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Best new small cars

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    No drum roll, no fanfare, just the bottom line: it's the Toyota Corolla. Photo Gallery

Paul Gover rates the best small cars in a four-way comparison of Corolla v Golf V Mazda3 v Focus.

Australia's favourite car in 2011 was the Mazda3.  The Japanese compact also topped the small-car class despite a solid challenge from the Toyota Corolla and opposition from more than 20 other babies.

But does that make it the best small car in Australia today? There is only one way to find out, which is why we have the Mazda3 lined up against its toughest showroom rivals for the first in a series of Carsguide title fights.

Picking the top four for this punch-up is - relatively - easy. We might like the idea of an Alfa Romeo, or the patriotism of a Holden Cruze, or the space in a Mitsubishi Lancer, but we would not recommend one of those to our best friend.

And, apart from personal preferences and bias, that's what car choice really comes down to. Which car would you choose to drive away if it was your life and your money?

The Mazda3 is an automatic choice since it's the reigning champion, and the Toyota Corolla gets an automatic spot as the number one contender. We also have to take the Volkswagen Golf because it's the best car in the small-car class - if not the best value - and the final spot goes to the Ford Focus because it's the sweetest drive and was a finalist in last year's Carsguide Car of the Year award.

VALUE

You can spend just over $20,000 to put a quality small car on the road, but it's easy to go much higher with high-performance models such as the $39,490 Mazda3 MPS and $52,490 Golf R. So we settled in the midrange, where most private buyers spend their own cash, with four fighters with prices covered by only $2000. The Corolla Levin ZR comes in at $29,990 and the Golf 118TSI Comfortline is $31,990.

All come with a host of creature features that just five years ago were standard only in luxury cars. Apart from being the cheapest, the popular Corolla is also a valued asset because it is easier to sell at trade-in and is the only one here with the security of capped-price service costs. It also doesn't scrimp on features with a totally keyless entry and start system that detects when you approach the car and automatically unlocks, Bluetooth, an MP3 compatible CD player, front fog lights, cruise control, moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, auto-on HID headlights and climate control airconditioning.

Our Mazda comes with much the same gear, but this luxury version adds $3000 to the $27,990 price for Bi-Xenon headlamps, a sliding centre armrest console, leather seat trim and a 10-speaker Bose 242-watt sound system. The Focus Sport includes a spoiler, sports seats, auto wipers, Sony sound, leather steering wheel, dual-zone airconditioning and, since December, satnav as standard.

The Golf is the only one here with daytime running lights. It also has an optional park assist system at $1400 and rearview camera at $500.

TECHNOLOGY

The newest engine here is the Mazda Skyactiv-G 2.0-litre with an auto stop-start system called i-stop. It's not the most powerful unit at 113 kiloWatts, well down on the 125kW Focus However, Mazda's engine is married to a new Skyactiv six-speed transmission which is not only silky smooth but, together with the i-stop function, helps the vehicle achieve the best fuel figures of 6.1-6.2L/100km.

It is marginally lighter on fuel than the VW which has the smallest 1.4 engine, but boosted to 118kW with a turbo. It manages 6.2L/100km due also to the transmission, a seven-speed DSG auto. Toyota's ageing 1.8-litre engine is the weakest with only 100kW and is relatively thirsty at 7.3L/100km because it only has a four-speed auto.

On the electronics side, the Mazda and Ford have voice recognition and satnav, although the high-mounted screen in the Mazda is almost impossible to see in direct sunlight or for anyone over 50. On the low-tech side, the Corolla is the only vehicle with a full-size spare.

SAFETY

Carsguide takes safety seriously and all four cars have a five-star ANCAP rating. The Toyota and VW lead the pack with seven airbags, adding knee protection for the driver, while the Mazda and Ford have six airbags each. All have parking sensors to avoid carpark bingles, but the Focus and Golf have an optional self-parking feature which is a real show-stopper.

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DRIVING

Jumping back into the cars is a reminder that small-car buyers have never had better choices than they do today. All four of the so-called babies have plenty of space, good performance and the sort of equipment that used to make time in a Mercedes-Benz special. But there are significant differences.

Looking first at the champion, the Mazda's cabin feels surprisingly cramped and dark, there is lots of noise from the tyres, and there is also bumping and thumping on poor surfaces. The Focus is a nicely sporty drive, but the cabin controls are complicated and confusing and it doesn't seem all that big.

The Corolla has the roomiest feel and update work last year has made the cabin a nice place, while the suspension is great. It's just a pity about the four-speed gearbox. And the Golf? We expected to drive best and it goes, but the cabin is dark and not particularly inviting, and the DSG gearbox - once a first choice with Carsguide testers - now has us worried. We get lots of owner complaints and poor feedback, and that's not good.

VERDICT

No drum roll, no fanfare, just the bottom line: it's the Toyota Corolla. The world's favourite small car is my choice - back at the top again, after a long run down the field - as the best small car in showrooms today.

The Mazda3 is still the people's choice, and consistently Australia's favourite, while the Volkswagen Golf is the class of the field and the Ford Focus is the most fun. But picking a winner in a very tight contest means I have no friends and must consider everything.

The Golf is quality but you pay the price, the cabin is like a cave, and I cannot help wondering and worrying - after a string of owner questions and complaints - about the DSG transmission. It's a lovely car, and one I love to drive, but I could not buy one. 

The Mazda3 is, plain and simple, showing its age. The cabin is cheap, there is too much road noise and suspension thump, the engine is nothing special, and - even though it's a little thing - the satnav screen is tiny. It's nice, but not as good as I remembered. And the Focus, a COTY contender last year? The thing it does best, corners, is the one thing most Australians don't care about. It's a good car, but not a great car. And the messy dashboard and confusing switches drive me batty.

In a field of four, the Corolla is ordinary but extraordinary. It sneaks up on you with surprising strengths that reflect a deep and long-term understanding of the real needs of small-car buyers. It's only got a four-speed automatic, but that is easily offset by capped-price servicing through the warranty period. The Corolla is the car I would be happiest to drive away and own, and that makes it my winner.

Paul Gover Rating

1. Toyota Corolla
2. Volkswagen Golf
3. Mazda3
4. Ford Focus

Toyota Corolla Levin ZR

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Price: $29,990
Warranty: 3 years, 100,000km
Service: capped-price for 3 years or 60,000km
Safety: 5-star ANCAP, 7 airbags, stability and traction control, ABS, EBD and BA
Engine: 1.8L 4-cylinder 100kW/175Nm
Body: 5-door, 5-seater hatch
Dimensions: 4245mm (L), 1760mm (W), 1515mm (H), 2600mm (WB)
Weight: 1280kg
Transmission: 4-speed auto, FWD
Economy: 7.3L/100km


VW Golf 118 TSI Comfortline

imagePrice: $31,990
Warratny: 3 years, unlimited km
Service: 15,000km
Safety: 5-star ANCAP, 7 airbags, stability and traction control, ABS, EBD, BA and hill start
Engine: 1.4L, turbo 4-cylinder, 118kW/240Nm
Body: 5-door, 5-seater hatch
Dimensions: 4199mm (L), 1785mm (W), 1479mm (H), 2574mm (WB)
Weight: 1330kg
Transmission: 7-speed auto DSG, FWD
Economy: 6.2L/100km, 144g/km

Mazda3 SP20 Skyactiv luxury
imagePrice: $30,990
Warranty: 3 years / unlimited kms
Service: 6mths/10,000km
Safety: 5-star ANCAP, 6 airbags, stability and traction control, ABS, EBD and BA
Engine: 2-litre 4-cylinder, 113kW/194Nm
Body: 5-door hatch
Dimensions: 4460mm (L), 1755mm (W), 1470mm (H), 2640mm (WB)
Weight: 1346kg
Transmission: 6-speed Skyactiv auto, FWD
Economy: 6.1-6.2L/100km

 

Ford Focus Sport
imagePrice: $30,190
Warranty: 3 years, 100,000km
Service: 15,000km/annual
Safety: 5-star ANCAP, 6 airbags, stability and traction control, hill launch, ABS, EBD and BA
Engine: 2.0L 4-cylinder, 125kW/202Nm
Body: 5-door, 5-seater hatch
Dimensions: 4538-4362mm (L), 2010mm (W), 1451-1484mm (H), 2648mm (WB)
Weight: 1900kg
Transmission: 6-speed auto, FWD
Economy: 6.6L/100km, 154g/km

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 52 comments

  • Only down side of the Toyota is the 4 speed auto. Where is the 6 speed?

    Laurence Rucker of Brisbane Posted on 25 February 2013 6:45pm
  • Where are the Hyundais?  Would’ve thought the i30, at least, would be in this mix.

    Moz of Central Coast Posted on 20 December 2012 12:11am
  • have just tested the latest carolla, elantra, cerato, camry, and ford focus, i cant believe the focus isnt selling its self out of stock it is by far the best value. if you want noise buy the mazda 3 if you want average try the cruise. i cannot believe ford are not pushing this car. they have sold it to us

    ollie of east gippsland Posted on 19 November 2012 11:58am
  • good review - easy and practical to understand and meet the needs of the every day person who is buying and driving the car.

    frances of canberra Posted on 29 August 2012 3:29pm
  • My 2010 Golf with the DSG has a shudder at slow speed and is booked in for a replacement clutch pack after only 45000km. A number of other owners have the same problem. See http://www.vwwatercooled.org.au/forums/f112/golf-7-speed-dsg-shudder-clutch-issues-45873-37.html

    The rear shock absorbers were also leaking but unbelievably VW have no spares in country so 3+ weeks wait.

    VW need to work harder on quality and logistics.

    VW don't stock enough spares of Australia Posted on 24 August 2012 10:43pm
  • I think he may be trying to correct some biases with his own.

    Inspector Rex of Oakleigh South Posted on 23 August 2012 10:32pm
  • Good review. Too many car reviews are aimed at car enthusiasts, not ordinary drivers. I’m not interested in cars. I just want a comfortable and practical car that doesn’t fall apart so I don’t have to waste time opening the bonnet or even thinking about it. I don’t care what it looks like, and although I agree that it could be a bit sharper, I couldn’t really care less. The sales figures suggest that the vast majority of drivers are like me. This is the first review I’ve read that isn’t addressed to petrol heads. Excellent.

    John Posted on 23 July 2012 11:34pm
  • Well this is a waste of a read; and make sure your photos and weights are correct - your 118 is a 90, and no way the ford weighs 1900- journalism at it’s best inconstant and totally biased based on the writers hip pocket ; if you really wanna judge these cars fairly take them all for a test drive yourself - I can’t believe anything this guy writes

    Not convinced of Melbourne Posted on 21 June 2012 9:20pm
  • Wow. I must say this was the biggest surprise I’ve ever had in motor journalism. There is no way in which the most dull to drive, poorest handling, least gutsy-engined, most ponderous transmissioned, least well equipped, least safety-oriented, and oldest model of this group could possibly beat the others. All three other contenders in this test are extremely, extremely capable vehicles, while the Corolla, from my experience, is more on-par with, say, a Hyundai i30, which is not exactly my idea of a driver’s car.
    Between the Golf, Focus and 3, I would be stuck to chose because they are all such fantastic cars, but nothing really comes all that close to these three. Cruze is ok (but not great), Hyundai i30 is an improvement on the previous model, and then Corolla would probably be after the i30 and Lancer in my book.
    I must say though, that for such an average vehicle to win such a contest as this, I have to doubt the integrity of the journalist - Money must have changed hands…

    small-car-guy Posted on 27 April 2012 5:47pm
  • Crickey, this guy is all over the place. No great reasoning for his choices, and his English expression and spelling are pathetic. He should not be contributing to this space!

    Harry of Sorrento Posted on 23 April 2012 10:47pm
  • Corolla is a very conservative car for both tech and driving enjoyment. If you fork out with my own money i would never get caught dead in it. Friends buy them and non care about cars, a girl didn’t service it for 80,000km cos she thought a Corolla don’t need any service. For the price she paid its a basic transport nothing to be proud to drive in. Golf is good if its a work car when you don’t have to service it with your own money.

    Phuong Posted on 20 April 2012 11:32am
  • David di Troia of Adelaide is correct in his statement that the Cruze should have been included (it is at least the third best seller in this group) but he has ignored the obvious when he suggests the 1.4 T petrol engine. The 2.0 turbo diesel Cruze would blow all of these cars away with it’s 120kW and 360 Nm; it is a great drive and the CD 2.0 TD auto at $27,790 has all the necessities with 6 speed sports auto, cruise control, trip computer, ESC, traction control, brake assist, 6 air bags, auto head lights, auto door locking, MP3 connectivity, CD player and has a 5 star safety rating which makes it much better value than all of the cars tested. All of you “know it all self appointed experts” should stop bagging it and go and drive it; you might just find out how good an Australian made car is.

    Gerry Muirhead of Wishart, Queensland Posted on 14 April 2012 5:08pm
  • I agree with Paul - if it is your own money and a car to keep then the Corolla is the one.  As a frequent traveller in rental cars I find the solid and reassuring feel of the Corolla makes up for the lesser engine/four speed auto.  Rental cars show how your car may feel with high mileage and the Corollas feel tighter than Focus and Lancers in general.  The six speed manual hatch is quite fun and a suspension shop could easily tweak the handling for you.  The high seating position, practical features, ease of driving and that Toyota quality mean that I plan to buy a used one as the family second car.

    Bob Jay of Australia Posted on 12 April 2012 10:45pm
  • Corolla is no doubt the best car for Nanna to drive to Bridge and the shops. Golf is the best if you are feeling lucky. The 3 is best if you like to be like everyone else. The Focus is best if you like driving and can learn to operate the controls. The Cruze is great if you only drive a Holden.

    Rocket of Brisbane Posted on 12 April 2012 9:31pm
  • I understand why Paul selected the Corolla over the other cars. Whilst it may well be a “boring” drive these cars if serviced as required will last for many years. A friend has done over 200,000 kms with nothing more than routine servicing. I doubt if any similar priced European car would go this distance. Just look at the number of European cars in the wrecker yards that have far less mileage on their odometers.

    phil Harris of melbourne Posted on 12 April 2012 10:35am
  • Corolla Engine: 1.8L 4-cylinder 100kW/175Nm VW Golf Engine: 1.4L, turbo 4-cylinder, 118kW/240Nm Mazda 3 Engine: 2-litre 4-cylinder, 113kW/194Nm Ford Focus: 2.0L 4-cylinder, 125kW/202Nm Holden Cruze CD/SRI/SRI-V Engine: 1.4L, turbo 4-cylinder, 103kW/200Nm The only thing that beats it is a VW. The Cruze also comes equipped wit ha 6 Speed Manual or Auto. It shouldn’t have been left out.

    David Di Troia of Adelaide Posted on 07 April 2012 5:32pm
  • That they all were automatics indicated to me that this wasn’t a very relevant test. When you can get snappy 6 speed manuals why would anyone who loves driving get an auto? I travel and use hire cars a fair bit and my experience is that the Toyotas are boring, VW unreliable, Hyundais and Ford Focus improving, and unfortunately no Mazdas to hire as they can sell all they make to intelligent private owners.

    Daryl Saal of Toowoomba Posted on 05 April 2012 2:34pm
  • Paul .... Do you seriously expect us to believe Corolla is the best small car? The “solid challenge” by Corolla in 2011 sales was primarily due to large fleet buyers, not private buyers. It has the worst fuel economy, the least power, handles the worst, rides worse than the Golf and Focus at speed, an inefficient four speed auto, and it’s the least stylish. To say that’s offset by capped price servicing ignores the fact Ford offers it too, and that the service intervals for Corolla are shorter which means you have to get it serviced more often…. So once again, how on earth does it win here???

    Shaun McGovern of Melbourne Posted on 03 April 2012 10:48pm
  • VW is still in the list! WHY? The dealer at FIVE
    DOCK told me that Rubber Floor Mats cause a
    MESSAGE regarding TRANSMISSION OVERHEATING
    to come up on the Console, even though the Car is
    STOPPED in TRAFFIC If this so-called Service
    Manager had a second brain, the first one would surely
    be LONELY!!

    Sick of Being Ripped Off of Sydney NSW Posted on 31 March 2012 10:58pm
  • Paul advertising revenue obviously has affected your ability to be objective. Nothing more than another form of cheque book journalism. You are Kidding.

    Mark of Broadmeadows Posted on 30 March 2012 11:55am
  • I THINK YOUR COMMENTS MUST HAVE BEEN WRITTEN EARLY IN 2011. AS THERE ARE MUCH SWEETER SMALL CARS AROUND THAN THE FOUR U HAVE CHOSEN.  TRY COMING DOWN UNDER THE 25K MARK AND HAVE ANOTHER TRY. 1st Debunk Sorry

    NED41 of MERBEIN VIC Posted on 29 March 2012 5:22pm
  • Shhh - Don’t wake Paul from his dream. If I had $30k to spend on a small car, I’d be seriously considering the Ford Focus but in the diesel 6spd auto variant.

    BWright Posted on 29 March 2012 9:35am
  • I don’t get this. I listen to Paul regularly on radio and for people open to any model in this size he would suggest a Lancer (at the cheaper end), a Mazda 3 (best pick at the time) then swapped to Golf (new one overtaking the Mazda3) - Never ever had I heard the Corolla mentioned. This is getting crazy… It’s not even a new model!

    John Posted on 29 March 2012 1:30am
  • $30,000 for a 4 speed automatic in 2012 go figure. Toyota must be joking. It may have better or easier resale but remember before that you have to own it and live with it. 4 speed automatics are circa 1986 not 26 years later. Hyundai, Honda, goodness knows almost everybody else offers better.

    Wayne H. of Aldinga Beach SA 5173 Posted on 28 March 2012 11:05pm
  • You’ve got to be kidding.  The Mazda is the best by far
    I’ve had a DSG Polo for close to Two, yes 2 YEARS…..
    The WORST CAR in over 50 Years   Even my AUSTIN
    1800 was far better that this bit of “..germanic crap..”
    Good service is TOTALLY NON-EXISTENT.  I agree with
    the comment that VW dealers should wear an eye patch as they are a bunch of ignorant thieves.  Have had Independent Experts look at the Polo.  They are amazed at what they found, things that the so-called experts at VW….MISSED COMPLETELY! VW….NEVER AGAIN!

    Sick of Being Ripped Off of Sydney NSW Posted on 28 March 2012 9:15pm
  • Paul has just reviewed the new Boxster and loved it but the real test will be how it compares to the Corolla - 4 speed auto and all.

    Rob of Taylors Lakes Posted on 28 March 2012 8:52pm
  • I have owned a Golf for 6 years and love VWs because I used to own a Beetle. Although I love the style and all the distinctive VW bits this car has been a disaster.  4 new air conditioners, new gear box, leaking sun roof many things fixed -it will have to be a Corolla next for practical reasons.

    Jenny Brown of Blackheath Posted on 28 March 2012 8:00pm
  • Well was taking your advice..on the way to toyota passed an Alfa dealer and had a spin…...I will never go back to boring toyota again….and as for the golf…sorry doesnt do it for me..may be more reliable. but if you love driving Drive the Alfa

    Adam of melbourne Posted on 28 March 2012 5:52pm
  • All the cars in hell are equipped with that 4 speed from the Corolla. Truely horrible and reason enough to scratch it from the list of contenders.

    MattW of Newcastle Posted on 28 March 2012 5:31pm
  • I’d be willing to also bet that the Corolla will be the one to still be soundly on the road in ten years and 200000kms time with the original 4 speed auto-transmission intact and no other major dramas. Sometimes that bit of low tech can be a real asset. The AE101 we gave our son is still on its original clutch at 285000km, our 8 year old Echo has so far only needed the hatch struts re-gassing. Not bad!

    Lovethemlittletoyotas of Darwin Posted on 28 March 2012 5:22pm
  • Golf Interior Cave like ? Huh ?  Having moved from a current shape A3 to MK6 GTI, I thought I was the only person, who wasn’t in raptures with the Golf interior. However, the A3 has the best interior of any car in that size class, and moderating my expectations, Golf interior is very good .... not Cave like at all.

    Aticus Posted on 28 March 2012 3:59pm
  • I think Julian was meaning a torsion beam axle, or what was referred to in the 80’s as a “dead axle”. I needed to check if the current Corolla had such a thing, as I remember my 1986 Corolla Seca had Independent rear suspension. There are only two reasons why people use Torsion beams. Cost, Durability on rough surfaces.

    Nicko Posted on 28 March 2012 3:56pm
  • I read this story in the paper, and I couldn’t believe it. But then I saw Paul Gover wrote it, and it made sense. I have heard some of the plain wrong advice he gives on radio, and I shudder. It is as if he is in a time warp.

    I can tell you I would take my chances on the Golf. If I’m really worried about DSG failures, buy the extended warranty it is very cheap. At least you will get 5 years of enjoyable motoring worry free. If you consigned me to 5 years in an Auto Corolla I’d top myself.

    patrick-bateman! Posted on 27 March 2012 8:34pm
  • Paul, you’re entitled to your opinion - but you’re wrong! The Corolla has its good points but that 4 speed auto kills it in this comparison (and out in the real world). Have you driven one in hilly country? On any sort of incline it just cannot maintain a steady speed. You’d have to be slightly mad to pick a Corolla over a Mazda 3, I think. Me, I’d have almost anything other than the Corolla, even the new Focus (which is sort of an anti-Tardis, big on the outside, a bit cramped inside). Toyota are really going to have to radically change the upcoming new Corolla if it is to remain competitive.

    John Posted on 27 March 2012 1:34pm
  • Have to agree with Nick. Manufacturers are being slammed for yesterday technology all the time and along comes Paul and gives YESTERYEAR tech that was below average a decade ago, the thumbs up. An absolutely rubbish, useless and irrelevant review
    SHAME SHAME SHAME

    Lee of penrith Posted on 27 March 2012 12:31pm
  • Thanks Tim and Tomw. Probably not the best value CPS, however with a bit of bargaining on the price of the car, I can put aside the money for the next 5 services right now.  I may have myself a new car by this time next week. Hatch or Saloon I wonder…

    Bluey of Adelaide Posted on 27 March 2012 12:17pm
  • Julian in Brisbane mentioned a “live” rear axled Corolla. They stopped making them 20 years ago.

    The Casual Observer of Newcastle Posted on 27 March 2012 11:42am
  • My wife & I had a Corolla hire car recently, I will cut it some slack as it was a rental, it seemed quite well made, but all that plastic. Yeah it may be reliable, but it was so boring & gutless it put you to sleep. I really hope judging the best car doesnt come down to not doing anything badly, but nothing really really good either & having capped price servicing. Does that save a heap of dough, when both the Veedub & Focus have 15k services, probably 1 a year for most people. But for me, the Corolla is boring & has no character at all, something the other 3 all have.  And by the way….since when does a Focus weigh in at 1900kg’s????, no wonder it didnt win….lol I think Gover is ready for the cardigan & the retirement home

    Chris of Canberra Posted on 27 March 2012 10:10am
  • My wife just bought a new Focus Titanium Diesel. In some ways I think it drives better than my Series 6 Golf GTI. It is more comfortable on a long drive and has a more supple ride and better steering. To be brutally honest I wonder how Toyota has been getting away with building rubbish like the Corolla. Most cars these days are reliable including my Golf - so Toyota can’t rely on that anymore. They are cheap and nasty inside and the engine is rough and gutless compared with the others. Where is the technology and innovation - 4 speed auto, and live rear axle.

    Julian Cook of Brisbane Posted on 26 March 2012 2:52pm
  • Corolla - underwhelming mechanically and most thirsty. It’s no winner.

    Dave Posted on 26 March 2012 12:28pm
  • There goes any credibility Paul Gover had…

    Nick Posted on 25 March 2012 2:28pm
  • Here’s a link to Ford’s Capped Price Servicing, which includes the LW Focus.
    http://www.ford.com.au/ownership/myford-owners/capped-price?site=FOA&WT;.ac=Hotspot_LCS_CappedPriceService_Home

    tomw of Australia Posted on 25 March 2012 12:01am
  • Out of this lot the Focus the best. The skyactive is a bit boring, the corolla weak and the 118TSI very poor value.

    MikiG Posted on 24 March 2012 8:10pm
  • Ford’s do have capped price servicing.

    Tim of Brisbane Posted on 24 March 2012 7:57pm
  • The Corolla really stands out here. It is up against 3 good handling,economical,good looking and technically cutting edge designs. It stands out because it has none of these attributes.

    Nick taylor of Methven Posted on 23 March 2012 5:23pm
  • I bought a 2008 Corolla. Have done 50 000km. Problems: the 6 month/10 000km service interval requiremnt is past its due date and irritating, the clutch/gear (manual) selector cable makes a funny noise which were not able to be rectified under warranty (still working fine though), the radio sometimes switches off on its own and the blue tooth function also stopped working (after the warranty expired), some interior plastics and fittings started to creaked when used (door handles, etc). The good: is surprisingly quiet on the road, does everything reasonably well, I am happy. Also drove a 2010 Golf tdi DSG from new for 15 000km over a one year period (company car). Loved it, but the DSG started playing up at 10’ km becoming almost unusable at 15’km in stop start traffic and pulling away (stalling the engine). Dealership said they couldn’t find anything wrong with it. It is not my problem anymore but will never touch a VW again.

    Blou Bul of Brisbane Posted on 23 March 2012 4:40pm
  • Dont forget also , though it’s more fuel efficient on paper, the extra cost of having to fill the Golf with Premium unleaded will up the running costs considerably, along with VW’s pirate like prices and service costs.  I’m suprised VW mechanics don’t walk around wearing eyepatches and carrying parrots on their shoulders.
    Maybe it’s the European in me, but my choice would be the Focus.  Come on though Ford, capped price servicing please…

    Bluey of Adelaide Posted on 23 March 2012 1:44pm
  • 2 things; don’t know why i even bothered to look at this story let alone comment on it. 2nd, gover has lost his credibility - completely. Cornering - the last thing Aussies worry about? i’ll certainly be worried about it when i have to swerve for skippy or something else at speed. bottom line is, the corolla is not worthy. I’ve experienced it first hand. by the way the focus weighs 1368kg not 1900. as if that’s not bad enough, seeing a picture of him beside his corolla makes me want to vomit all over the keyboard. tells me hes justifying the money he spent.

    me Posted on 23 March 2012 1:31pm
  • Once again you go with the Japanese… The Toyota as you say “the aging 1.8 is the weakest engine ... and relatively thirsty”. It was the worst performer out of the 4. My Falcon give me 9lts / 100km, so really not that impressive from these small cars.

    Woodpecker of Northern Beaches Posted on 23 March 2012 12:50pm
  • Sorry Paul but you must be kidding!! The Corolla??!?! Really?!?! I wonder if your missus works for Toyota or who paid for your new driveway at home…. Or maybe, just maybe it is time for Paul to retire and head down to his local lawn bowling venue to spend time with people his age that think that the Corolla is number 1.

    Johns Smith, love your April 1 line grin Pure Gold

    Con Verdis of ROZELLE NSW 2039 Posted on 23 March 2012 10:47am
  • I like the Corolla more because of its simple, reliable, tried and tested 4 sp auto. I had one as a loan car, the current shape,and it went like a scalded cat when I put my foot down,went around corners great and as I’ve read, its one of few cars that doesnt wear tyres/brakes fast.It really is the car you could recommend to anyone.The only thing I didnt like is the big centre console taking up lots of space.It still has good real world fuel economy.Sometimes old tech is best,the KISS principle.(keep it simple stupid.)

    Andrew Willis of Brisbane Posted on 23 March 2012 9:43am
  • You must be joking. How can a car with a 4 speed auto, the worse fuel economy of the comparison and the most bland to drive and sit in, be the winner??? Are we should this story was not meant to come out on April 1???

    John Smith of Melbourne Posted on 23 March 2012 12:36am
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