense there's no reason not to buy the Fiat. It's had a massive price drop and now represents great value for money. The 1.2-litre variants are listed at $15,000 (manual) and $16,500 (auto) - plus on-road costs. You can probably do significantly better than this, however, because the market is suppressed at the moment and basically all manufacturers are under pressure to make ends meet. To find out more on getting the right price, watch my video on how to beat a car dealer >>

You can also see how easy it is to use a car broker to get the right price>>

Send me another message via the contact form >> to be put in touch with a good car broker.

The Fiat is one of the few very stylish cars under $20k. Fiat, which is part of the Fiat-Chrysler group of companies (including Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge) does not have the most stellar reputation for quality, but I get the sense they are trying very hard at the moment. It's actually made in Poland. (Find out more about where cars really come from here >>) The engine outputs are just above that of a ride-on lawnmower (like many cars in this class) - actually 51kW and 102Nm. And although it's not very thirsty you will need to fuel it up with 95 octane premium unleaded petrol. The five-speed auto is a real plus, compared with the four in say the base-model Kia Rio or the Suzuki Alto (below).

Here are some obvious alternatives to consider:


Suzuki Alto

Suzuki Alto

The Alto is routinely Australia's cheapest car. Three cylinders, made in India and also needs 95 octane premium. Similar sort of engine outputs, and cheaper. See my video on how cheap it is to own a Suzuki Alto >> Unfortunately the Alto still only has a four-star ANCAP safety rating, which would be a reason for me not to purchase it, as the others on this page are five-star cars.

If you want to grab a Suzuki Alto at the right price, contact me here >>


Mitsubishi Mirage

Mitsubishi Mirage

A kind of clone of the Alto, albeit made with entirely different componentry. Another three cylinder engine (1.2 litres) with very similar engine outputs. The salient differences are: has a continuously variable transmission (as opposed to distinct ratios) - plus it runs on 91-octane regular petrol (or e10) and has a five-year warranty. And it's made in Thailand, our second-largest automotive trading partner.

If you want to grab a Mitsubishi Mirage at the right price, contact me here >>

Kia Rio

Kia Rio

A very well put together mini car. The pick of the litter is the 1.6 because it makes significantly more power than all these three-cylinder cars, plus you get a six-speed auto, which makes for smoother motoring. Not perhaps as stylish as the Fiat, but a better car to own for all sorts of practical reasons - such as the five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, the 91-octane petrol, the fact that it's not out of its depth on the freeway, and the fact that it's built in South Korea.

If you want to grab a Kia Rio at the right price, contact me here >>


Hyundai i20

Hyundai i20

This car shares its engineering fundamentals with the Kia Rio (because Hyundai and Kia are essentially the same corporate entity with two different brands). However, the Rio is better built (the i20 is made in India) as well as better packaged. Like the Rio, the pick of the i20 lineup is the 1.6.

If you want to grab a Mitsubishi Mirage at the right price, contact me here >>

Car finance is also very affordable right now. See more about the different forms of car ownership here >>

In relation to the Falcon's headlining, you need to get a quote from a motor trimmer (use the Yellow Pages online) in your area to see if it's economically rational to get the headlining fixed. It's probably a good idea to do this if selling the Falcon privately, but maybe not if you're just trading in.

You'll note these five cars come from four different countries - and only one (the Rio) comes from the same country normally associated with the brand. (Can you guess which one?) Learn more about where cars are really made here >>

Contact me again if you need more assistance.