All about light cars
What is a light car?
A Light Car refers to a particular size of vehicle, which is also known as B segment, Sub-B segment, A segment, Supermini, mini, short, little, tiny or baby sized).
Why buy a light car?
There are many reasons why more people are increasingly choosing a light car.
Light cars are often picked because they are the least expensive, or cheapest, new car available.
But light cars' city friendly sizing (with easy parking virtues thrown in) also factor in the purchasing decision.
However, being frugal, or fuel efficient, is probably the main reason light cars are becoming more and more popular.
In fact, since 2005's petrol price increases, excellent fuel economy – that is, achieving best mileage – is primarily why people (be they city, urban, suburban, country or rural folk) choose light cars.
Yet low emissions also matter these days, with reduced carbon dioxide helping to reduce pollution further increasing the appeal of light cars.
These days, light cars are also becoming more roomy, spacious, practical, versatile, durable and dependable than ever. Increases in crash test safety, reliability, quality, and image perception further heighten the light car's appeal.
You might even settle for a particular light car model because it has great vision, excellent resale value, impressive pedestrian impact ANCAP, ENCAP or NHTSA ratings or low CO2/low carbon dioxide outputs.
Choosing the best light car for you (and avoiding the worst) is a matter of research, since there are dozens of light vehicles to choose from. Low prices don't always mean value for money.
How small or large is a light car?
Usually not more than four metres long, although a light car can be much smaller.
What shapes or sizes do light cars come in?
Most light cars have a hatchback (also known as a hatch) body shape in three-door (3-door) or five-door (5-door) configurations.
However, increasingly there are light cars in four-door (4-door) sedan variations, as well as the odd wagon or mini people mover styles.
In the past, some light car models were offered in two-door (2-door) sedan and two-door coupe shapes. Two examples of these light cars are the 1970 Ford Escort and the 1975 Holden Gemini respectively.
What type of engine is found in a light car?
A light car normally features a four-cylinder (4-cylinder) engine, although three-cylinder (3-cylinder) engines are becoming more widespread among more modern light cars.
Petrol or diesel (turbo-diesel) powered engines are the light car norm, but petrol-electric hybrid light cars are also on their way.
Are there environmental light cars?
A light car is generally classed as the most economical and/or environmental vehicle you can buy.
In the future, we can expect to also see fuel-cell vehicles (FCV), as well as natural gas (NGV) and plug-in pure electric models.
Where do light cars come from?
Light cars have come to Australia from Asia (Japan, Korea, Thailand, India, Malaysia, China), Europe (Germany, Italy, Britain, France, Spain, and Czech Republic), but not from the United States of America, surprisingly.
Light car examples
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries dissects the light car market into ‘up to $25,000' and ‘over $25,000 segments.
Best light cars under $25,000
Listed in alphabetical order, the top 5 best sub-$25,000 light car contenders are the Ford Fiesta, Honda Jazz, Mazda 2 (also known as the Mazda2), Suzuki Swift and Toyota Yaris.
Light cars that also earn merit are the Hyundai i20, Mitsubishi Colt, and Nissan Micra. These light cars score particularly highly for value.
Cheaper versions of the Fiat 500, Fiat Punto and Peugeot 207 also rank highly, although most of these models' pricing is set north of $25,000.
Best light cars over $25,000
In alphabetical order, the best light cars over $25,000 are the Fiat 500, Peugeot 207, and Renault Clio.
Used and discontinued light cars
Older, discontinued or unavailable light car models include the Chery QQ, Citroen AX, Citroen C1, Daihatsu Charade, Daihatsu Materia, Daihatsu Move, Daihatsu Sirion, Daihatsu YRV, Fiat Panda, Fiat Seicento, Ford Festiva, Ford Fusion, Ford Ka, Honda Fit, Hyundai Atoz, Hyundai Excel, Hyundai i10, Hyundai Santos, Kia Picanto, Lancia Ypsilon, Mazda 121, Mazda Metro, Mazda 121 Metro, Mazda Verisa, Mitsubishi Mirage, Mitsubishi i, Opel Agila, Opel Corsa, Opel Meriva, Peugeot 106, Peugeot 107, Peugeot 1007, Peugeot 205, Peugeot 206, Renault 5, Renault Modus, Renault Twingo, Seat Arosa, Seat Ibiza, Skoda Fabia, Skoda Felicia, Smart ForFour, Subaru Justy, Suzuki Splash, Suzuki Wagon R, Toyota Echo, Toyota Aygo, Toyota Vitz, Toyota Starlet, Vauxhall Agila, Vauxhall Corsa, Vauxhall Meriva, Volkswagen Fox, and Volkswagen Lupo.