With so many models in each companies range though I could get overwhelmed merely quoting prices. So in a bid to keep things relatively simple I am going to focus on one type of car, a car the majority of European manufacturers do best, the basic to mid range hatch back. By giving a direct comparison to some similarly spec'd Japanese, Korean and Australian rivals hopefully it will be clear that buying European is not such an expensive business.
ServicingAlso as well as that all important purchase price there is another key barrier that prevents people choosing a Euro in Australia and that is the perceived running and servicing costs being high. So in a bid to debunk this myth too and prove that the cars can be maintained just as cost effectively as their Asian counterparts I'm going to give the price for a 12 month service on each car.
To a selection of Europe's offerings first, the Renault Megane, Citroen C4, Peugeot 308, Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Golf all with manual gearboxes except the Renault.
Volkswagen Golf 90TSI Comfortline
- Frugal 1.4 turbo capable of 5.4L/100km, refined German styling and build quality
- 5.8 inch touchscreen, cruise control, reversing camera, auto wipers
- Multiple safety systems
- 3 year unlimited km warrant and fixed price servicing (£330)
Citroen C4 Seduction (awful name by the way)
- To quote Citroen, the C4 features a serene ambiance, what more do you want?
- Cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, MP3 CD radio, multifuction steering wheel
- 6 year unlimited km warranty and breakdown cover and 6 year fixed price servicing ($330)
- Economy of 6.2L/100km
Renault Megane GT-Line
- Sat Nav, rain sensing wiper, auto lights, parking sensors, 17" alloys
- 5 year unlimited KM warranty and 5 year Aussie wide breakdown cover
- 3 year fixed priced servicing ($299)
- Economy of 5.4L/100km
Skoda Octavia Ambition Plus
- Powerful but economical 1.4 litre turbo engine capable of 5.2L/100km (DSG)
- Sedan like body provides more space over rivals
- 5.8 inch touchscreen sound system and heap of driver aids
- 3 year unlimited km warrant and fixed price servicing ($286)
Peugeot 308 Access (admittedly this is the base model, but it is brand new to Aus)
- Fresh design, winner of the 2014 European car of the year
- LED Daytime running lights, Air con, Bluetooth and USB connectivity
- 3 year 100,000km warranty, 5 year fixed priced servicing ($297)
- Economy of 4.6L/100km
Now compare those specs and prices to the Asian and Australian options, the Kia Cerato, Hyundai i30, Toyota Corolla and Holden Cruze.
Kia Cerato Si
- Auto headlights, Keyless entry
- 7 year unlimited km warranty
- Fixed price servicing ($286)
- Economy of 7.4L/100km
Toyota Corolla Levix SX
Hyundai i30 Elite CRDi
- Torque rich turbo diesel with economy of 4.5L/100km
- Touch screen sat nav, auto wiper and headlights, rear view camera
- 5 year unlimited km warranty
- Lifetime of fixed priced servicing ($260)
- 18 inch alloys, heated front seats, smartphone connectivity, sat nav
- 3 year, 100,000km warranty
- 3 years of capped priced servicing ($180)
- Economy of 6.2L/100km
My choice of cars is by no means exhaustive, these are merely a random selection of the cars for sale right now. I should also point out that yes, by picking a more basic trim level to ones I picked you can dramatically affect price, but I just wanted a like for like comparison. Interestingly though if you take advantage of VW and Skoda's run out 2014 offers on their most basic trim levels some extraordinary value can be had. Base models of both the cars listed here can be driven away for £22,990.
To conclude, this whole exercise is not intended to be some hatred fueled rant against Korean or Japanese cars, I'm a lover of all things on four wheels. I can see for example that the Holden and Toyota have very appealing servicing costs and that the Korean pair have huge warranties not to be sniffed at. This is also not a comparative road test, that would be unfair as I've not driven them all. What I hope to have achieved though is show that picking a European hatch over the others does not have to be as expensive as some people would have you believe. All the cars here are within $4000 of each other and in some cases it can even cost less to buy Euro in the first place.
Pictures shown are not of the exact specifications listed courtesy of Newspress & GM Corp