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Ten brand-new small automatic cars under $20,000.

Dabas Blog early 2021: Ten brand-new automatic cars under $20k.

Hello readers, as we embark into early 2021 and the new C19 normal, many people, pending their chosen occupation, are still mostly working from home. They may continue to do so under sufferance – or enjoyably into the future. Due to this new 2021 C19 normal, some people are avoiding public transport preferring to stay in their Covid19 free bubble. Melbourne car-buyers are re-evaluating their vehicle needs when updating a car or entering the new-car market for the first time, including their desired spending budget and size of new car. This is especially prevalent if the vehicle being updated is the family’s second car or mainly used for inner-city commuting with few occupants, destined to stay parked mostly in its local postcode due to the driver not needing to go to the work-office as frequently; or at all. With that in mind, in this DABAS blog page, let us have a brief look at what brand-new cars are available, at times – with automatic transmission –   in a $20,000 price budget. Yes, it may be a small field, but finding a brand-new car with an automatic transmission up to the $20,000 mark is not completely impossible (*excluding on-road costs). Noting, that is of course, you should have realistic expectations of your $20k price-range segment’s trim level, size, power, rear passenger space and the cargo-carrying (and mostly non-towing capacity) – offered at this entry price point.

It is true that most brand-new-car buyers in 2021 have their own personal household’s budget front of mind, meaning models hovering at or below the $20,000 mark can still be incredibly enticing options to all new (and used) car-buyers, especially if this new car’s main intended usage is inner city A-to-B local commuting needs.

Before you ask: yes, the $20K entry budget does rule out family automatic SUVs, or even most automatic transmission versions of MY21 brand-new small cars. Keep in mind, there is still a selection of automatic entry-level compact models available for sale in Australia that may suit your needs at this $20K entry price point.

Please find below ten MY20-MY21 brand-new compact small automatic cars that have current pricing starting under $20,000 (generally excluding on-road costs), mainly found in the compact hatchback segment of the new-car market. Note: while these are generalized prices, individual deals may vary. Included are some drive-away deals where available; these may have been subject to change by the time you read this blog – none of the prices mentioned include options like metallic paint or any optional accessories.

With all that in mind, and in no particular order, let us have a brief look at what automatic car $20,000 can buy you in 2021.

The Honda City VTi.

The Honda City VTi is priced from $18,490 before on-road costs for the MY20 Honda City VTi auto sedan.

Brief overview – The GM MY20 Honda City VTi Sedan 4dr CVT 1.5i is a sedan version of the Jazz hatchback. This light-class Honda City sedan has a large 536-litre boot and similarly expansive interior. Available in VTi and VTi-L form, it is powered by an 88kW/145Nm 1.5-litre engine driving through either a five-speed manual or CVT (automatic) transmission. All versions feature a nicely trimmed interior with a large multi-function colour LED screen and intuitive operations for functions such as Bluetooth, cruise control and audio system. A rear-view camera and four power windows are all part of the deal, while the VTi-L version adds climate control, a starter button, eight-speaker audio and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Safety rating: Five-star ANCAP, tested 2014.

To read more about the Honda city please go to the Honda Australia website.

The Honda Jazz VTi

The Honda Jazz is priced from $18,690 before on-road costs for the 2021 Honda Jazz VTi auto hatch.

Brief overview – The GF MY20 VTi Hatchback 5-door Honda Jazz Hatchback provides the basic platform for the City sedan model as mentioned above and gets the same impressive packaging benefits with a little more pragmatism thrown in with the hatch. Available in VTi, VTi-S and VTi-L form, the Jazz combines a spacious cabin with lots of flexible luggage space, an instrument panel with a seven-inch multi-information display, air-conditioning (climate control on up-spec models), cruise control, reverse camera, and even leather trim on the top-spec VTi-L. All models have LED headlights. The 1.5-litre engine has 88kW/145Nm and can be teamed with either a five-speed manual or CVT transmission.

Safety rating: Five-star ANCAP, tested 2014.

To read more about the Honda Jazz please go to the Honda Australia website.

The Kia Picanto

The Kia Picanto is priced from $16,290 before on-road costs for the 2021 Kia Picanto S auto.

Brief overview – The JA MY21 Kia Picanto S Hatchback 1.2i is Kia’s top-selling micro-class five-door hatch; it competes with the likes of the Fiat 500 and Mitsubishi Mirage. In a range comprising S, GT-Line and GT variants, the tiny Picanto has cheeky style, personable interior and a choice of two engines: a 62kW/122Nm 1.2-litre four-cylinder or, in tighter-handling, larger-wheeled and manual-only GT form, a turbocharged 74kW/172Nm 1.0-litre three-cylinder. There are two transmissions: a five-speed manual or a four-speed auto. Autonomous emergency braking, four-wheel disc brakes, six airbags, cruise control and a multi-function control screen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity are standard. And do not forget Kia’s exceptional seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty.

To read more about the KIA Picanto please go to our past blog here – or the KIA Australia website.

Or – click here.

The Kia Rio

Although the 2021 Kia Rio S auto is priced from $20,390 before on-road costs do keep in mind that Kia can have regular offers from $18,990 drive-away.

Brief overview – The YB MY21 KIA Rio S Hatchback 1.4i is an immensely popular five-door hatch: it goes head-to-head with the likes of Toyota *Yaris (*which is more expensive), Suzuki Swift and the light-segment MG3, both as mentioned in this blog. Powered by either a 74kW/133Nm 1.4-litre four-cylinder or, in GT-Line, an 88kW/172Nm 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo (driving through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission where non-turbo variants offer either a six-speed manual or four-speed auto), the five-star ANCAP Kia is a fun, frugal drive and comes with the company’s seven-year warranty. The interior accommodates four adults comfortably and is fitted out with the popular features you would expect: Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, aircon, rear-view camera, six-speaker audio, and a multi-function colour control screen.

Safety rating: Five-star ANCAP, tested 2017.

To read more about the KIA RIO please go to the KIA Australia website.

The MG 3

The MG3 Core is priced from $16,690 driveaway (at times) for the 2019 MG 3 Core auto.

Brief overview – The MG3 core is a light hatch powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine: the MG3 was initially introduced to the Australian market in 2016 with a manual-only range of three trim levels and a seven-year warranty. The distributor has now dropped the once flagship MG3 Essence model from the now facelifted range and raised the prices of the two remaining variants. The new pricing reflected a move to a standard four-speed automatic for both models and a move to a seven-year, unlimited-kilometres warranty.

Safety rating: Three-star European NCAP, untested by ANCAP.

To read more about the MG3 please go to the MG Australian website.

The Mitsubishi Mirage

The Mitsubishi Mirage is priced from $16,490 before on-road costs for the 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage ES auto.

Brief overview – The Mitsubishi Mirage is a great micro-class contender. The five-door, five-seat Mirage hatch is powered by a 57kW/100Nm 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine driving the front wheels through either a five-speed manual gearbox or a constantly variable transmission (automatic) and offers welcome economy with a claimed consumption figure of 4.8L/100km. The tiny Mitsubishi offers surprising interior space and a reasonable boot that can be extended by lowering the split-fold rear seat. Available in base ES, LS and Black Edition form, the Mirage comes with air-conditioning and Bluetooth connectivity while the LS adds cruise control and climate control. The six-airbag Mitsubishi Mirage gets a five-star ANCAP safety rating and is covered by a five-year 100,000km warranty.

Safety rating: Five-star ANCAP, tested 2013

To read more about the Mitsubishi Mirage please go to the Mitsubishi Australian website.

 The Suzuki Baleno

The Suzuki Baleno is priced from $16,990 before on-road costs for the 2020 Suzuki Baleno GL auto.

Brief overview – The Suzuki Baleno EW Series II GL hatchback 1.4i is competing with the likes of the Mazda2, Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Fabia light cars. Suzuki’s endearing Baleno five-door hatch offers an appealing entry-point into the new-car market. Offered in GL and GLX form and powered by a 68kW/130Nm 1.4-litre four-cylinder, the Baleno offers outstanding interior space for its class and can carry plenty of luggage (1085 litres, seats-folded maximum) with a quoted towing capacity of one tonne. Fitted out with standard sat-nav, cruise control, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and a reversing camera, the Suzuki Baleno is covered by a five year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, capped-price servicing and comes with a three-year roadside assist program.

Safety rating: untested by ANCAP.

To read more about the Suzuki Baleno please go to the Suzuki Australia website.

The Suzuki Ignis

The Suzuki Ignis is priced from $18,990 before on-road costs for the 2020 Suzuki Ignis GL auto.

Brief overview – The Suzuki Ignis MF Series II GL Hatchback 5dr 1.2i is ideal If you are in the market for an entry-level (very) light SUV. The Suzuki Ignis has plenty of charm. Powered by a thrifty 66kW/120Nm 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine driving the front wheels through a CVT transmission, the Ignis is more a mini hatchback in terms of size and capabilities. The appealingly chunky Suzuki is available in GL and GLX model grades, both standard with sat-nav, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, voice control, cruise control and roof rails. The more expensive GLX gets bigger, 16-inch alloy wheels, climate control and push-button starting. Though the boot measures only 264 litres, the Ignis will carry four adult passengers with surprising comfort.

Safety rating: Three-star European NCAP, untested by ANCAP.

To read more about the Suzuki Ignis please go to the Suzuki Australia website.

The Suzuki Swift

The Suzuki Swift is priced from $19,990 before on-road costs for the 2020 Suzuki Swift GL Navigator auto.

Brief overview – The Suzuki Swift AZ Series II GL Navigator Hatchback 5dr 1.2i is Suzuki’s strong-selling light-class hatchback. It comes in three basic forms, each with a separate engine: a 66kW/120Nm 1.2-litre four-cylinder, an 82kW/160Nm 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo and a 103kW/230Nm 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo. There is a choice of five- or six-speed manuals, a six-speed auto or a CVT transmission. Accommodating four passengers with surprising ease, the five-door Swift range begins with the 1.2-litre GL Navigator (with standard sat-nav), progressing through the 1.0-litre GLX Turbo to the zippy, MINI Cooper-challenging 1.4-litre Sport version. The Navigator GL is available in Safety Pack form with high- and low-speed autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist – all standard on GLX Turbo and Sport versions.

Safety rating: Five-star ANCAP, tested 2017.

To read more about the Suzuki Swift please go to the Suzuki Australia website.

The Skoda Fabia 81TSI (AUTO)

The Skoda Fabia 81TSI is priced from $19,890.

Brief overview – The Skoda Fabia NJ MY21 81TSI Hatchback 5dr 1.0T is VW Polo platform based and priced in the light car class. The Skoda Fabia can be had either as a roomy five-door hatch or a versatile station wagon with up to 1375 litres of load space. There are two 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol engines: the five-speed manual-only 70TSi, with 70kW/160Nm; and the seven-speed dual-clutch auto 81TSI, with 81kW/200Nm. The Fabia comes with autonomous emergency braking and a rear-view camera, while LED headlights, blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert are linked to optional packages. Android Auto/Apple CarPlay are standard, as are all-round power windows and a multi-function steering wheel. Fabia hatchbacks claim fuel consumption as low as 4.2L/100km.

To read more about the Skoda Fabia please go to the Skoda Australia website.

So, when the time comes to update your car for a safer MY2020-21 brand-new car or recent late-model used car

– even a towing car, or 4WD for your 2021 regional Victorian road-trip getaway – in post- C19 lockdown Melbourne. DABAS knows that buying a car to suit your needs can be one of the biggest purchases in your life. DABAS offers flexible personal assistance to clients on their car-buying journeys tailored to suit their individual budgetary needs. DABAS services can be delivered in a vast variety of ways, including – but not limited to – phone consultation/s, zoom meetings, research emails, research links, LMCT yard email link referrals, face-to-face meetings at a caryard/s, in the cafe at an LMCT caryard or even in your home if required. The choice is totally yours, pending personal needs and the urgency timelines of being behind the wheel of your next car.

DABAS services are offered flexibly, as stages in a journey. You pick at what stage of your journey you may need DABAS’s assistance: maybe the full journey, or just vehicle selection/clarification, or maybe just providing a car-yard buffer zone and help with the yard process.

We hope this “general-in-nature information” page has provided some useful information to assist in your vehicle search. By clicking on DABAS’s blog index link here you may find some guidance for your personal car-buying journey. The included highlighted links on this page may also provide other information that assists in selecting a suitable vehicle for your car-buying needs.

Please do note any examples, options, pricing, and information mentioned in our blog pages is to be considered as a very general-in-nature summary.

Whatever roads your life journey takes you on, DABAS can help you find a car to travel those roads.

Have a great day, Cheers, Tim.

Please note our disclaimer, as clients have individually tailored needs and stages on their DABAS automotive-buying journey, information mentioned on this – and all – DABAS blog pages is to be considered as a general-in-nature summary. Any vehicle pricing on our pages is general in nature and can be discussed and clarified – if needed – relevant to the timeframe and date stamp of your transition to becoming a client of DABAS.


DABAS: specialising in personal service and drive-away brand-new or used car deals.

Buying a car? Confused with the process? YOU don’t know where to start? Do YOU need help? DABAS can help YOU – with one of our personally tailored car-buying advocacy services we can put a third-party buffer zone between you and the car yard. With one of DABAS's face-to-face car-buying assistance packages, we can help YOU buy your next car cheaper, wiser, less stress whilst saving money! We come to you, face to face consultations, servicing the inner Melbourne and metro region. Whatever roads your lifestyle journey takes you on, DABAS can help you find a car to travel those roads. Please contact DABAS If we can be of assistance in your car-buying journey, for some helpful tips and information scroll to the DABAS blog post’s below, Thanks for visiting; have a great day, Tim