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The hatchback remains a popular option among many car buyers due to its clever packaging, with interior space typically maximised thanks to its roof-hinged tailgate. Hatchbacks are generally shorter than sedans and come with the option of three or five doors with seating for four or five passengers. Sizing stretches from micro to large and everything in between.

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MG4 64kWh Excite vs BYD Dolphin Premium 2024 comparison review
If you’re in the market for an affordable EV, there’s a good chance one of the two cars we’re pitting against each other in this test will be high on your shopping list.MG and BYD have made strides bringing the cost of entry for an electric car down, and these two, the MG4 Excite 64 and the BYD Dolphin Premium, are two of their most appealing versions.Both are relatively affordable, have long cruising ranges and hail from China. In fact, they’re closely matched in a lot of ways.[read-more-default-title]MG MG4 2024 reviewBYD Dolphin 2024 review2025 BYD Dolphin: More tech AND a lower price on the cards for Australia's cheapest electric car as MG4 and GWM Ora put on noticeHow do they differ? Which one is better suited to your lifestyle? And is one better than the other? Read on to see what we discovered.
Fiat 500e 2024 review: long-term | Part 1
Few models are as iconic to a brand as the diminutive 500 hatchback is to Fiat.Dating its lineage back to 1957, the city car is a global phenomenon, and has gone on to sell hundreds of thousands of units over the two generations since, with the ‘new’ 500 arriving in Australia in 2008 and for most of the brand’s recent history Down Under, it has been its only model.The car we have for this long-term review, in all its pink glory, is the new new 500. It’s, for lack of a better term, the third-generation car, and is a purely electric-only model - having been partially re-named to the 500e.[read-more-default-title]Cheap small hatchbacks are disappearing in Australia! But this affordable icon is sticking around for a little while yetWatch out Suzuki Jimny? 2024 next-generation Fiat Panda will apparently be reborn as tough but 'affordable' small off-roaderFully charged battery in five minutes? The biggest problem facing EVs has been solved by the makers of Jeep and Fiat While it sticks to the stylish design and pint-size shape which has historically been so successful, it’s entirely new underneath, leveraging the technological and manufacturing prowess of its newfound parent company, Stellantis.Now, I’ve had a 500 in my family before, a 'new' 500 back in 2010, which grew on me in the time we owned it. What first appeared to be a silly whimsical piece of Italian design turned out to be a charming little vehicle and a pragmatic choice in the confines of a city.What we’re setting out to discover in our time with the 500 is whether this car is still as deceptively charming as it has always been, whether going purely electric is the right move for a city-sized car and whether Australians should be putting small cars back on their shopping lists in the electric era.In other words: Is piccolo elettrico the way to go? Let's find out.How much does a Fiat 500e cost?The previous combustion 500 was at various points one of Australia’s most affordable new vehicles, but the new 500e most certainly is not.Starting from $52,500, before on-roads (and state-based EV discounts), the 500e isn’t even one of the most affordable electric cars, meaning, like most Italian vehicles, it is one you have to pick with your heart rather than your head.This isn’t to say standard equipment is poor. Quite the opposite in fact. The 500e’s one and only ‘La Prima’ launch variant is packed with standard equipment you’d expect from a top-spec luxury car.There’s 17-inch alloy wheels in a cool two-tone finish, LED headlights, a fixed glass sunroof, something called ‘Eco-Leather’ for the seat trim (which is very nice), a two-tone ‘Ice Beige’ theme for the interior finish, heated front seats (although they are manual adjust), a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster, a 10.25-inch multimedia touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, a matching wireless phone charger, single-zone climate control and a Type 2 to Type 2 public AC charging cable.It feels and looks pretty up-market. Similar to the luxury-style offerings from Fiat’s Alfa Romeo sister brand, just in a (much) smaller package.The colour palette is suitably wacky and eye-grabbing. I don’t love the odd pearlescent 'Rose Gold' pink shade our example is clad in. My mum likes it, but my partner hates it. Take from this what you will.If the 500e follows in the footsteps of its combustion predecessor, it will be made in a constantly changing set of colour choices throughout its production run, anyway.What would be nice is another variant, preferably a more affordable one. I could see this little EV with cloth seats and smaller wheels for example, and it seems like Fiat has left itself plenty of room for adjustments to spec and price in the future. Here’s hoping the local division can justify importing whatever it can.What do we like about the Fiat 500e?This car is nice in some unexpected areas. The standard level of spec, for a start, took me aback, but then it is expensive so you’d hope so.It’s the execution of some of the inclusions which has impressed me, though. Take the digital instrument cluster and multimedia screen for example. Both are right-sized for the car but the software is excellent!Having a screen at all was a problem for the previous car, and while the digital instrument unit and screen seem to be lifted out of other recent Stellantis products (like the Alfa Romeo Tonale and Jeep Grand Cherokee), the software is the best execution I’ve seen yet.It’s relatively simple, with a few easy-to-access screens, offers a couple of attractive and sensible digital instrument layouts (which also reference the old 500’s central cluster) and offers information in an accessible presentation.If anything, the 10.25-inch multimedia screen is over-specified, with its high resolution making some Apple CarPlay icons a little small to be jabbing at on-the-go. Looks great, though.The seats are nice, too. Clad in something called ‘Eco Leather’ which isn’t as soft as Nappa leather for example, but still thick and robust-feeling for a small car. The seats themselves feel a cut above your average small car seats with nice side bolstering, very neat and intricate FIAT-branded detailing, even lavish piping down the sides.For those who haven’t driven a 500 before, the seating position is almost SUV-like, you sit so far off the ground. While it’s a bit odd to sit so high in a hatchback, my partner, who is much shorter than me, enjoys the additional visibility it gives her.I also like the way this car drives. I’ll delve into this a bit more in the second chapter of this review, but things have improved across the board from the combustion car, especially the ride, which is clearly more sophisticated and nicely tuned considering the additional weight of the batteries under the floor.What don’t we like about the Fiat 500e?The boot is hilariously small, the back seat is hard to access despite the massive unwieldy doors and storage in the cabin is limited, to say the least. So, just normal Fiat 500 stuff.It’s funny because shortly after picking up the 500e, I also drove what might be its polar opposite in the segment, the Kia Picanto.The Picanto has a similar tight overall footprint, but its boxy body gives it a surprisingly spacious cabin, four doors, five seats, and all sorts of clever little practicality touches in the cabin which makes it a pleasure to use every day.Instead there are lots of little areas where Fiat has prioritised the 500e’s design so the new version sticks to the cues of the old one rather than innovate to make the cabin easier to live with.It offers enough space for two adults, especially thanks to the additional width on offer compared to the combustion model, and it’s nice to see a centre armrest which in this class is usually excluded to make way for a centre airbag.There’s a clever cut-out above the shift buttons for the wireless phone charger and a little flip-out piece in the front of the centre console which reveals a single bottle holder.Still, it strikes me as odd the brand hasn’t put any kind of flip-out storage tray or anything down the centre below, which is simply clad in a single piece of hard plastic. At least there’s enough space for a small bag between the dash and the console box.Tune in next month for more quirks and observations in part two of this review.How much does it cost to charge a Fiat 500e?One advantage of being small and lightweight is the 500e is going to be cheap to drive around.In my first month with the car, doing primarily city kilometres, the car tells me it is running at a consumption rate of 14.1kWh/100km.It’s one of the better numbers I’ve ever pulled from an EV, but it should be because the 500e has such a compact footprint, and is relatively light.If we take a worst-case charging scenario (as I have done in my first month) of exclusively using DC fast-charging locations, it’s still incredibly cheap to run.My local 50kW DC charger costs 0.58c per kWh, and I’ve charged the car about three times from 20 - 80 per cent. This makes my rough monthly cost to run the 500e $14.50.Keep in mind, this is a worst-case charging scenario. It will be much cheaper if you’re able to charge up at home.How long does it take to charge the Fiat 500e?This is possibly the most appealing trait of owning a small EV. Unlike large electric cars which require nearly double the battery size for an equivalent range, the 500e charges ultra fast making charging a largely forgettable exercise.Actually, Fiat’s specs for this little car are impressive, anyway, because it seems over-specified for its battery size.Maximum claimed charge speed on DC is 85kW, which seems unnecessary given you’ll only ever need to top up between 25 and 30kWh on such a charger. Speed is quoted at 35 minutes, but this is from 0-100 per cent which you’ll almost never do. Expect more like 25 minutes from 10-80 per cent.It’s required some mental adjustment for me as I’m used to waiting around an hour for a DC charge. It’s the difference between adding a coffee at the end of your grocery shop while you wait. Now I have to constantly be conscious of unplugging the little Fiat at the 25 minute mark so I’m not hogging the station.On the slower AC standard the 500 can charge at a rate of 11kW which is awesome because you can pull nearly 100km of range an hour. I’ll be trying to make more use of the free solar-powered 11kW chargers at my local shops in the coming months.What is the range of the Fiat 500e?The 500e has a WLTP-certified cruising range of 311km. It doesn’t sound like much compared to most EVs these days, but it’s worth keeping in mind this range was pretty standard for last-gen offerings like the Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Ioniq, making it an impressive range for such a small car.For city drivers I would argue it’s more than enough. I’ve been charging up roughly once a week on the DC unit, but I’ve put a fair few kilometres on the odo for a city car.If you’re using the 500e as a second car or exclusively a city driver once every few days you’ll probably only need to charge it every fortnight if you don’t have a place to plug in at home.I’d also say this is the right amount of range to provide a buffer for those in the target audience in places like Sydney’s Paddington, or Melbourne’s Fitzroy, where there’s next to no off-street parking and subsequently no place to charge at home.I think I’m seeing slightly less range than the 311 WLTP number in the real world, but tune in again for part two of this review where I’ll run a more accurately measured range-test, and stretch the 500e’s legs on the freeway a bit to see how much difference the open road makes.It’s worth keeping in mind the smaller the battery size, the further from the range claim you’re likely to get if you want to leave any kind of safety buffer in the small battery. My car is showing between 250-270km of range on the dash at 90 per cent charge.Acquired: March 2024Distance travelled this month: 779kmOdometer: 4754kmAverage energy consumption this month: 14.3kWh/100km
Kia Picanto Sport 2024 review: snapshot
The base-model Kia Picanto Sport is available in either four-speed automatic or five-speed manual guise, and is one of Australia's most affordable brand new vehicles.The manual costs from $17,890 while the automatic bumps it slightly to $19,490, both before on-road costs.Included are 14-inch alloy wheels, a new 4.2-inch digital instrument panel, an 8.0-inch multimedia touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, cloth seats with a leatherbound steering wheel and shifter, as well as a new-look exterior design.Read the full review hereKia Picanto 2024 review: GT-Line manualThe full safety suite is also standard, while the Picanto range continues to be powered by a 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine producing 62kW/122Nm.As always, Kia offers its seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty across its entire range, with seven years of roadside assist and seven years of capped-price servicing.
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