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Hyundai i20 v Kia Cerato v Nissan Pulsar | deals

The i20 is now $13,990 on the road to try and create loyal buyers who gradually move up through the range.

Hyundai invented drive-away pricing in Australia and today it's bigger than ever. The Korean company knew it needed something special to get shoppers to sign on the dotted line back in the mid-1990s, and that something was a $990 bottom line across its models with an all-in selling price that removed the fear and uncertainty from buying a new car.

Driveaway dealing started as showroom bait for the baby Excel and a new generation of first-time shoppers looking for a bargain at $13,990, in an inspired move by firebrand Hyundai executive Simon Pinnock, and has spread like a virus throughout the Australian motoring landscape since then.

Lots of companies now use a driveaway deal to clear their superseded stocks, or re-ignite interest in a fading favourite, or just put some punch into their showroom push. It works, and it usually works well.

Right now, Kia is heavily into driveaway dealing as its shifts from 2013 to 2014 models and is even applying the all-in effort - which can save up to $2000 in on-road costs and dealer delivery at a non-luxury brand - to its new-year arrivals. You can get a Rio manual hatch for $15,990 driveaway, compared with a recommended retail sticker at $16,290 before on-roads, and the latest deals even run up to the Carnival people mover and top-end Sorento SUV.

Over at Hyundai there is a similar push, not just because of the competition from Kia but because Korea's biggest carmaker intends to be a top-three success in Australia within five years. It knows that driveaway dealing gets people into showrooms and starts its efforts at the very bottom - the i20 is now $13,990 on the road - to try and create loyal buyers who gradually move up through the range.

Hyundai and Kia could be accused of racing to the bottom on the price line, but Nissan is doing even sharper deals at $18,990 on-the-road as it looks to turn its all-new Pulsar models into the biggest showroom success of the year. The cars are already locked and loaded, and being rolled onto ships in Japan every month, with the driveaway deals in Australia planned to ensure they go straight to homes without spending any wasted time parked in a dealership.

We're also seeing deals with the 'drive away, no more to pay' kicker line being pushed by everyone from Holden and Ford to Subaru and Toyota, even if they are short-lived or wrapped in a different package. But that's not the end of the dollar deals, as cheap finance - down to zero at some brands - is making a bigger impact.

Finance deals are partly about winning customers, but also to do it in a way that does not influence the vital resale value on a car. That's because the second hand price is determined by the 'transaction price' - the dollar number as the car is actually retailed, not the showroom sticker - and that can be badly affected by heavy discounting and even driveaway pricing.


Hyundai i20 - see other verdicts

Price: from $13,990 driveaway

Engine: 1.4L four-cylinder, 73.5kW/136Nm

Transmission: 6-speed manual or 4 speed auto, FWD

Thirst: 5.3L/100km




Kia Cerato - see other verdicts

Price: from $18,990 driveaway

Engine: 1.8L four-cylinder, 110kW/178Nm

Transmission: 6-speed manual/auto, FWD

Thirst: 6.6L/100km




Nissan Pulsar - see other verdicts

Price: from $18,990 driveaway

Engine: 1.8L four-cylinder, 96kW/174Nm

Transmission: 6-speed manual/CVT auto, FWD

Thirst: 6.7L/100km




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