Top 10 Best Small Cars To Buy In Australia 2024

Are you in the market for a small car? If so, you're in luck! At Driva, we are not only small car enthusiasts but we write about them too! 

As the small car market expands, so does this blog. We keep on top of the latest generation of excellent small car innovation - and now, we're thrilled to bring you an exciting new dimension to our coverage. Introducing our video showcase: "Best Small Cars Australia 2023".

You can be sure that if any awesome small car starts making waves in the car industry, it’ll be featured in our video embedded below for your viewing pleasure. We understand that making an informed decision is crucial, so we take into account not only the innovative features but also on-road costs and fuel efficiency.

Join us for a complete run-through of the world of compact cars, exploring their performance, style, and cutting-edge technology. Watch the video to find the perfect small car that matches your needs and preferences. Whether you're navigating city streets or cruising down the highways, we've got you covered.

The Best Small Cars with a Badge of Reliability

When it's time for you to select your next vehicle, reliability is a cornerstone you cannot overlook, especially within Australia's best small cars to buy. Leading brands like Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, and Volkswagen have forged lasting reputations, ensuring you drive away with more than just a set of wheels—you're investing in peace of mind. Consider the iconic Toyota Corolla or the Hyundai i30, both of which exemplify what it means to be a steadfast travel companion for countless Aussie car buyers.

Toyota's enduring lineup, spearheaded by the consistently reliable Toyota Yaris Hybrid and the sleekly redesigned C-HR, demonstrates that these cars are built to last, blending timeless dependability with contemporary style and innovation. These vehicles don’t just promise longevity; they also offer tangible ownership benefits, making them some of the most reliable best small cars to buy.

Toyota Yaris Hybrid 

Price starts at $28,190

​The Toyota Yaris is a subcompact hatch that has been in production since 1999. The Yaris is available in a 3-door and 5-door hatchback body style, as well as a 4-door sedan. The Yaris is built on Toyota's Global Modular Platform and is available in a variety of markets around the world.

The Yaris Hybrid is powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor and a CVT. Total output is rated at 121 horsepower. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 53 mpg in the city and 52 mpg on the highway.

The Toyota Yaris Hybrid is a great choice if you're looking for a fuel-efficient hatchback with a spacious interior and plenty of standard safety features. Its low starting price makes it a good value, too.

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    Kia Seltos

    Price: $31,690

    While the Seltos is considered an SUV, we can still consider it a ‘small car.’ For families, this is a great small car to consider, thanks to its roomy interior and space for a small family comfortably. You’ll get plenty of head and leg room and a ton of boot space too!

    The Seltos features some comprehensive improvements over predecessor models in aspects like the transmission, engine, interior noise levels, and connectivity. With a new eight-speed auto, this car drives like a dream and handles even better.

    Volkswagen Polo

    Price: $39,250

    The new and improved Volkswagen Polo is one compact car everyone wants, and that’s likely because of the zippy EA888 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine. It’s perhaps the four cylinders and turbo power that make it such a catch, but there’s so much more this car offers. The starting price is reasonable for a Polo that features a charming driving experience and is dripping in quality.

    This is, of course, a mid-level Polo, but it’s got a lot of equipment coming with it right off the bat. If you’re someone who focuses on fuel consumption, this might be the car for you to save a bit of money. Finally, if the price tag is too high, you can always make it slightly cheaper by forgoing some of the aspects of this car and changing them, like standard key-entry instead of keyless. As far as compact cars go, the Polo has always been a fan favourite.

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    Kia Cerato

    Price: $25,990

    One of the cheapest cars on offer in this list, the Cerato is another amazing Kia option to consider for your next car. This small but strong vehicle is a comfortable car that’s easy on the roads, easy to park and overall just a great experience. The cabin is spacious, with a sleek design and a decent infotainment system.

    Unfortunately, this car isn’t perfect. It’s got some high servicing costs compared to other small cars. Of course, it does have a longer warranty than most, which is a benefit. Overall, the Kia Cerato is a great vehicle despite its faults. It’s got a decent engine, some stellar safety features, and is relatively reliable. That’s the kind of thing you want from a new car, and Kia delivers.

    Skoda Fabia

    Enter, the Skoda Fabia. This small car is perfect for city dwellers or those who are looking for their first car. It's nimble and easy to park and comes with plenty of features as standard. 

    With a greater focus on premium features, as well as increased size, Australian consumers can expect to pay around the $30k mark for the scaled-up Fabia.


    The all-new Mazda 3 is a small car that is both stylish and fun to drive. Plus, with fuel efficiency coming in at 6.2L/100km, it's also very economical.

    The all-new Mazda three will set you back $27,890 for the entry-level model. This is a small price to pay for a car that is packed with features like lane keeping assist and intelligent cruise control. Roomy to drive and with a surprising amount of luggage space, this is a great value small car.

    Kia Picanto

    The Kia Picanto is a small car that punches above its weight. It's well-equipped, with a long list of standard features that include autonomous emergency braking and lane keeping assist.

    The Kia Picanto starts at $17,590 for the base model. This makes it one of the most affordable small cars on the market. If you're looking for a small car that is packed with features and great value for money, then the Kia Picanto should be at the top of your list.

    Toyota Corolla

    The Toyota Corolla has long been a favourite amongst small car buyers. It's reliable, efficient and comes with a long list of safety features and a 5-star ANCAP rating for peace of mind. 

    The all-new Toyota Corolla is available from $25,395. This puts it on the pricier end of the small car spectrum. However, for your money you get a lot of features, such as Android Auto and a pre-collision system. If you're looking for a small car that is packed with features and comes from a trusted brand, then the Toyota Corolla should be on your list.

    Hyundai i30

    A perennial favourite amongst small car buyers, the Hyundai i30 is a great all-rounder. It's well equipped, with plenty of safety features as standard. Plus, it's also very affordable.

    The Hyundai i30 starts at $25,220 for the base model. This puts it in the middle of the pack when it comes to pricing. However, where it leads the field is in value for money. With a long list of standard features and a spacious interior, the Hyundai i30 is a small car that delivers big.

    Honda Civic

    The 2022 Honda Civic is the 11th iteration of this wildly popular small car. And it's easy to see why so many Australian drivers are keen to take one for a test drive. With a punchy 1.5L turbo engine and sophisticated stylings, it's hard to pass up. However, its sticker price of $47,000 may be off-putting for some. Yet, you do get a heap of great features for that amount of money. LED headlights, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control and a wireless charging pad are just some of the goodies on offer.

    Volkswagen Golf GTI

    The all-new VW Golf is a joy to drive, and with its updated stylings, a sight to behold. But, it's not just a pretty face. This small car is packed with features, including adaptive cruise control, a tyre pressure monitoring system as well as an impressive infotainment unit.

    The all-new Volkswagen Golf starts at $34,690 for the base model. For this amount of money, you get a lot of small cars. 5.8L/100km fuel efficiency, plenty of space and an interior that exudes quality combine to make the VW Golf a small car that is hard to beat.

    Ford Fiesta

    The Ford Fiesta stands out among small cars due to its efficient powertrain, stylish design, and advanced features such as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It offers a blend of performance and technology in a compact package.

    he 2023 Ford Fiesta will be available in both a hatchback and a sedan body style. It will continue to be offered with a variety of engine options, including a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine.

    The 2023 Ford Fiesta is expected to be a minor update over the current model. It will continue to be offered in a variety of trim levels, including the base model, the sporty ST-Line, and the luxury Titanium.

    The 2023 Ford Fiesta is expected to have a starting price of around $29,800

    Ready to get behind the wheel of your favourite small car?

    So, there you have it. Our pick of the best small cars on the Australian market. Whether you're looking for a small car that's big on value or one that comes packed with features, there's sure to be something on this list to suit your needs.

    So, now that we have done the legwork for you, all you have to do is get your car finance sorted and then it’s off to the dealerships. At Driva, we can help you with the finance side of things so that you can focus on finding your perfect small car. We have a range of small car loan options to suit all budgets and we can even pre-approve you for finance before you start shopping around.

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    What are some popular hatch small cars available in Australia?

    A: Some popular hatch small cars available in Australia include the Ford Fiesta, Citroen, and electric small cars. These cars are preferred for their practicality and easy maneuverability in urban settings.

    What is the best small car for safety tech?

    The Volvo XC40 is a small family car that comes with a host of safety features as standard. These include LED daytime running lights, autonomous emergency braking, and lane departure warning system.

    Are there any luxury small cars available in the Australian market?

    Yes, there are small luxury cars available in the Australian market. These cars combine compact dimensions with premium features, advanced technology, and a high level of comfort for occupants.

    Are electric small cars gaining popularity in Australia?

    Yes, small electric cars are gaining popularity in Australia as more consumers embrace environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient options. Models like the Nissan Leaf and other electric small cars are reshaping the small car category in the country.

    What are some options for small cars with a dual-clutch automatic transmission?

    Small cars like the Ford Fiesta and Citroen offer options with a dual-clutch automatic transmission, providing a smooth and responsive driving experience. This transmission type adds to the overall enjoyment of driving these compact vehicles.

    Which small cars offer the latest generation powertrains?

    Small cars like the Ford Fiesta, Citroen, and electric small cars come equipped with the latest generation powertrains, delivering a balance of performance and efficiency. These modern powertrains contribute to the appeal of these compact vehicles.

    What is the best small electric car?

    The Volvo XC40 is the best small electric car in Australia. Considering it’s Volvo’s first all-electric vehicle, it’s quite an achievement. This car has a range of 418 km thanks to its 78kWh battery. It’s also an exceptionally good-looking vehicle which doesn’t hurt. You’ve got a lot of standard features included, which help, like all-wheel drive, LED headlights, two electric motors, wireless phone charging, etc. Of course, it’s priced a little high, it’s worth it when you realise how much you save on fuel every month. Overall, this is a great vehicle for those looking to make the switch to EVs. 

    What’s the best small car under $30,000 in Australia?

    We like the Toyota Corolla and Hyundai i30 because not only does it look great, but it comes with a heap of features as standard. These include city collision mitigation, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and LED daytime running lights. It's also very well priced, starting at $25,220.What is the best small car on the road today?

    The title goes to the Mazda 3. It’s still a truly reliable vehicle with numerous reasons to bestow this title to it. The Mazda 3 is not only a stylish vehicle that’s fun to drive but it’s also extremely well-priced in comparison to some of the other vehicles out there.

    What’s the best value small car to buy?

    The best small car in terms of value for money is the Hyundai i30. It's well equipped and very affordable, making it a great choice for budget-conscious small car buyers.

    Declan Flaherty

    As the Digital Marketing Manager at Driva you can find Declan during the day transfixed by a flurry of spreadsheets, mar-tech, Slack emojis and graphs all pointing in the right direction and keeping up to date with the latest car finance trends.

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