The humble philosophy of motoring is not about how much luxury you have, or how you look; it's about the practicality of getting from A to B, and there is definitely satisfaction in knowing you didn't break the bank to achieve it. If these cars are a little too basic for your needs, why not check out our top ten list of cars under $20,000.
Even on these ten cheapest new cars, safety is no longer an optional extra. Anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and several airbags are packed into them all, with Bluetooth, air-con, power windows and keyless entry. All paired with small, efficient engines to deal with modern traffic requirements with the reassurance of modern safety engineering.
Mitsubishi Mirage ES - from $12,250
The Mirage is an honest-to-goodness small hatch that goes where it's told and will keep you safe on the freeway, no worries. It is surprisingly spacious thanks to its upright body and gets the full five star safety rating from ANCAP. A facelift last year brought freshened grilles and interiors across the range. The 1.2-litre 3-cylinder engine makes 57kW of power and 100Nm of torque, which can be paired to a 5-speed manual, or CVT auto for $1240 extra. With just 890kg to carry around, you really don't need that much power or fuel. If the 235L boot isn't big enough you can fold the rear seats down.
Fuel economy of just 4.8L/100km means your dollar will go much further when it comes to fuel. Couple that to an impressive 5 year/100,000km warranty and free roadside assistance and you'll find a lot of wholesomeness in Australia's cheapest new car.
Suzuki Celerio - from $12,990
The Mirage may be the cheapest car on paper, but when you factor in on-road costs, Suzuki's current offer has the edge. A brand new car fully-registered for under thirteen grand may sound too good to be true, but the Celerio comes from a very long line of micro-car expertise.
The engine is a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder with 50kW and 90Nm. Not much, but at 815kg, it doesn't need more. Like the Mirage, it manages 4.8L/100km and is a four-seater but has a 254L boot and is entertaining to drive, with a classic and distinct three-cylinder charm. It manages a respectable four-star ANCAP safety rating and has six airbags, ABS, stability control and belt reminder. It's a simple and honest car, with character that has won many friends.
Holden Spark LT - from $13,990
Holden went all-out with its new Spark, with even the base model featuring a sophisticated colour touch-screen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This is unheard of at this price range and really moves the game forward. In addition, you get a 5-star safety rating thanks to the all-new chassis and Holden's Australian engineers have made sure it is very fun to drive and predictable.
The gutsy 1.4-litre engine makes 73kW through either a 5-speed manual or CVT automatic. With vibrant colours and classy styling, it stands out in the market and has an interior you would expect of a much more expensive car. It is a very solid package for the price and drinks just 5.2L/100km.
MG 3 Core - from $13,990
For 2017, the famed British sports car maker MG is back, but this time with an affordable, Chinese-built hatchback that allows you to customise its looks like nothing else in its class. Featuring a 78kW 1.5-litre engine, the zippy new car sips just 5.8 litres for every 100km you travel and comes with a five-speed manual. Bluetooth integration is standard, with a satellite navigation package available at extra cost. The roomy interior is complemented by a 256L boot and best of all, the car is backed by a phenomenal six year/unlimited km warranty. If you want a funky hatch that channels the spirit of late '60s British Roadsters, then look no further.
Kia Picanto - from $14,990
Going from a manual-only MG to the auto-only Picanto there are some stark differences. The Kia is much smaller and unlike the other cars mentioned, uses a traditional four-speed automatic. The hearty 1.25L engine edges out most rivals with 63kW and 120Nm, to return 5.3 litres per 100km. The interior has an emphasis on quality materials and space efficiency, with Bluetooth and a quality stereo standard. The styling is funky and it looks like a playful puppy but is backed by a 7-year warranty.
Mazda2 Neo - from $14,990
Mazda's modern generation of cars benefits from an ultra strong chassis, all-new high-efficiency engines and gearboxes plus finely tuned dynamics to make them some of the most sporty and entertaining in the class. The Mazda2 Neo is no exception, with either a slick and satisfying six-speed manual or auto, both paired to a responsive SkyActiv 1.5-litre engine. Economy is quoted at 5.4 litres per 100km. Models higher up in the range also get a clever 'MZD Connect' system, which uses a colour screen and rotary dial.
Hyundai Accent Active - from $14,990
When it comes to value, Hyundai has had an edge in that department for a long time. Although based on a 2011-vintage car, the 2016 Accent Active ticks plenty of boxes including 5 star ANCAP safety, colour touch-screen infotainment system, full-size spare wheel and five-year warranty. The 1.4-litre engine makes 74kW and is paired to either a five-speed manual or CVT auto for $2000 more. It is one of the more spacious offerings in its class and still proves very popular with buyers.
Honda Jazz VTi - from 14,990
When it comes to space efficiency, the Honda Jazz is king, with wagon-style space, folding 'Magic Seats' and the most room of any car in its class. With either a 5-speed manual or $2000-extra CVT auto, the Jazz makes the most of its 1.5-litre, 88kW i-VTEC engine, with a winning combination of Honda's renowned build quality, style, useful space and affordability.
Toyota Yaris Ascent - from $15,290
There's a reason why Toyota has an unbeatable reputation. It's a combination of reliability, cheap service costs and modern, efficient transport. The Yaris Ascent features Euro-inspired styling, a 1.3-litre engine that makes 63kW and 121Nm, and either a 5-speed manual or tried-and-true 4-speed automatic. A colour touch-screen infotainment system incorporating Bluetooth is standard, as is a five star ANCAP rating.
Proton Preve GX - from $15,490
A recent price reduction on the Proton Preve means you can get a medium-sized car for small-car prices. For that outlay, you get a 1.6-litre, 80kW engine, a spacious cabin with an enormous 508-litre boot, 16-inch alloys, reverse sensors, Bluetooth, six airbags, Lotus-tuned suspension and a five-star ANCAP rating. This little-known car is a real dark horse, offering lots for very little.