Need Advice to Buy a Car

Hi guys,

I am looking to buy a new car. Doesn't have to be brand new, but this is a car that I plan to keep at least for the next 10 years, and it would be nice to be the only owner and knowing the full history of the car and also getting the new car warranty on it. However, I am open minded to used cars if it makes sense financially.


Less than 40K - although this is not strict, I don't really want to spend much more as I would only be able to make an initial down payment of about 20K

Ideal use:

Work/city commuter (Sydney heavy traffic), with occasional weekend road trips to go camping/off-roading (read, unpaved, muddy tracks, but not tracks where you need offroad experience).

Must be Automatic Transmission. Ideally it would be nice and quick and a fun drive.

Cars I've looked into:

Note I had not driven any of these cars before. I drive a small ultra light at the moment.

Subaru Forester/Outback - I'm leaning towards the Forester XT

Land Rover Range Rover Evoque - Love the look of this car

I am open to any and all car suggestions. I would like to stay away from luxury brands as I hear that the maintenance/service costs for them are outrageously high.

I'd love to hear what you guys think as I honestly don't know that much about cars as I haven't looked around that much.

Edit: Cars removed: WRX Sti - silly, Jeep Wrangler - poor feedback, RAV4 - not exciting.
Budget changed from <60 to <40K.

Poll Options

  • 56
    <Subaru Forester XT>
  • 6
    <Toyota RAV4>


    • Love the look of these personally. However the grunt to weight ratio is horrible. Also the interior seems a little cheap and the tech is out of date.

      I'd wait for some improvements.

      • Have you driven it? I have, with 2 adult passengers to boot, and the on-road performance surprised all of us, which is why I said that it performs much better than the numbers would suggest.

        Also, in terms of both the interior and the tech, you are way off - the build, fit and finish is top notch and I can't think of another car in this price range that comes close to this in terms of the standard tech.

        • Yep, friend was looking and we both ended up taking one for a spin. We loved the look but agreed it felt sluggish.

          Tech-wise it's really just missing a few things you'd expect from a newer model. E.g. Apple CarPlay, android auto, rear-view cam. Lane drift warnings are a big plus though.

          Respect your views but disagree.

        • @Ninth Sphere: Fair enough. I assume you were looking at the base model (that starts from ~27k), as the Koba variant comes with the rear view cam, GPS and lots of other fruit such as radar / active cruise control, assisted steering, auto-breaking etc. No Apple or Android though…

    • -1

      You obviously haven't read the online reviews. Its a heavily flawed car with gimmicks.

      • Actually, I have read 5-6 reviews from reputable sources before test driving it. The average rating across all reviews was 8/10. But I gather that you haven't read them or test driven it.

  • +3

    Heart says WRX… Head Says Outback.

    • +2

      Forrester Turbo? ;)

      • +2


        I just bought a WRX from city subaru (perth)

        didnt consider the foz… maybe when its time to settle down ;)

        • Enjoy :) crazy cars but I'm never a fan of the interior, even at sti level

        • @Spackbace:

          ;) you dont pay for the interior ;)

          I read before you work at a car dealership in perth Spaceback.. may i ask which make?


        • +1


          Currently Holden/Suzuki. Things might change soon, not sure yet :)

        • Mind I'm asking how much you paid? and what version/options you went for?

        • @tuanmh:
          just over just over 40 , stock manual
          5 years ext warranty, mats and petrol

      • +1

        Wait, is that a thing? Is that the Forrester XT?

        • yep :)

        • +1

          Yeah might actually be a good option if you don't mind a bit of extra fuel use :)

      • You know what, this is the comment that lead me to do some digging and finally the Forrester XT as I didn't know what the difference was within the Forrester range and the lack of power put me off at first, until I found the XT. I think that's actually the car that I'm going to go with so thanks a lot for the suggestion!

        I might go for one thats 2-3 years old, dealer demo. Do you think that's good value?

        I do hear there is a new cycle 2018 Forrester coming out July-ish, do you think it would be worth while getting a demo 2018 model next year?

        • Up to you on the age of the car. Might be worth factoring in for an extended warranty, they only get 3yrs normally so not much left on the used one.

          Otherwise should be a good option but as always drive it! Make sure it suits your needs. No point having it tick the boxes but you hate the drive or find it uncomfortable.

          Either way it should help bring that budget down :)

        • @Spackbace:

          A car I love the look of is the Land Rover Range Rover Evoqu. What do you think of that?

        • +1

          @Smol Cat:

          I think the Subaru would be better suited.

          Put it this way, would you be afraid to take the Range off the beaten path?

    • Yeah its seriously a tough choice. Do I buy the car that suits the 99% of city driving that I'll be doing, or get the car for the 1% and yet still perform well for the other 99%.

      • +1

        OP it sounds like forrester/sportage/tuscon/rav4 are the pick :)

  • Any of those, just not the Jeep.

    Have a look at new I30. There is a sportier version.

  • Keep in mind, all of those options will be thirsty in heavy traffic (12+ L/100km).

  • +1

    Have you looked at Hyundai

    Tuscon or Santafe would be well in your price range. They are well appointed. They are not fast by and stretch of the word, but they hyundai family is quite comfortable, and as reliable as any other car on the road today.

    My personal favourite in the SUV market today would be the VW Tiguan. It is in your budget. The top line 162 is fast (as fast as my A4 quattro is). And they seem more reliable (than Audi were even though they are the same family). And You might be able to get some great deals as i believe they are hurting because of diesel gate. Just dont expect any sort of resale value when you decide to get rid of it.

    Of the list you have put up I would choose

    Outback 1st
    Rav 4 2nd

    The WRX is a great car, but is to low for any kind of dirt driving (apart from graded dirt roads), as it is more geared towards the sports sedan market.

    Subaru's are fun to drive (at least they were, not sure on the newer ones), and usually well appointed. I think the newer ones are pretty ugly, but that is my personal opinion.

    Toyota's are just reliable work horses. The Rav 4 wont be fun to drive, but it will be reliable.

    I would shy away from a diesel, as alot of your driving will be in traffic by the sound, and diesel do not do as well in those kind of conditions (once again that might be old diesels, happy to be corrected)

    • Great points and suggestions, thank you.

      What do you think of the Forester XT?

      I believe right now the choice is between Forester XT, Outback R3.6 and RAV4

      • +1

        My vote is the Forester XT. The smaller engine means better fuel economy and cheaper rego. The turbo means it'll have just as much get up and go where you need it compared to the Outback. The 4WD system on both the Forester and Outback are virtually the same. Nowadays in terms of tech and luxuries the forester and outback are pretty much the same.
        I would say the outback if you did more highway driving or if you lived out of Sydney, as the Outback would be a smoother right (due to long-wheel base) and would be nicer on the highway. Also would be better if you are wanting to Tow a boat or camper trailer in the future.
        Go the Rav 4 if you are wanting the save money. It won't be as quick, capable, luxurious, or as nice to drive compared to the Subarus, but it will be cheaper to maintain/service and is cheaper to buy in the first place.
        Also note, that Subarus have a better resale value, in my research at least.

        • +1

          Forester XT might be cheaper to rego but the insurance for the turbo car might negate the rego savings. I suspect the fuel economy is really related to the pressure on the right foot, they can be thirsty when driven hard.

        • @Euphemistic:

          2.0T, not a 2.5T or anything so can't imagine insurance being much worse. Not like it has Brembos etc

      • What about Levorg GT-S?

        • Looking at the specs and ground clearance, I'd just get the STI if I went for something like that. It seems like a lovechild of the Forester and WRX.

        • @Smol Cat: You say that like it's a bad thing :P I'm looking at a Forester XT as well for pretty much the same reasons you are anyway, I just wanted to throw the Levorg in because I reckon it looks dang sexy. Given your situation I'd agree that the Forester is the best pick

        • +1

          @nytrojen: Yeah it much more attractive than a Forester!

      • +1

        My mum bought a Forrester in 2001 when I bought my Impreza. She sold it last year. Didn't skip a beat. Was a great car. Subaru are great cars.

  • +3

    Fast is all relative. You can have a great time in an 'underpowered' car that has good handling. My old 2003 Forester wasn't a rocket, but was good to drive when stirred along. A turbo would have made it a lot more fun, but seriously, the speed limits we live under mean a 'fast' car is a liability for your licence.


    A mate has one and even though he is a unichip dealer (I hate the product), it stonks

    Even for basic off roading I would steer clear of a unibody chassis, the twisting really isnt good for the design.

    If you dont like utes they have an SUV thing with a full chassis. Get one with the timing chain and not the belt.
    they will tow 3 ton and 5 year warranty. They are more known for making commercial vehicles

    All the cars you listed are gimmicky!

  • +1

    Would you consider a Landcruiser Prado? Quick look on carsales shows 2017 GXL models, 4cyl Turbo Diesel going for ~$63k NEW. If this is a big no no, Forester XT. Great cars.

    • +1
      • +1

        This is honestly a bit big for me, as most of my driving will be within the city. I have heard how capable the Prado is though. Thanks for the example!

        • Check Toyota Kluger, I think it is smaller and cheaper compare to prado but its a V6

  • +1

    From your choices, I would choose the Subaru WRX simply because it's the only non SVU. About 95% of your driving will be in the city (commuting to and from work) but yet most of your choices are for the less than 5% of the time that you'll actually be off road. Why? Doesn't make sense. Also most camping spots are easily accessible. Yes, some are via dirt / unpathed roads but definitely don't require 4WD, as my little VW Polo can attest.

  • +1

    Passat Alltrack

    2.0 turbo diesel, largest boot capacity of it's class, and one of the largest boots of any non-commercial vehicle. Okay towing up to a small caravan. Good fuel economy.

    Adaptive AWD - not the best AWD but good enough for your described usage.

    Wet clutch DSG (not the silly dry clutch version which has problems). Much better than the CVT used in Subaru automatic vehicles.

    Cons - Adaptive AWD (traditional AWD is better), not as agile as it's competitor (Subaru outback) but not far behind.

    Fits your budget, brand new

    • I have a Passat Alltrack, and cannot speak highly enough of it. Each point above is correct. Never had an issue, very cheap to run, and awesome for trips as the boot is huge. Misleadingly big! And the back seat is large too… great for two baby seats with no impact on the front two seats legroom.

      • Did you get it with the digital techo?

        If yes, what are your thoughts? Is it worth it?

        If not, do you regret it?

        Tossing up between a Tiggy RLine (wife's preference) vs Passat Alltrack

        • +1

          Mine is a 2013, so the previous model. I've just ticked over 80,000 kms, without an issue. Still the same brakes! which could tell you something about how the car is driven.

          The new one looks awesome! I'd jump on board only we bought ours brand new for 50k and it's now worth 23k or so, and given the new one is almost the same, just looks better, I see no point in upgrading.

          Good luck!

        • @Buyme:
          Good to know. Thanks.

  • +2
    1. 2017 Mazda CX5 facelift
    2. Tiguan 162TSI - it's VW so long term reliability is a question. Especially if you don't know how to drive a dual clutch car which will lead to premature wear on the clutch.
  • +2

    I would go with a 2015/2016 kia sportage. <30K and still with more than 5 years warranty left.

    Based on your needs and the ozbargain philosophy there is really no rationale to spend more money while taking a loan.

    What other benefits do your other candidate cars offer over the sportage? Are those benefits worth the cost to you?

    Think about what you could do with the extra money. Is spending 20k more on a car going to offset the stress that the increased debt will bring?

    • +1

      I love the huge warranty on the Kias. But I honestly don't like the look of the front of that car. And this is a car that I'm planning to drive to the ground, so I don't think I could deal with keeping something for 7-10 years and not enjoy the appearance of.

      You raise very good points about the loan. I do not like going into debt with the banks, especially coz I just got a big mortgage this year. Right now I'm thinking maybe a 30K-ish 2nd hand Forester to not break the bank.

      • +1

        Yea, I do get that the looks of the sportage can be quite polarizing. haha.

        Fair enough if you think its ugly. Personal preference and it is something a lot of people pay a lot more for.

        If you ask me, I would think its best to be buying 2 or 3 year old cars, driving for 3 to 4 years then changing. Seems to be the best balance in terms of value/safety/reliability/enjoyment/conspicuous consumption. Save from avoiding new cars but still benefit from a regular upgrade.

        I suppose a 30k-ish forester would be a good compromise. Have you also considered a hyundai ix35/tucson?

        • Whoa the Tucson Highlander is actually pretty damn nice. I only just had a proper look at it. Those wheels and that massive sun roof.

          My only concern is that the lower spec ones do not have AWD, and they don't have the looks of the Highlander (top spec). And the Highlander is about the same price as a new XT :(

        • +1

          @Smol Cat: Oh yes, I did forget about that. I can't remember all the prices a specs, but my requirements were similar to yours but with a much lower budget and less priority on the looks.

          If you've weighed everything up and the forester is the way to go, I think that is a decent decision (although the lack of warranty freaks me out).

        • @lolbbq: Nah I appreciate the suggestions, it's always better to see what's potentially out there.

          I don't plan on pulling the trigger for at least a few months. Possibly could wait till next year even. I want to see how the new mortgage stress impacts my budget first.

          What car did you end up deciding on?

        • +2

          @Smol Cat: A camry, HAHA. So I kind of have two camries kicking around but they're comfortable, safe, decent looking (albeit boring) worry-free cars.

          Yea, same here. Just waiting for my financial situation to stabilize and for the family to decide what we might do after 3-4 years. It was going to be a recreational purchase and was not essential.

          Seems like you're pretty practical too (except for the cosmetic part of the car, you must really hate it huh ;] ).

          Good luck to your purchases and the next few months. When it comes to financial stress always over-estimate rather than under-estimate (as in think of the worst case).

  • +2

    Volvo XC60, we've got one coming and can't wait! Not to mention because the new model is coming 2018 the prices and value are as high as they've ever been.

  • Honda crv

  • Renault Koleos Zen or Intens.

  • +5

    Smells like a steak and seats 35

  • +1

    Currently driving a 2007 Outback (130k kms) and hasn't skipped a beat, when the time comes, I will be replacing it with another Outback for sure.

    My dad has a Forester, you sit much higher in the Forester vs the Outback which I find makes the Forester feel a little jerky when accelerating from the lights.

    Outback would be the clear choice for me!

    • Has the plastic spoiler of the back started fading with yours? Mine is black so its really noticeable

  • No one has mentioned Ford Escape or older Ford Kuga yet. It would meet most requirements, and has annual servicing rather than 6 month servicing.

    Forester XT is a good choice though.

    • The ford kuga is a good deal at <20k for a 2015/2016 model. The only thing off-putting is the space-saver tire which would be a no no for going off the beaten path. It should not be considered a soft roader but rather a "purely" city SUV.

      • For an SUV a space saver spare isn't the end of the world. Dirt roads etc, esp if not far from towns would be fine. Driving at 80km/h on the way home might take a bit longer, but how often is a spare tyre needed anyway? Unless going 'real off road' you are more likely to pick up a flat tyre from debris in the city with all the crap that falls off the back of tradies Utes.

  • Kluger?

  • A convertible

  • Forester, I have a 2015. You won't regret it.

    • Tell me more about this glorious car.

      • Sticks to the road like glue, great driving position and road clearance. Comfortable and Safe. Suburu AWD is best in class and will have traction when all others suffer.

  • -3

    MK7 Golf R?

  • Consider Maxda CX9. Although it is 7 seater… But it has turbo engine 2.4 litre and drive is pretty well. Toyota Parado is pretty good as well.

  • +1

    If you are looking at keeping it for at least 10 years.

    Dont look beyond Toyota/Lexus.

    If you want a little bit of Luxury, NX200T and NX300H.

    If you are happy with Toyota, Prado Diesel and RAV4.

    Sadly, other brand is a bit hit and miss at that age, even Subaru.


    • I've only heard good things about Toyota. I may need to give them a more serious look.

      • yeah but you would see toyota everywhere on the road, its boring.
        Have you consider new Renault Megane? it comes with 5 yrs warranty for your piece of mind

      • Maybe Lexus RX200t? It has the toyota reliability, room, power and luxury. I checked carsales there is 2016 demo with 2000 km for $67k driveaway. You can bargain it down to low $60k. I bought a demo mercedes c250 and managed to bargain it down from $70k advertised price to $63k. When you bargain demo/used from a dealer, keep in mind that most likely they have put a quite big margin on the listed price.

        • After some contemplation, I've halved my budget for the car. I'm sick of giving the banks money.

        • @Smol Cat: Well does not have to be bank, depending on your credit rating, you can get close to 5 percent which is the current variable home loan rate anyway. With 30k, there is not much option if you want SUV. Get a 1-year old used I suppose. Good luck!

        • @rave75: I have an excellent credit rating. Where else can I get a loan for a car, if not a bank?

        • @Smol Cat: How much is the bank offering you? I went to ANZ and their rate was 5.8%, much lower than their advertised rate. I ended up using a broker to find someone with low exit fees since i am planning to pay off my loan much sooner.

        • @rave75: That's still pretty steep.

          On a side note, what the hell happened to Toyota's 0% finance deals? If they were still on I'd get a Toyota.

        • @Smol Cat:

          Well don't get caught by their 0% finance deal. Yes you won't pay interest but you will also pay close to RRP of the car. Don't ever pay RRP for a car, you should aim between 10-15% off whatever their RRP price is. It can be more with premium brand such as Audi (I know someone who got 20% off RRP of audi a4).

  • Doesn't have to be brand new, but this is a car that I plan to keep at least for the next 10 years

    Maybe its just me, but I bought a 1999 Prado yesterday for $5K and I have every intention of keeping it for the next 15 years. I would much rather drop another 5K on it if something goes wrong and still have a decent car for less than 1/4 of what you will be paying. I am not good with cars but I do know how to research and find cheap parts and just pay mechanic to do the rest…this is ozbargain right?

    • I wouldn't know enough to diagnose the root cause of problems and then source the parts. i.e. I wouldn't know what parts to get as I wouldn't know what component to replace in the first place.

      In a way I am paying to drastically decrease the chance of breakdowns and the hassle that goes with that. Time is money friend.

  • Have you considered a mid size 4WD like a Mitsubishi Pajero Sport or Toyota Fortuner? They're a size down on the Pajeros and Prados so would be more manageable around the city. They're also a lot shorter than the current range of dual cab utes. They wouldn't be anywhere near as fun as an Outback or Forester to drive on bitumen, but they'll take you a lot more places off road (owing to greater ground clearance, a proper low range gearbox, and some models will have a diff lock either standard or as an option). Can get a mid-range Pajero Sport for around $45k and probably $50-55k for the Fortuner.

  • I recently bought a new BMW X3. If you negotiate well with the dealer you might be able to get a demo one around 60K mark. Its a lovely car and with good off road capabilities as well..

  • +1

    Is there any particular reason you would want a 60K car? I mean, if I was running a business and need that outside look & able to claim it on tax, I would buy a luxury car in that price tag. Otherwise, plenty of option under $30K for couple of years old and you have half saving on other important thing.

    • +1

      No you are right, after reflecting on this and looking for at cars, I budget is now 30-40K max.

      I'd rather not be in debt than have a luxury car.

      • That's wise move. Be sure to get something with at least a year manufacturer warranty left and pay a bit extra to get additional 2-3 years warranty on top (if you buy at dealership).

        • Wow after reading my previous comment, I don't know if I had a temporary stroke with that grammar…

          Are factory warranties transferable between owners? Do the used cars the dealerships sell come with factory warranties? I've never been in a situation where I've bought a decent used car where this would matter. I've only owned complete bombs where it didn't matter or new cars.

        • +2

          @Smol Cat: yes manufacturer warranty comes with car, not owner. If the car is within couple years old, dealer would offer you extended warranty (dealership warranty) on top for $1.5K or 2, and you get like 2,3 years on top, catch is, you need to have your car serviced at their dealership group and not your local mechanic.

    • Some sage advice there Tuan Nguyen

  • +1

    Keep for 3 years - Passat Allroad

    *** Keep for 10 years - Subaru Outback ***

    Bang for bucks - Hyundai

    All rounder - CRV

    Resale - Kluger

    • I'm leaning towards the Forester at this stage. They seem like pretty much the same cars.

  • -1

    . .

  • +2

    You mention the primary use will be to commute. Do we really need more 4WDs on Sydney's busy roads during peak traffic? It makes me sad to see how many oversized cars clog up our roads in the morning, often carrying just the driver (no passengers).

    • +1

      I agree that this is not very efficient nor environmentally friendly. However, even if I took public transportation every day, which is an option, I would still need a car for those weekend camping trips. This is what potentially this car will be used for. Not just for commuting. And I can't afford to have 2 different cars for differing tasks.

      I don't know, I don't have a good solution.

      • +1

        I don't have the solution either. In your situation, I would consider using public transport and book a GoGet (plenty of RAV4s where I live) for your occasional weekend away. In terms of efficiencies, if you were to buy a bigger car, would you consider doing Uber Commute (picking up others on your way to/from work)? I know a few people who do this and quite like the fact they're doing the right thing environmentally, earning extra pocketmoney at the same time. Anyway, no need to answer, I realise I'm not adding much value to this topic.

        • book a GoGet (plenty of RAV4s where I live) for your occasional weekend away.

          You know what, that is actually a brilliant idea. Thank you for the suggestion and I will look into this. My main concern is insurance. As a lot of rental places won't cover you as soon as you leave unpaved roads. And never cover undercarriage/roofs.

          And no, you've actually added so much value here. This is something I haven't even considered as my mind was so set on the idea of 'must buy a big shiny new car'. I hadn't even considered that it would make so much more sense to just hire a 4WD when I need it the half dozen times a year.

          I will look into this. You may have saved me getting a new car entirely. Thank you.

    • The Australian market is saturated with these faux-wheel drives now.

      OP would be better off in a CX-3 or HRV. It's a miniature SUV, but really isn't.

      • I've got 2 kids and considered trading in our Golf for a CX3 until I found out that it has less boot space. HRV is a fair bit bigger already, right? It's hard to find a family friendly compact city car that's economical and comfortable at the same time.

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