Our five 15K
What to buy, a new city car or a slightly used family vehicle? Here are our top picks
YOU can save a motza on a late-model used car, because the first owner has already taken the biggest hit, usually 30-50 per cent, in depreciation.
Ideally, you want to be the second owner and hang on to the car for a few years to maximise the value you get from your motoring dollar.
We’ve picked our top five used small cars under $15,000 based on reliability, quality, safety, space and running costs.
There are no Euros on our list. The VW Golf, Peugeot 307 and Holden Astra are sweet drives but can also fall to bits and are hideously expensive to fix and service.
Trust us. There is no such thing as a cheap, reliable, European used car.
Harsh? Well, that’s what Australian conditions are.
Cars made in countries closer to us have it all over those from Europe, despite their nicer badges, for quality and durability. Blue-chip Japanese engineering doesn’t get any better than in the Mazda3. It’s also the pick of this contest as a drive.
You’re looking at a 2008 Neo Sport hatch or sedan with the optional safety pack fitted. This includes six airbags and stability control. The 2008 model is a four-star ANCAP scorer.
The 2.0-litre four is strong, responsive and runs on regular unleaded. Handling is agile and secure and on the road the car feels solid and polished. The stylish, durable interior has ample space for four, complemented by useful boot volume.
The standard equipment list is stingy in Neo Sport spec. If you’re lucky, you may find a Maxx Sport, with cruise, 16-inch alloys and classier trim. Among many good things going for the i30 is the fact that if you pick up a 2008-09 model you’ll still have at least 12 months’ coverage on the car’s standard five years/unlimited kilometre factory warranty.
Chances are you won’t need it, because the i30 is bulletproof, and cheap to run. Pick of the range for economy and performance is the i30 1.6-litre turbo diesel, Carsguide’s 2007 Car of the Year.
With the i30, Hyundai was the first maker to have full ipod connectivity as standard in an affordable car. The hatch was joined in 2009 by the CW wagon, which has a family-size boot.go for base SX spec with the optional six airbags/ stability control safety pack.