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Average running costs For Australia's Small cars

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Updated 12 Oct 2019

Rita Bonivento

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As the cost of living has increased, more and more Australians are looking to save money on everyday expenses. This is especially true when it comes to mode of transport.

Many Aussies are deciding they no longer require a larger, more expensive car and are choosing to downsize to a smaller, more fuel efficient vehicle.

Small car sales have skyrocketed over the last 5 years, with many manufacturers adding new models to keep up with demand. But are you really saving money by changing to a smaller vehicle??

From its network of 1,600 workshops and mobile mechanics Australia-wide, AutoGuru has compiled the running costs of the five most popular small vehicles, based on a 10-year logbook service schedule and the annual fuel cost based on the average distance Australians drive per year.

Many consumers do not factor this in when purchasing a car, and it can lead to nasty surprises when it comes to service time!

The small car segment includes some of Australia’s bestselling vehicles, including the Toyota Corolla and the Mazda 3, as well as the Hyundai i30 and Volkswagen Golf.







Mazda 3


10,000 km / 6 months




Check out the servicing schedule & cost for your Mazda 3

Toyota Corolla


10,000 km / 6 months




Check out the servicing schedule & cost for your Toyota Corolla

Hyundai i30


15,000 km / 12 months




Check out the servicing schedule & cost for your i30

Holden Barina Spark


15,000 km / 9 months




Check out the servicing schedule & cost for your Barina Spark

Volkswagen Golf


15,000 km / 12 months




Check out the servicing schedule & cost for your VW Golf

Of this list, the Hyundai i30 is the most expensive of the five, due to its 2 litre engine being thirstier than its competitors.

The Volkswagen is the only one of these vehicles to still use a timing belt, resulting in the highest servicing costs of the five, but better fuel efficiency offsets this, and brings it in second place, behind the Barina Spark for overall cost per year.

If you are planning on purchasing the Toyota Corolla or Mazda 3, they require more frequent servicing – every 6 months or 10,000km, whichever occurs first, compared to the longer 15,000km intervals of the other three.

Now, imagine a seamless segue here...

Right. AutoGuru lets you search, compare and book from over 1,600 qualified mechanics across Australia. Boom!

Image credits: Toyota Corolla - James; Hyundai i30 - Luke Chapman

All data gathered in September 2016. 

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Written By

Rita Bonivento

Rita’s a Gold Coast dweller who’s been wordsmithing for ages. She started out at Michelin Melbourne 22 years ago, & an avid traveller, has written in the marketing arena all over the world since then.

Her first car was a 1970 VW wagon she inherited from her dad. She’s had a few vehicles since then with an overall Toyota theme coz she reckons they do the best air con for the Aussie heat.