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5 Cheap Cars for Daily Commute

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In this uncertain time when the threat of coronavirus infection is looming and public commuting is both risky and difficult, having your own car to drive is advantageous. It helps you avoid the crowd while providing you convenience as you perform necessary outdoor activities, like grocery shopping and doing errands and emergency trips.

There are a lot of affordable vehicles that you can buy with cash or through a personal car loan. Aside from being cheap, most of them are also fuel-efficient, helping you save money on gas.

Here are five popular and affordable commuter cars to consider:

1. Mitsubishi Mirage - $16,490 to $19,730 driveaway

Mitsubishi MirageSource:

The Mirage is the only passenger car in Mitsubishi's local line-up. It is also specially designed for inner-city driving. On top of the budget-friendly price is its fuel efficiency. Under the hood, the car runs on a 1.2-litre MIVEC petrol engine with choices for a manual or automatic transmission. Its engine and aerodynamic lines combine to deliver an outstanding 4.7L/100km fuel economy.

Arriving in the second quarter of 2020, the latest Mirage will take the fight to KIA Picanto for the best-selling budget car with its fresh look and interior technology.

Inside, the car has small trim changes like piping and stitching on the seats. A 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is also installed.

Other specs include:

  • 15-inch alloy wheels
  • Central door locking with keyless entry
  • Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM)
  • Rearview camera
  • Daytime running lights

The Mirage also comes with a warranty of 7 years or 150,000km, whichever comes first.

2. Kia Picanto - $16,190 to $19,190 driveaway

Kia PicantoSource:

This city car and the tiniest vehicle in KIA’s line-up offers a comfortable ride and great steering.

Classed as a microcar, it comes with many advanced features, such as full instrumentation, sound system with an AM/FM radio, Bluetooth connectivity for phone and audio streaming, Aux and iPod compatible USB inputs, four speakers, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen for cabin control with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Picanto GT runs on a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine which is the most powerful and economical engine in the range. However, it is only available in a five-speed manual gearbox. Other models have a 1.25-litre, twin-cam, four-cylinder petrol.

While the Mitsubishi Mirage boasts a 2013 5-star ANCAP safety rating, the Picanto only has a 4-star from 2017. This is despite having an autonomous emergency braking, cruise control, reversing camera, and disc brakes on all four wheels among several other safety features

The car is covered with a 7-year or 150,000 km warranty and up to 7 years or 105,000 km capped price servicing, whichever occurs first.

3. Toyota Yaris - Estimated $17,490 to $30,000 driveaway

Toyota YarisSource:

The Toyota Yaris is one of the known small, fuel-efficient vehicles in Australia. With the 2019 Yaris almost sold out, the 2020 model is now ready for pre-order although the official pricing is not yet released.

Once launched, it will be the cheapest car on sale in Australia with a centre airbag between the two front seats and the option of hybrid power.

Yes, the all-new Yaris runs on a new range of engines in both hybrid and petrol. The petrol 88kW 1.5L 3 cylinder CVT engine is at least 15% more fuel-efficient yet 10% more powerful than the previous generation while the hybrid model has the most powerful and economical engine in the range with as low as 3.3L per 100km fuel consumption.

The small hatchback is also huge on safety and technology with the addition of Toyota Safety Sense and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.

Other features include:

  • 15” alloy wheels
  • 16” alloys and rear spoiler (top-spec ZR)
  • LED daytime running lamps
  • Rear lights (on mid-spec SX and ZR)
  • 60:40 Split rear seats (SX and ZR)
  • Piano black and satin finishes (SX and ZR)
  • Leather-accented steering wheel (SX and ZR)
  • Digital tachometer (SX and ZR)
  • Smart entry and start (SX and ZR)
  • Satellite navigation (SX and ZR)
  • Sports seats and pedals (ZR)
  • Piano black and red finishes (ZR)
  • Motorsport-inspired paddle shifters on the petrol variant (ZR)
  • Head-up display (ZR)
  • Intelligence clearance sonar (ZR)
  • Blind spot monitor (ZR)

The car also comes with a five-year unlimited-kilometre warranty that covers any part, panel, and accessory made by Toyota.

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4. Kia Rio - $17,990.00 to $23,990.00 driveaway

Kia RioSource:

Known for its sporty design and modern features, the multi-awarded economy hatch is a great first car. The exterior looks sporty and “youthful” with its Aerodynamic lines, muscular contours, and LED daytime running lights and fog lamps, rear spoiler, and a rear camera that’s neatly integrated under the KIA badge.

Powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine on all models except for the top-spec GT variant that runs on a 1.0L 3 cylinder turbo petrol engine, the Rio has less power but more fuel-efficient than its predecessor with the 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. The car is not really designed for off-roading and towing, anyway, so “power” shouldn’t be your biggest concern.

The modern, sporty and driver-oriented interior features:

  • 325 litres of boot space (VDA)
  • Flexible 60:40 split folding rear seats
  • 7-inch LCD touchscreen with smartphone connectivity
  • supervision instrument cluster (GT)
  • front & rear USB charging ports
  • parcel shelf

All variants of the Rio range carry a 2017 five-star ANCAP rating. It is also covered by a 7-year unlimited-kilometre warranty and capped-price service of up to 7 years or 105,000km.

5. Suzuki Swift - 17,990 to $23,990 driveaway

Suzuki SwiftSource:

To compete against other popular economy cars, the latest Swift model features a light facelift and additional tech and interior enhancements.

The refreshed look includes a new grille design with a chrome slat running horizontally across the nose in front of a honeycomb mesh grille, slightly tweaked bumper and headlamps, and two new sets of alloy wheel designs.

Inside, the seats are upholstered in new fabric materials, the steering wheel in some CVT automatic transmission models is now mounted with paddle shifters, a 360-degree camera, and a 4.2-inch LCD with new digital speedo readout on the driver’s dash.

The Swift runs on 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine that produces 82kW and 160Nm and the more powerful three-pot turbo producing 103kW and 230Nm. Transmission options are a five-speed manual and CVT auto.

The car also comes with a 5-year unlimited-kilometre warranty and an updated Capped Price Service program that allows new Suzuki customers to service their vehicle every 12 months.

These are just five of the many affordable cars out there that won’t take a toll on your budget. If you want to make the biggest savings when buying your vehicle, remember that there are a lot of factors to consider aside from the purchasing price. Fuel economy and maintenance requirements are two of the greatest factors that greatly affect the total cost of car ownership.

Also, with more technology upgrades come price increase. What good will a cheap car do if you have to sacrifice comfort and safety all the time? So, don’t get blinded by the price. Choose wisely.

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