Which of these subcompact saloons is most deserving of an A star from the new car buyer with a $100k budget?
ACQUIRING a brand new saloon in light of current market conditions is difficult, but not impossible. The three subcompact saloons we’ve gathered here are proof of this – each one is within reach of buyers who are shopping with a $100,000 budget. Keen to appeal to these buyers is the Hyundai Accent, successor to the Verna. Instead of looking like a basic Korean saloon, the Accent has a Euro-centric design that resembles its larger Elantra sibling. The Accent also has a healthy engine output and pretty lively performance. The newest player in this “cheap and cheerful” segment is the Mitsubishi Attrage. It offers a reasonably well-equipped cabin and an efficient 1.2-litredrivetrain, which aims to lower running costs.
The most established contender of the trio is the Nissan Almera. As the least subcompact of the three cars, the Almera promises plenty of space and comfort – welcome attributes in this segment. Which of these subcompact saloons will score an A star from the cost-conscious buyer? Continue reading to find out the results.
With its decent equipment and intuitive controls, the Attrage appeals to the driver motoring on a shoestring. The car’s only drawback is its relaxed performance, but it earns points for being frugal (which makes it cheap to run) and green (which qualifies for a $10k CEVS rebate that makes it cheaper to buy). For added peace of mind, the engine is also covered by a 10-year/200,000km warranty (the car has to be serviced at Cycle & Carriage), which is unique in this segment.
The Nissan Almera isn’t as fuel-efficient as its two rivals in this article, but its spaciousness and refinement are very convincing. Less compelling, however, is its comparatively higher cost. At press time, it commands a premium of $7.8k and $4.8k over the Accent and Attrage respectively. This impacts its value for money. But if the buyer is able/happy to stretch his budget a bit, he’ll acquire one of the roomiest saloons at this price point. Proving itself to be really cheap and good is the Hyundai Accent. It may not be as spacious as the Almera or as well-equipped as the Attrage, but the Accent has a better than “budget” cabin, while its peppy powerplant and seamless transmission deliver a surprisingly nice drive.