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If you're shopping for a pre-owned car, chances are you're looking at popular models such as the Toyota Corolla Altis, Honda HR-V, and Hyundai Avante. But widen your search and some interesting choices might make your list.
Category: Car Buying Advice
Most car buyers will play it safe when shopping for a pre-owned car. Models that are popular, and known for being reliable and relatively easy to maintain, will top most drivers' lists.
But if you're willing to be more adventurous, you could land a car that's more interesting than what your colleagues and relatives are driving. For this story, we trawled Sgcarmart's listings to find three-year old cars with an annual depreciation of between $13,000 and $14,000.
Here are the models we found.
Suzuki Swift 1.0
It may be the smallest car in this story, but there's plenty to love about the little Suzie. The Swift 1.0 is everything you'd want in a supermini: It's compact, easy to drive, and comes with a punchy engine.
Said motor in this case is a turbocharged 1.0-litre inline-three, which is paired to a six-speed automatic gearbox. Producing 109bhp and 160Nm, this perky hatchback goes from rest to 100km/h in 10 seconds, which is much quicker than the Swift Mild Hybrid's 12.2 seconds.
It feels nippier than what the paper figures suggest, and doesn't mind a keen driver behind its wheel. It's not big on space though, and the boot is only 264 litres with the backrests up. Still, whether you're a newbie driver or just looking for something fun, the Swift could be it.
Hyundai i30 1.4
Hyundai's answer to the Volkswagen Golf was very competitive. It offered comparable passenger space, a larger boot (395 litres versus 385 litres), and more performance compared to the 123bhp Golf models.
The i30's turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder delivers 138bhp and 242Nm to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Zero to 100km/h takes 9.2 seconds, and the hatchback averages a claimed 18.2km/L.
The only downside is that the infotainment screen is small and that the overall cabin design looks relatively sombre. Still, it is well-built, offers a pliant ride and remains more affordable than a Golf of the same era.
Seat Ateca 1.4
If it's a well-equipped and smooth-performing compact crossover you seek, then the Ateca 1.4 might be right up your alley. Updated in 2020, the model was given a new 8.0-inch infotainment display, which complements the 10.2-inch Virtual Cockpit. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
Under the bonnet is a turbocharged 1.4-litre that makes 148bhp and 250Nm of torque. However, instead of having a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the engine is paired to an Aisin eight-speed torque converter gearbox. Thus equipped, the Ateca hits the century mark in 9.0 seconds.
This crossover is pretty practical, too. There's a 510-litre boot (rear seats up) for your hauling needs. Fold these, though, and capacity expands to over 1,500 litres, which should be useful for trips to Ikea.
Citroen C3 Aircross 1.2
If you think that the Ateca is too 'ordinary', then perhaps something quirkier like the C3 Aircross will catch your eye. Its square design looks boxy at first, but its rounded edges give it a softer and friendlier vibe.
The unique styling continues inside, with rounded squares found on the instrument panel, steering wheel and door handles. There are even accents on the air-con vents to make the cabin look more interesting by giving it added pop.
That's cool since instead of offering pop, the performance is geared towards efficiency. The turbocharged 1.2-litre three-cylinder with 110bhp and 205Nm takes 11.8 seconds to finish the century sprint, but it can average up to 17.9km/L.
Skoda Superb 1.8
The Superb exemplifies Skoda's philosophy of offering value for money models that exceed the expectations of their segment. In this case, the flagship fastback has the space and refinement of an executive saloon at a less expensive price.
There's nothing cheap about the car, though. Standard equipment includes LED head lights and taillights, dual-zone climate control, seven airbags, and an 8.0-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
With a 2,841mm long wheelbase, rear seat legroom is very generous and can easily accommodate occupants over 1.8m tall. And thanks to the fastback body style, the boot is stupendously big as well, offering 625 litres with the backrests up, and a massive 1,760 litres when these are folded.
Subaru Impreza Sedan
Family sedans are becoming rare these days, and if you want something rarer still, then a 2.0-litre model like the Impreza might be what you're seeking. It's a left-field choice, with plenty to offer.
The driving position is spot on, the steering has a positive feel, and Subaru's EyeSight - a suite of driver assistance and safety features - is standard. One of its most useful functions is adaptive cruise control, which is very smooth in slowing down and accelerating the car.
Also helping deliver a good drive are the smooth-revving flat-four engine and tidy handling. Subaru doesn't mention it, but the Impreza's balanced suspension and well-sorted chassis are able to soak up bumps and deliver sharper-than-expected cornering performance.
*All figures are correct at time of writing.
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