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