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Australia's cheapest new cars have gotten a lot more expensive

The Mazda2 has crept up $6000 over the last five years, owing to higher levels of specification and safety.

Cars have never been safer or as well-equipped s they are in 2020, but they are also getting more expensive.

The entry-price point for many brands is on the increase, and in some cases, dramatically so. This week, Nissan Australia announced its new Juke range would start at $27,990 before on-road costs - an increase of $4500 over the old base Juke - which leaves the Japanese brand’s most affordable model as the Navara RX 4x2 ute.

Nissan is not alone though, and there are a number of factors in the rising cost of cars. As we have reportedly previously, many car brands are opting to either abandon the city car market altogether, or increase the price point as specifications improve and margins decrease.

There are also brands cutting back their small car line-ups, ditching the less-profitable entry-grade models in favour of higher-equipped, but more expensive, variants.

CarsGuide has analysed the top 10 brands from 2019 (the last full year on sale) to see how the cheapest model in each line-up has changed in the past five years.

Toyota

Cheapest model in 2020: Yaris Ascent (manual) - $15,390

Cheapest model in 2015: Yaris Ascent (manual) - $14,990

Difference: +$400

The market-leader has stuck to its position in the city car market, adding only a minor $400 increase to its popular Yaris. However, the new-gen version is due later this year so things may change by the end of 2020.

Mazda

Cheapest model in 2020: Mazda2 G15 Pure (manual) - $20,990

Cheapest model in 2015: Mazda2 Neo (manual) - $14,990

Difference: +$6000

Mazda is one of the most notable brands to ditch its focus on a low pricetag in favour of high specification, which has seen a sharp increase in the starting price of its city car.

Hyundai

Cheapest model in 2020: Venue Go (manual) - $20,190

Cheapest model in 2015: Accent Active (manual) - $14,990

Difference: +$5200

If one brand defines the major shift away from low-cost city cars and towards this current era of better-equipped small cars and SUVs, it’s Hyundai. It dropped the Accent, one of the most affordable models in the country that helped establish it as a major volume player, in favour of the more expensive Venue compact SUV as its entry-point model.

Mitsubishi

Cheapest model in 2020: Mirage ES (manual) - $13,990

Cheapest model in 2015: Mirage ES (manual) - $11,990

Difference: +$2000

The same model starts off the Japanese brand’s range, but it has had a significant 16 per cent price rise in the past five years.

Ford

Cheapest model in 2020: Focus Trend - $25,990

Cheapest model in 2015: Fiesta Ambiente - $15,825

Difference: +$10,165

Here’s a great example of what happens when a brand drops its city car (expect for the Fiesta ST hot hatch) and trims its Focus small car range to the better equipped variants - a whopping $10k price jump to get you into a Ford.

Kia

Cheapest model in 2020: Picanto S (manual) - $14,390

Cheapest model in 2015: Rio S (manual) - $15,990

Difference: -$1600

The South Korean brand likes to buck the trend, and its steady climb up the sales charts in the past five years indicates it has paid off. Kia’s cost of entry has actually declined thanks to the introduction of the Picanto micro car in 2017.

Nissan

Cheapest model in 2020: Navara RX 4x2 (manual) - $26,850

Cheapest model in 2015: Micra ST (manual) - $13,490

Difference: +$13,360

As mentioned in the introduction, Nissan has increased the entry price of the Juke, and combined with the loss of the Micra and Pulsar cars it means its most-affordable model is now a working-class ute.

Volkswagen

Cheapest model in 2020: Polo 70TSI Trendline (manual) - $18,990

Cheapest model in 2015: Polo 66TSI Trendline (manual) - $16,490

Difference: +$2500

While the Polo remains a stalwart of the German brand’s range, the introduction of a new-gen model has seen a price bump as it becomes more powerful and better-equipped.

Honda

Cheapest model in 2020: Jazz VTi (manual) - $14,990

Cheapest model in 2015: Jazz VTi (manual) - $14,990

Difference: $0

While Kia managed to actually decrease, Honda has stayed stable with its entry-grade Jazz. However, it must be noted that the city hatch will soon be dropped as part of the company’s sweeping changes to the way it does business in Australia expect a price increase.

Holden

Cheapest model in 2020: Astra R - $23,740

Cheapest model in 2015: Barina Spark CD (manual) $12,890

Difference: +$10,850

While Holden may be on the way out it still managed to make the top 10 in 2019, so it’s in our list. During its final years the Lion brand cut its under-performing entry-point model, the Barina Spark, as well as the Barina and sub-$20k Astra models, resulting in a huge price increase of more than $10k.