If you’re considering a new car for 2022 because you want the reassurance of a warranty and manufacturer backing, or even just to have the new car smell without the need for a $3 air freshener, there are lots of options.
But, if you want a new car and are operating on a budget, don’t worry. There are a surprising number of quality cars asking reasonable money out there, like the rather superb MG3.
At the beginning of December, MG announced it will introduce drive-away pricing, similar to how Toyota and Honda do things. In a nutshell, it means the advertised price is the final price, with no sneaky extra costs tacked on at the end of the transaction.
It also means you can’t haggle a car down, but that’s okay because the MG3 is insane value already, asking a measly $19,490 for the base Core model, which also includes MG’s impressive 7-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.
As standard, it comes with rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, an eight-inch digital infotainment supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a leather trimmed steering wheel.
Paying an extra $2000 gets you the up-spec Excite model, which adds larger wheels, a better audio system and synthetic leather trim on the seats.
Both use a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine making 82kW/150Nm, paired with a four-speed automatic. It’s not a bad unit either, despite the low cog count.
But the Core model really does have all you need in a new car. It might be missing some of the active safety features more expensive cars offer, but that’s part of the reason why it’s one of the few cars under $20k.
And it’s actually fun to drive! Hydraulic power steering might sound antiquated with all the electric power steering going around these days (and it’s the reason why the 3 doesn’t offer lane-keep assist) but it translates to more road feel than an average small car.
Pair that with a surprisingly nimble chassis and enough power to have some fun carrying corner speed, and you have a car that is actually quite fun on a very small budget.
Runner up: Honda Jazz
The latest Jazz arrived in New Zealand about halfway through the year, and predictably, it’s very good. It brings a more conservative design than the previous generation, but it also brings more tech and versatility than most other options in its price range.
The Jazz range starts with the $28,000 Life, but if your budget requirements stretch more towards running costs than initial purchase price, then the $35,000 e:HEV Luxe hybrid is the one to go for.
It has Honda’s trick new hybrid system, which combines a 72kW/131Nm 1.5-litre petrol engine with an 80kW/253Nm electric motor and gives you no input over drive modes – it simply does whatever is best for the situation and, as a result, uses very little fuel.
A good option for those wanting something bigger is the Haval H6.
Haval’s medium SUV combines good looks and a good ride with a huge amount of kit, and a really commendable level of improvement from the last generation. The only real stumbling blocks here are vocal driver assist systems and an unintuitive infotainment system.
But then, it only costs $35k, and when you take that into account, it’s exceptionally good value for money.