Everybody loves a bargain, and if you’re looking for a back-to-basics approach to motoring that can simply get you from point-A-to-point-B safely, you’ll surely be interested in our list of the cheapest cars you can find in Australia for less than $20,000.
Competition in the micro hatchback market is more lively than ever before, as manufacturers introduce and improve upon their existing hatches, directed as first-time buyers and those looking for a no-frills commuter for their children, or those looking to grab some of the biggest bargains available in the Australian automotive landscape.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best cars on sale here in Australia under $20,000, which we’ve mapped out in no particular order.
1. Kia Picanto
The Kia Picanto has been a powerful force in the world of affordable compact vehicles, often leading the charge in terms of how much standard equipment we can expect to see in a car priced under $20,000.
Kia’s entry-level urban runaround comes packaged with an 8.0-inch infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a rear view camera with sensors, daytime running lamps, cruise control, and the added confidence of active safety technology like autonomous emergency braking (AEB).
Better still, all these features come with the peace of mind of Kia’s seven-year, unlimited kilometre warranty and capped-price servicing packages that can save you thousands over the Picanto’s lifespan. Kia’s little Picanto is also a lot of fun to drive, proving that affordable hatches can have an endearing personality of their own.
2. Skoda Fabia
Skoda is a manufacturer you might not be well-aware of, but it is a car maker that well-and-truly deserves your attention. In Europe, they’re a dominating force in the world of affordable vehicles, and thankfully in recent years, they’ve increased the number of models available here in Australia.
The Fabia is a stylish, sporty and affordable addition to the world of cut-price hatches, and it’s more attainable than ever before, as Skoda gears-up for the release of the next-gen Fabia and offers eye-watering deals on the current generation. As standard, you’ll get a set of 16-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension, adaptive cruise control, LED daytime running lamps, a sports steering wheel and reversing camera, as well as a 6.5-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
For those unfamiliar with the Skoda lineup, we think it’s time you introduced yourself to grab a bargain, especially considering just how much fun the Fabia is to drive.
3. MG MG3 Hatch
If you’re looking at the cheapest hatches on the market, the MG3 is a car that is well-worth knowing about for the future. Priced from $16,490, the MG3 is perhaps one of the most generously-equipped hatchbacks on the market.
The entry-level Core variant receives 15-inch alloys, automatic headlights with LED running lamps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, air conditioning, cruise control and an 8.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth support. All of these features in a stylish little hatchback that doesn’t look like a cut-price entrant into the segment, either.
The MG3 is also surprisingly entertaining to drive, and provides a comfortable environment for your daily commute around town, in a package that is effortless to park and navigate tight situations.
4. Suzuki Baleno
Suzuki is a manufacturer you’ll see more than once on our list, and there's a good reason for this. Suzuki is one of the leading manufacturers for affordable consumer vehicles, and they’ve carved out a sizable niche in the sector with cars like the Baleno, which is one of the few cars you get with an automatic transmission for under $20,000.
As standard, the Baleno is packaged with 15-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, cruise control, daytime running lamps, rear privacy glass, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a 7.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite navigation ad a six-speaker sound system with voice controls.
To make things even sweeter, the Baleno is also one of the most practical options in the affordable hatch market, with a boot rated at 355L of storage, which extends to 756L with the rear-seats folded down.
5. Mitsubishi Mirage
The Mitsubishi Mirage takes the crown for Australia’s cheapest car, with prices starting at just $14,990 for the entry-level ES manual, which works out to around $17,000 with all the on-road costs factored-in. While it might not have a huge amount of power on tap, it’s lightweight proportions mean that the Mirage is still surprisingly fun to drive around town, and is perfectly suited as a commuter specifically for the urban jungle.
This small engine also means that the Mirage is extremely fuel efficient, with an official figure of just 4.7L per 100km, and it has a five-star ANCAP safety rating. As standard, the entry-level ES receives 14-inch steel wheels, power windows, air conditioning, a reversing camera, autonomous emergency braking and a 7.0-inch infotainment system with DAB+ radio, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto.
Perhaps the best part of the Mirage as a complete package is Mitsubishi’s warranty package, which is the most comprehensive ownership program in Australia. The Mirage comes with a 10-year, 200,000km warranty, with 10-years of capped-price servicing also available.
6. Mazda 2
While technically the Mazda 2 is priced just above the threshold for our list, with starting prices of $20,990, we can make an exception for one of the segment’s pioneering figures. It’s also worth noting that with prices steadily creeping up within Mazda’s lineup, you’ll need to be quick to get a slice of the best hatches in the affordable segment.
The entry-level Mazda 2 G15 is perhaps one of the most entertaining vehicles on our list to drive at speed, and does a great job in transitioning back to comfortable, quiet cruising around town. As standard, the Mazda 2 receives LED headlights, a leather steering wheel and gear lever, cruise control, a reversing camera with rear-mounted sensors, keyless entry and a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto paired with a six-speaker sound system.
Mazda is also including a range of active safety technologies on the 2, including autonomous emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alerts and blind-spot monitoring, making it one of the most advanced affordable hatches when it comes to safety tech.
7. Fiat 500
For those looking for maximum style and flare from their affordable hatch, it’s hard to ignore the iconic little Fiat 500. Better still, one of Europe’s favourite hatchbacks is priced from just $18,950 here in Australia, representing a serious value for money proposition.
As standard, the Fiat 500 Lounge comes riding on a set of 15-inch alloys, and receives LED headlights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear parking sensors and a 7.0-inch infotainment system with DAB+ digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Better still, the Fiat 500 comes in a cute, compact package that is perfectly suited to the tight confines of the urban jungle, making it one of the best city cars on our list. If you’re a fan of the unique and personable styling, we’re sure you’ll love how the little 500 drives, thanks to its lightweight proportions and perky engine.
8. Suzuki Swift
Years ago when Suzuki first introduced the Swift to the Australian market, buyers were pleasantly surprised with just how much fun can be had in such a small package. Rather than create a boring, affordable hatchback, Suzuki aimed to improve how the affordable hatchback segment engaged the driver, and since then, the Swift has provided a fun and affordable way of commuting and having some fun on the open roads.
As standard, the Swift comes riding on a set of 16-inch alloy wheels, and is packaged with LED daytime running lamps, fog lights, privacy glass, cruise control, and receives a four-speaker sound system paired with a 7.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and satellite navigation, the latter of which is a rare feature for vehicles at this price. Starting prices are just above the $20,000-mark.
9. Volkswagen Polo
The Volkswagen Polo, priced from $19,290 in entry-level 70 TSI form is one of the mature, European entrants to our list, and brings the wealth of Volkswagen’s experience of compact, city-loving cars under the $20,000 mark.
As standard, the VW Polo 70 TSI comes packing 15-inch steel rims, although the premium interior with an 8.0-inch infotainment system, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel and rear view camera add to the Polo’s value for money proposition.
Better still, the little Polo receives a perky petrol engine that provides more than enough power while keeping the fuel economy at an impressive 4.8L/100km, which are some of the best economy figures of any car on the road here in Australia.
The Suzuki Ignis is a special addition to our list, considering it's one of the only compact crossover SUVs on our list, albeit a tiny one. This means that the Ignis is no doubt the most spacious and practical offering on our list, so if practicality and transporting people and their belongings at a cut-price is a priority, the Ignis should be atop your shortlist.
As standard, the Ignis is packaged with LED headlights, climate control, fog lights, roof rails, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, reversing camera, privacy glass and a 7.0-inch infotainment system with satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto paired with a six-speaker sound system.
11. Kia Rio
We’re going to close out our list with one of the best options in the world of affordable urban runarounds, the Kia Rio. While prices have been steadily increasing over the past few years, it’s still possible to slip into the entry-level Rio for less than $20,000, which is made even sweeter by the amount of features and safety equipment you’ll find as standard, and just how fun the Rio is to drive.
As standard, the Rio receives 15-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, a reversing camera with parking sensors, power windows, air conditioning, and an 8.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Better still, this is backed by Kia’s seven-year, unlimited kilometre warranty and capped-price servicing, giving you peace of mind for nearly a decade of motoring.