The $60K

The aim: two ver­sa­tile ve­hi­cles into your garage for roughly the an­nual aver­age wage

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Cover Story - NEIL DOWLING neil.dowling@cars­guide.com.au

DOYOU han­ker for a sports car while the fam­ily de­mands an SUV? Need a city car for com­mut­ing but still want the big car for week­ends in the coun­try?

Life­style dilem­mas need a so­lu­tion and this is ours: a $60,000 bud­get for two ve­hi­cles that will sat­isfy the wishes and wants of a cou­ple or a fam­ily or even multitasking sin­gles.

Smart buy­ing and know­ing ex­actly what you want are keys to get­ting the most from your $60,000, so a used car can be the sec­ond ve­hi­cle. For the pur­poses of re­li­a­bil­ity and high­est pos­si­ble safety rat­ing, the main se­lec­tion in th­ese sce­nar­ios is new.

And why not? With very low in­ter­est rates, rel­a­tively low prices, hun­gry car deal­ers and a huge choice of makes and mod­els, to­day’s buyer is bet­ter placed than ever to get a bar­gain.

So here’s how to get the car you’ve al­ways wanted and make the fam­ily happy— have your cake and eat it, too.

1 SPORTS CARAND FAM­ILY WAGON

THIS is an ideal mix for a range of fam­i­lies. The used MX-5 here is an NB model with 1.8-litre engine. It grew to 2.0 but per­for­mance gains weren’t huge. The price range is $15,000-$20,000— get the car thor­oughly checked out be­fore buy­ing. It should prove a re­li­able and en­joy­able Sun­day car that may just be­come your ev­ery­day drive. The Mazda6 wagon is spec­i­fied with the dearer diesel be­cause apart from be­ing very eco­nom­i­cal it is such a re­ward­ing drive. The Mazda also has good space to load up kids and week­end gear, has all the lat­est safety fea­tures and even looks smart.

2 CITY CAR AND SUV

If your week­day starts with a grind down the high­way to hell, you want some­thing to get you there with­out stress. The an­swer is the smart, re­li­able, nim­ble and safe Yaris. At a smidge un­der $20,000 for the auto— save $2400 and get a man­ual— you could ar­rive rel­a­tively stress-free. But you’ll need some­thing a bit more sub­stan­tial for week­ends or kid-wran­gling. The Peu­geot 3008 is less an SUV than a cross­over with­out all-wheel drive. It’s very French and very eco­nom­i­cal but its best fea­ture is an amaz­ingly ver­sa­tile cabin and an abil­ity to tow 1500kg. Fea­tures and safety rate highly.

3 FUN CAR AND PEO­PLE-MOVER

Peo­ple have an in­stant at­trac­tion to the Fiat 500. The cabrio cranks the fun as­pect up a cou­ple of de­grees and this is its main ap­peal. As a con­vert­ible it doesn’t need per­for­mance to shine— it’s auto-only and the 1.2 engine is wheezy— but it’s zippy, has a re­fresh­ing sim­plic­ity and is very eco­nom­i­cal. The Citroen seven-seater is made for haul­ing a lot of peo­ple or a lot of cargo yet it’s amaz­ingly easy to drive, fru­gal, com­fort­able and, with its panoramic roof, a great fam­ily cruis­ing car.

4 BABY HATCH BACK AND FAM­ILY WAGON

New Volk­swa­gen Up is the cheap­est Euro­pean in Aus­tralia, mix­ing Teu­tonic sim­plic­ity with fuel-squeez­ing ideas. It’s man­ual only and the three-door is bet­ter suited than the five-door as a bud­get run­about. Con­sider an ex­tra $500 for the por­ta­ble in­for­ma­tion mon­i­tor that in­cludes sat­nav. The Pas­sat 118TSI is an af­ford­able, well­built, safe, stylish and cav­ernous wagon with good econ­omy and dy­nam­ics. A diesel adds $5500 and is best suited to long-dis­tance drives.

5 SPORTY COUPE AND 4WD WAGON

The clos­est the Veloster gets to

‘‘ hot’’ is when left in a car park in Fe­bru­ary. But it looks the part and is fun to drive. I’ve listed this as an auto given most will be city-bound. De­spite its low price, it boasts top safety gear, ac­tu­ally seats four peo­ple and has a healthy equip­ment list. When you tire of the Veloster there’s the sen­si­ble Forester. The lat­est model is far more fuel ef­fi­cient and a bet­ter drive, han­dles some dif­fi­cult off-road tasks with ease and has a ver­sa­tile and roomy cabin.

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