Which car for small family under $65k?

Think of changing a family car for under $65k on road in mind.
Mainly for wife to drop kid off schools - Safety is important. As you may already know, she can be a better driver.
Weekend family activities - biking, beach….
Need space to transport bigger shopping items sometimes - Like many OZB, we pick up bargains from market. Hatchback, CV, wagon no sedan.
Driving European car so think wife leans towards the same. But we know the price to pay for expensive part and service and reliability is painful.
I am considering a dealership staff used Volvo D4 luxury (MY15 less than 12 months/9000kms) for likely roughly $60k on road or D5 basic for $65k. Haven't test drive one yet.
Also to consider, a choice to get a Hyundai i35 which will be paid off in 3 years or pick a $65K car which has a balloon to pay end of lease or give back.
Open for your input and discussions. Thanks.


  • +3

    New Hyundai Tucson highlander

    See recent video review on autoexpert .com .au

  • +6

    I wouldn't spend $65K on a non-performace car. You'll thank yourself later if you avoid a European car. Parts can get quite pricey. Check this out - top 5 SUVs per price bracket. http://www.caradvice.com.au/top-5/suvs/

    • +8

      have to say this list has some of the worst SUV's on the road

      the Territory is an awful awful thing, the Trax almost as bad, Peugeots are nice cars - but too pricey in parts and a Cherokee HA HA HA

      my 2c

      • +14

        Apparently if you buy a Jeep you'll never buy another one.

        Never touch a Peugeot.

        • +18

          we bought a jeep - never again

        • +8

          Can confirm - Friend has had 2 Jeeps and both pieces of junk that were always in the shop needing expensive repairs

        • +5

          @dogboy: hrmm this is contrary to the statement "if you buy a Jeep you'll never buy another one."
          Perhaps if they bought both on the same day…

        • +2

          @drprox: I know .. some people just don't learn.

      • +1

        that's the thing about these cars they are tested only when NEW!

      • +11

        Why do you say Territory is terrible? Several people I know have them and love them. Very roomy, great to drive, parts are cheap, and the diesel is quite good on fuel. Please back up your statement with some facts, otherwise it is just another pointless comment!

        • +9

          Some people prefer the allure of a European badge and look down their noses at anything else. Territory is a good car regardless of badge.

        • Couple of our friends have Territory and they are good spacious reliable cars. Few other friends own Euro cars that are now 4-5 years old and they sink avg 5k a year on repairs.

        • @snajper: drove about 3 Territory around 2006-2009. Each of them have issues with the disc brakes "warped" - that the car vibrates when going downhill and brake. Since I did not pay for the repairs and running costs, I did like the Territory for its size. Very thirsty on fuel on petrol but there was no diesel at the time.

        • +3

          My XR6 had the same issue but still managed to get 100K out of factory rotors. Bought and fitted new rotors $140 problem solved…

        • Possibly one of the best value second hand cars and with so many part in common with the Falcon cheap to maintain

        • +1

          Second hand engine with 60k on clock $750….
          Why….. no one needs one as latest barra engines are good for 400-500k…

        • @snajper: any cabbie will tell you

        • @Jackson: I was in a cab yesterday and spoke to the driver. I see more Camry Hybrid instead of Falcon LPG. Which makes me think of getting a Hybrid as an option instead of diesel.

        • @eatwell365: this is also true, the hybrid uses less petrol than gas falcons and is cheaper to run, and the cabbies live it because they go a whole shift on 20 odd bucks so no wasting time filling in mid shift. It's a car I am considering for my next

      • -3

        Own a 2012 jeep Cherokee and can't complain at all.

        No problems when we drove it out of the dealer and to this day still going strong.

        Friends have wranglers that bush bash all the time and love em too.

        • +5

          Lol. Its barely 3 years old.

        • -6


          Let's not get started on this BS… If you want to lol go and lol at a vw.

      • +1

        +1 That caradvice list is horrid

  • +4

    VW Passat Wagon - you will not go wrong. I drove one for a week as a loan car and only wish I could afford one.

    • Oh yes!They are great!I fitted a washing machine in there so OP you should be able to pick up whatever bargain you find!

      Also a 2015 Touareg might fit in your budget as well, but from what I heard last, they are pretty low in stock, or out.

      For something smaller, maybe a NX 200t?

      • Vote for the Touareg here. Brilliant car for the $'s.

        • +1

          dad has owned 2 now, both junk.
          Repair costs per other comments here on Euro cars are out of control.
          He has had innumerable problems ranging from parking sensors and brakes to turbo and exhaust issues.
          He won't buy another.

      • +3

        Wow, a car with a washing machine fitted, I would love to see that on pimp my ride

    • +7

      In the news at the moment for the US: VW emissions scandal hits 11m vehicles.

      • that is for diesel vehicles.

        • +2

          Just so we're on the same page, I do like VW vehicles (First car I drove was a Kombi). It was more about how they rigged it to manipulate the results. It's one of those things, if they're doing it with the diesel emissions results, what else are they doing?

          Sure, it might have only been an isolated result, but I'm sure they've lost a few loyal customers.

          in diesel cars including the Audi A3 and the VW Jetta, Beetle, Golf and Passat models.

        • +1

          @rompastompa: I was one of those who got lumbered with a Lemon Golf 4 years ago - a new DSG gearbox within the 1st 6 months. New pistons within a few months etc but I still would choose the Passat if I could

        • @rompastompa: yep, their cars give us cancer at 40 times the rate we thought they did :D

      • I wouldn't touch VW now, even before I stayed away.

        They're good for the warranty period, there after good luck.

    • +1

      You budget will allow for a Passat Wagon Alltrack. Which gives higher ground clearance and 4WD sort of a wagon/ mild offroader in diesel as well.

    • Just don't get the diesel.

    • +1 sorry didn't mean to neg I have fat fingers….

  • You're not buying the car outright?

    • no

      • Have you looked at buying something outright that's less expensive? Or is price not the reason for financing?

        I know some of the best advice would be buying 2 years old selling at 5 years old (or keeping if the car is working fine). A 2 year old ix35 will not be much different to a new one. You would save a lot.

        • worked related car allowance - ie. a set amount to spend per annum. Interest will be coming out as expense, instead of money from my own pocket. You are correct re 2 years old car, thus, new car dealer offer ex staff vehicles for sale after driving a year,

        • +1

          @eatwell365: Just because you get a tax break doesn't make it free. I would personally save your coin and get something a couple of years old for close to half the price.

        • @stephendt: thanks, ie looking at options to get a half price car then own it in few years or drive more expensive car and pay a balloon. Having an out of warranty European car - $10k fix last year and still having issue from time to time : (

  • +19

    I'd say look at a Landcruiser Prado Diesel. Ok it might not be the most refined car money can buy for that price range, but:

    • Resale - Amazingly low depreciation! Just have to look at the secondhand market to see how well these go.
    • Versatility - Growing family, now means you have the option to go camping/fishing
    • CPS - Toyota has 1 of the cheaper CPS programs I believe
    • Reliable (refer to point 1 on resale)

    As I said at the start, the car isn't going to 'wow' on the feature list, but it will be reliable and give you plenty of options for weekends/holidays. Go a 7 seater, fit a tow bar to it, and make sure it has f+r parking sensors for the mrs ;)

    • The best advice here. Solid vehicle with undisputable reputation.
      More suited to long term ownership over euro makes with low serving costs and less likely of major component failures.

    • Yep. Pretty sure you'd be able to get a GXL on the road for 65k. Decent with fuel too. 9-10l/100km for me generally.

    • 18 upvotes. He's onto something there. I know so many peeps get a new one every five years, they are awesome. They are proven and good.

  • +3

    Why would you take our advice, which is very partisan since we've probably only driven one of the contenders for any length of time, over a motoring writer, who has driven them all extensively?

    • +4

      True, and most likely to get some young one explaining why a wrx or evo would look better at maccas. :-(
      Op would be better off visiting owner forums and checking out reviews. Also motoring reviews must be taken with a grain of salt as usually they come from journalists who have the car for a weekend and have no experience with engineering / build factors or any consideration for longevity, servicing costs, component durability, etc..
      New car buying begins with finding the right style for your intended use then weeding through those cars on offer.

      • Stereotypes aside the WRX STI is one of the best value for money cars on the market.

        • +3

          Mate… your tastes and ideals of what is value change as you mature.

        • +2

          Mate, they hold their value quite well and for under $60K the engineering of the car is top notch. Nothing was mentioned about taste - everyone will have different opinions on what a car looks like. Personally I don't think they look too "boy racer" if the optional spoiler is left off. But each to their own on that one.

        • +5

          Value for money is in the eye of the beholder.

          For $60k I'm sure I could find a better suited car to my family of 4, with both kids in car seats and me being 6'3.

    • +3

      You're assuming motoring journo's don't have any bias? I'm yet to read a review that wasn't properly researched, or didn't take everything into account that they did with an opposition car.
      A journo may downvote a car because it doesn't have heaps of power, yet economy wins over other cars in the class - Depending on your preference would depend on whether you agree the lack of power is a bad thing, or prefer better economy.
      Same with seating position, legroom, and the general feel of the car - No amount of reading up on other people's opinions will help you out in that way.

      Get an idea of a few models of interest, go and look at them, narrow it down to 3. Drive those 3, back to back, same day. Then narrow it down to 1, and talk about price. Talk price last once you're sure you have 1 particular car you have in mind.

      • Fair points (bias will always exist to an extent), when I purchased my car, almost most of the reviews were 100% spot on. So I trust their reviews for the most part. I think they're a good indication.

    • +1

      my logic:

      word of mouth is more reliable than advertorial. I trust you guys.

      If one has driven and maintained the same car long enough, think tends to have better understanding than one off test drive - eg service price, lemon, deals … which may not be reviewed.

      people are power. your brainstorming will give me more ideas than reading a boring magazine.

      I do not enjoy to make choices when shopping.

      • +1

        Dear OP, are you my boyfriend? Do you happen to hate making choices when it comes to eating out?

        • +2

          Surely I am the type. Whenever I eat with someone, I would say " make it two please" and a sigh of relief.

  • +4

    but as for the Landcruiser- driving one of those lumbering beasts around the suburbs trying to get a park is not my idea of fun. This is from a review of an earlier but similar size one.

    "She: The average parking space is 5.4 metres long - and wedging 2.5 tonnes of car into that with only 45 centimetres to spare is a challenge! This beast feels like a freak in the city and, while it has earned its stripes off road, my time was all on the tarmac."


    • +1

      Prado - 1885 wide, 4930 long, 1890 high
      Territory - 1898 wide, 4856 long, 1714 high

      So Territory actually wider, which would be the main thing impacting parking. Also only 8cm longer than a Territory.

      Prado is same sizing as most SUVs in the market, unless you look a bit smaller at Captiva and Hyundai/Kia

      • +2

        "She: The average parking space is 5.4 metres long"

        Parallel parking is the issue, not side by side.

  • Volvo XC90 (Prev gen)

    Excellent safety, 7 seats, heaps of features

    That or a Discovery 4.

    I'll also add a vote for the Prado even though I think my first 2 suggestions are better.

    • True, the dealership sold a XC90 2013 (MY14) similar price to a 2014 (MY15) XC60 D4 luxury. No XC90 (used) in stock. Which one would you pick between the two?

      • +1

        Definitely not the xc90, they are ancient and very very outdated. The XC60 is also getting long in the tooth. Pick a newer car.

  • +22

    You could get an old Magna station wagon and spend a month in Europe, then put the rest in Super and retire a year earlier than you currently plan. But I suppose you want the car.

    • +1

      Then you'd have to rock up everywhere in a old Manga station wagon though shudders

    • I like this.

    • +2

      Buy an old Magna station wagon, respray it piano gloss black, get huge pimp wheels and be the coolest* parents in the school car park. And go to europe and put the rest in super. Its a win win!

      *coolness not guaranteed

      • True. Remind me the TV program "Pimp my wheels".

  • +9

    My own personal opinion: Subaru Outback Premium (2.5 would be my pick - the 3.6 is too thirsty for me)

    My reasons:

    -Well kitted out
    -Fun to drive on road
    -Capable off road
    -Reliable if maintained properly
    -Relatively economical - at least compared to similar sized SUVs

    But I'm a fairly biased Liberty owner. In my eyes, Subarus are the perfect all rounder cars. Maybe it's an engineer thing

    • -9

      Any engineer worth their pay cheque wouldn't buy a car with a CVT gearbox or a 30 year old engine.

      • Are you an engineer?

        • @thorton82: do you own a current Subaru with said gearbox and "30 year old engine"?

        • +2

          A Subaru outback would be my suggestion as a good car as well. I disagree with thorton82, who I note provides no alternative.
          I have had a Subaru outback for the last 5 years, and it has been faultless. It has class leading safety and the interior has stood up to my kids, dogs and whatever else I throw in there.

          The cvt gearboxes seem pretty good now, this is no longer first generation technology so I am confident in their reliability now (and yes I am a mechanical engineer). I still would not touch a dsg gearbox.

          The Subaru interior is dark, and some don't like it, for me it is fine and certainly not a great reason to not buy a car.

          But the best thing for me would be there very good reliability and there new eyesight safety equipment.

        • -1

          @skyva: I provided a plethora of alternatives, look up.

          CVTs aren't good, no matter what generation. It's only a matter of time before they fail, but worst of all is that they are simply inferior to more conventional alternatives. It's laughable that you would not get a DSG but are happy with a CVT. The VW group 6 speed and 7 speed wet clutch DSG are very reliable (but their 7 speed dry clutch has had some issues, granted).

          The Subaru was a fine car 20 years ago, it is woefully outclassed these days.

        • +2

          @thorton82: mother, sister and two good mates all have DSGs in VW and Fords. All are clunky junk within a few thousand km. Don't get me started on the service costs. Manual all the way!

        • +4

          @drprox: I'll second that too…Subi's are one of the brands which enjoys strong loyalty from existing owners. I have 2 office colleagues who are on their 3rd Subi. They are extremely well built and with the FTA with Japan they are now excellent value for money. AWD, 5 star Ancap. You won't be short on space fits 5 adults comfortably, i have managed to fit in a 2.3m tv entertainment unit in my car.
          The only downside about Subi's are they service intervals ae 6 months, as against 1 year for most other brands.

        • -2

          @gaurav1504: and the lack of power, crappy gearbox, 1990s interior, inferior economy, etc, etc. I think the one thing keeping Subaru afloat is brand loyalty, the die hards just refuse to look at the competition.

        • +1

          @gaurav1504: I forgot to add my parents also have a circa 1970s Subi Brumby which has done god knows how many km, most of them driving around a farm and hasn't skipped a beat :P How did I forget that detail!

        • @thorton82: Im looking at the competition, so just did a comparison with the car you suggested.

          Outback vs Jeep Grand Chrookee Ltd - Diesel
          Price 41k vs 66K (25k difference!)
          Boot Load space 1801L vs 1554L (hmmm…i guess all those gadgets in the jeep might be in the way)
          Fuel Eco 7.3 vs 7.5 (i know its petrol vs diesel, even then Jeep looses out)
          Service intervals are the same 6 months apart.
          Standard equipment list of the outback is significantly more superior to the Jeep.

          The only thing going for the jeep is wheelbase which converts to legroom at the back.

          Lack of Power - I think i'll bank the 25k for going 2sec faster from red light to red light.
          Crappy Gearbox? - Im not sure what are you on about the gearbox for, have the car for 5 years and it hasn't skipped a beat.
          1990's interior - Im certain they didn't have GPS then, electric memory seats (jeep doesn't have it), host of safety features(lane departure warning, fwd collision warning, stop/start system.(jeep doesn't have them either)
          Inferior economy - False, get the facts right.

          So all and all, you have 25k more expensive car, which has poorer equipment list, less boot space, more expensive to drive, poorer resale value.


        • +1

          @drprox: that doesn't surprise me, according to thorton's claim, Subi is still making the same car with no changes…go figure!

        • @gaurav1504:

          Don't forget maintenance costs. Jeep minor service ~$400. Subaru Minor service ~$260.

          Mid and Major services scale up similarly.

        • @gaurav1504:

          You are not comparing the same class of car. It is extremly ignorant to compare a full 4wd to a wagon crossover. The Jeep can go off-road for a start, has much better real world economy (diesels always do thanks to the loads of torque). You can't just ignore the difference in power, it's massive and even bigger if you opt for the cheaper petrol. Best not talk about torque (based off your last post where you think that memory seats equates to a good interior, I'm sure you wouldn't understand anyway). You can pick up a 4*4 petrol Laredo for the price of an outback, but that's off topic. Personal anecdotes don't escape the fact that the CVT is a rubbish gearbox. And you really need to get your facts right. The Grand Cherokee has 782 litres of boot space, versus 512 litres in the Outback. Resale comparisons are laughable, go look at carsales and see what resale values are like. You are really grasping at straws, making up facts to suit your point. Add to this the fact that I suggested multiple other superior cars. I get that you made a poor choice when you bought your car, but you don't have to try and spread it around so other people make the same mistake.

        • @gaurav1504: Mehanically, how has the Subaru changed in the last 30 years?

        • @drprox:
          Hi Dude….. Just wondering which ford has DSG….?

        • +1

          @snajper: sorry mate, I mean powershift. Which is Ford's dual clutch solution to a problem the world doesn't have :)

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