After racking up the kilometres in my VT Commodore, I have decided to buy a small car just for getting to and from work. I do 115km a day, 90 per cent of it at 100 km/h. I'm after a car that is two or three years old with about 30,000km on the clock. I am thinking of a Daewoo Lanos, Hyundai Accent, Holden Barina-style of car. I expect to drive the car for two or three years before buying another. I have never been in or driven any of the Japanese cars and I'm not sure which one of these is the best, so some advice would be of great help.
Reliability and resale should be the key factors in your decision, given you're doing about 30,000km a year. That's considerably more than the average, and in three years you'd be clocking up close to 100,000km. With that in mind I suggest you go for a Japanese brand with a reputation for quality and reliability. That way you are more likely to have a trouble-free run and have a car that will be highly valued on the used-car market when you come to sell it. The Lanos and Accent are both built in Korea by companies whose credo was cheap, cheap, cheap. While the reliability of their products wasn't necessarily poor, their cars weren't built as well as their more expensive Japanese-made rivals. The Korean makes don't hold their values as well as the cars from Toyota, Mazda, Honda and Nissan. I'd consider a Nissan Pulsar, a Mazda 121, Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, all of which are good, robust cars with good resale potential.