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Best new cars for young buyers: Gold Star Car Awards

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Buying and running a car can put a big strain on the budget so Money teamed up with Wheels to find the best value car for you

Young couples/singles Winner: Kia Picanto S

The cheapest car to run in Australia is the Kia Picanto S.

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Only grabbing a bus, an Uber or a GoGet are among the less costly transport alternatives to the baby Korean.

If you're intent on new-car ownership and want to do it at minimum cost, with a degree of driver appeal, then the Picanto is it.

The model is offered in the single 'S' spec and opting for the five-speed manual saves you $1500 upfront and a further $120 each year at the bowser.

The depreciation here is about $2500pa, which is as good as it gets for a new car, and the Kia kicks on with the brand's generous seven-year warranty, a handy 12-month/15,000km service interval and bargain-basement annual Budget Direct insurance premium.

Young couples/singles Second place: Mazda2 Maxx

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Mazda's well-established driver and ownership appeal are reflected in its 55% Glass's resale figure, which sees it shed just under $8000 in the first three years.

From this cracking start the mid-spec Mazda hatch - which gets a cheeky 2kW and 2Nm boost over the entry-level Neo - powers on with good economy on plain old unleaded, a generous 12-month or 10,000km service interval and cheap-as-chips annual insurance at $701.

The only misstep is in the warranty stakes.

Three years might be OK now but it'll start seeming ordinary as five-year warranties become the norm.

If there was a judge's pick for the car in which value and fun squarely align, the Mazda2 Maxx manual hatch would be it. Ideally, as CarShowroom suggests, with a safety pack fitted.

Young couples/singles Third: Hyundai i30 Active CRDi DCT

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The arrival of the PD series has seen the Hyundai i30 come of age, bringing new-found style, quality and driver appeal, while our analysis suggests the model's long-held value credentials carry into its new chapter.

The stout 54% three-year resale reflects the model's - and the brand's - wide appeal and hard-earned reputation for reliability, and it no doubt helps real-world values that a three-year-old i30 will have two years' warranty left.

With a sharp $26,000 price tag for an Active-spec turbo-diesel with a seven-speed dual-clutch box, the i30 is off to a flying start.

At 4.7L/100km it's miserly at the bowser and the five-year unlimited kilometre warranty and 12-month/15,000km service interval put it ahead of most of its rivals in the small car category.

For more on the Gold Star Cars, including the best family car and best premium car and all the methodology, grab the October issue of Money.

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