Recommendations for a Car 20-25k Budget

So my 2009 Jetta has suddenly had some major problems and I've been quoted at 4.5-5k to get it repaired. Given the car is likely worth like 7k in a working condition, I can't really justify spending so much on it given the major service is also due this year.

I'm looking to spend around the 20-25k mark although I certainly wouldn't complain going under that either! I really don't know much about cars so I'm not entirely sure what I should be looking at or looking for in a car as such.

  • Kia Cerato Sedan is appealing, at the price it's at I could probably afford to buy something new and get a 7 year warranty which would be great(I've had what I feel like is pretty bad luck with cars so far)and to insure it actually comes out cheaper then what I'm currently paying for my car. Every 15,000km service seems pretty strong as well. On the flip side, the fuel consumption at 7.4 doesn't appear to be anything special (going off what Carsales has mine at in comparison at a bit over 5).

  • Mazda 3 looks alright however I feel like it lacks some simple features that I currently have in my car like front sensors - not end of the world by any means, I suppose it's if I'm spending ~20k on a car, I'd ideally be getting more features, not less then my current car. Outside of that, it's cheap to insurer, and fuel efficient. Every 10,000km service.

  • Honda Civic are the most appealing visually of the 3, seem to be more fuel efficient in comparison to the Kia but insurance is dearer, every 10,000km service and I suppose I'm probably looking at more expensive parts down the track?

Love to hear the recommendations from OzBarginers, whether I'm on the right path or what else I should be considering. I'm guessing the suggestion is to go something second hand at around the 2015 period and my only concern here is then I'm not getting much of a warranty (and given how I've been burned of late, it is appealing).

Also, is there any go to site that you can sort of see what you're looking at for fixed service prices for cars as it's something I haven't been able to find when looking at carsales.

Edit: Test drove a Holden Astra LTZ and was pretty impressed by that and sits around ~23k for a brand new car. Open to opinions on that.

Editv2: Late addition but I've added the i30 which I'm looking at. Thanks everyone for your comments/suggestions/feedback.

Poll Options

  • 62
    Kia Cerato
  • 102
    Mazda 3
  • 32
    Honda Civic
  • 33
    Other

Comments

        •  

          For a car the size and power of an Impreza, that's not great. For comparison, reported numbers for some similar sized cars:

          Corolla - 6.1L/100km
          Mazda 3 - 5.7L/100km
          Golf - 5.4L/100km

          That's a ~20%+ difference in comparison. Of course, I'm not saying it's not worth it, but AWD will guzzle more fuel than FWD. I've driven the WRX and I honestly found the AWD to be great.

          •  

            @p1 ama: Yep not disagreeing with that assessment but I guess it depends how much you care about fuel costs. 1L/100km of higher usage = extra $200 annually, not a big deal. Servicing costs are expensive though.

            Might I also add, the golf needs 95 while everything else 91, and ive heard conflicting reports about whether the fuel efficiency rating of the Mazda 3 is actually attainable.

      •  

        My 2018 Impreza has averaged 6.9L/100kms over the first 10,000kms.

        •  

          Which trim? I have the S which uses 0.6L/100km more than the other variants.

      •  

        Another +1 for the Impreza. My wife got one after not even considering it initially. It left the Astra we test drove for dead in features and comfort.

        Handles great, fuel economy is ok, and the eyesight technology (Collison avoidance, adaptive cruise control etc) is amazing.

  • +4 votes

    We have a Kia Cerato sedan MY19. Great car, I would imagine the new hatch will be similar. We do a bit of freeway motoring but our car according to computer uses about 6.2 per 100ks. Very comfortable on longer trips. Service cost for 7 years are just over $2500 All up. Can definitely recommend.

  •  

    Any thoughts on a Holden Astra? Test drove one of those today and was pretty happy with it. Went to a Mazda place but he only had a 6 which was nice but 2016 model for the same price as a new Astra/3, I'd rather go the new car at that price.

    Anyone have any experiences with Astra's? The Mazda dealer (as expected) said they're rather expensive to fix and not known to be reliable.

    • +9 votes

      Avoid. Holden is about to disappear from Aus soon anyway after the commodore was killed.

      •  

        Further reading has them being made in Euro so it has me concerned about the cost to fix in the future. Shame as the 15,000km services would have been rather nice over the 10,000km given I'm doing towards 20,000 a year.

        Think I'm down to the Mazda 3 v the i30 - hoping it's possible to somehow get Android Play added without having to pay for it as it seems like a feature really lacking compared to other cars at this price point.

        • +1 vote

          The Mazda 3 is about to be replaced by the new model. So buying one today you’d want to get an absolute ripping deal as it’s a 3 year old car with 3 year old tech.

          It’s also the noisiest on the road, probably the biggest complaint with the 3.

        •  

          It depends on which Astra. The hatch is made in Europe by Opel (I think) but the sedan is made in Korea. Not sure about the wagon, but I think Europe. In saying that, I'm actually unsure if the servicing costs are the same for all of them…

          The i30 is a wicked car (especially the reinvented one). Buying slightly used or even a couple of years old isn't a bad idea, you tend to lose like at least 10% of the value once you drive a new car off the lot. I understand warranty is a concern, but if you go Japanese it should be pretty solid as mentioned by others.

          •  

            @Ghost47: Actually finding it really hard to see where the car is made to see whether that could be true or not.

            The one I tested was a 2018 Holden Astra LTZ BL MY18 at about $23,500 which seems reasonable but if it is designed in Europe, it's a big turn off given my recent experience. The fixed servicing prices were really cheap for memory, under the $200 mark if I recall correctly for the first 3 years.

            I suppose the discount of getting a 1-2 year old used car needs to be weighed up against the 1-2 years of extra warranty I'd otherwise get. Mazda seems the more popular option yet it seems like lots rate the i30 higher.

            •  

              @dylan123:

              The one I tested was a 2018 Holden Astra LTZ BL MY18 at about $23,500 which seems reasonable but if it is designed in Europe, it's a big turn off given my recent experience.

              The only issue is that the Mazda 3 current model is $23,490, the Kia Cerato is $21,990, the Corolla sedan is $22,990 and the i30/Elantra is around that price too (I don't recall how much). These are all RRP before you even sit down at the negotiating table. With so many better options at the price, I wouldn't go with the Astra.

              Basically, my issue with these European Holdens (like the Astra hatch or new Commodore) is that they're Holden cars without any of the benefit of being Holden and they're also Euro cars without any of the benefit of being Euro.

              Some of the main reasons why you'd buy something like a VF Commodore are because they're such common cars that it's easy to get parts, most of the parts are available here in AU without having to import, they're easy to work on (every mechanic will know it) and they're rather simple (e.g. naturally aspirated V6 rather than turbo 4 cyl) which means there's generally less to go wrong. Not to mention that engineering at the Holden plant in AU was top notch. These new Holden Euros don't have any of those benefits.

              On the other hand, if you want to buy a Euro car like a Volkswagen, there is an element of cachet in there. Obviously if you're after a Euro car because you like the brand, the Euro styling or the fact that your indicators are on the left, then you should just get a Golf instead.

        • +1 vote

          @dylan123.

          Astra sedan was discontinued last July but still ample amounts of stock available. Definitely some good deals flying around depending on spec.

          I've got the hatch with the 1.4 turbo which drives beautifully. I don't think the sedans are a bad buy, so I'd recommend taking one for a spin firs and see how you feel. Lifetime capped price serving really seals the deal.

          I wouldn't read too much into Holdens future just yet, even with a buyout that is making headlines. Holden hasn't made any announcements yet and I doubt anything will service until 2020 at the earliest.

          •  

            @BTP1993: Yeah I just checked and it seems that the factory the sedan was made in was shut down. This article goes into it in a bit of detail, but it's conflicting. Title says GM shutting down Astra sedan factory, but it says it's the Gunsan factory which is closing then it says the sedan is built at the Busan factory…

            Do you reckon servicing costs would be cheaper for the sedan compared to the hatch? I had no idea they discontinued the sedan last year, they only launched it in like 2017 or something.

            The Astra is a good car, but I think there are better choices for the OP (i.e. models that are known to be more reliable).

            •  

              @Ghost47: Check on the Holden website, it gives you pricing. Mines generally $249 every 15,000km. The South Korea plant has shut down (Barina, Captiva, Astra Sedan, Spark). Holden still plenty of stock which should dry up in April.

              Not necessarily, do test drive the model and see what you think. Heads up, Holden do offer a 24 test drive program so maybe look into that too.

              There haven't been any outstanding issues or recalls with the hatch sedan or wagon of this generation.

      •  

        Source?

        •  

          Subaru Aus Importer is going to buy the Holden name from GM then sell Opels as Opels. Sure the Astra might be around in Opel form for a few more years but it’s dieing
          a slow death.

  • +2 votes

    I owened a Kia cerato.
    It's a nice car and got everything you need at really appealing cost. Would highly recommend it.

  • +2 votes

    Hmmm Yet another VW Jetta problem.
    The learning here is to stay away from them and perhaps VWs all together.
    I have heard of other untimely and costly repairs with VWs.

    As far as recommendations go almost any Japanese car will do the job nicely.

    •  

      I do have a VW golf mk5 which I bought over a year ago which has now clocked 232k. The only issue I had is related to egr. But have been driving with it being disable for over three months now. So, my experience is different. I also had a JDM corolla hatchback in my home country with the same year of manufacture, but with 60k on the odo. VW quality is definitely a class above.

  • +1 vote

    Mazda logbook service is around $450 if that is within your budget while Honda is $295 capped for the warranty period.

    •  

      $450 each service??

      •  

        Yes average throughout the 3 years warranty is around $450 each service.

        •  

          Capped service alternates between $305 then $334 on the Mazda 3 (I own a 2018) and it is for the life of the car whatever that means.

          •  

            @cdkane: That's good. Bought mine in 2009 and first service at 1 month was free then every year was told between $350 to $550. I never got my car serviced at the dealer service centre's but only went to my nearby mechanic.

            •  

              @wtfnodeal: Mazda 3 service $450 on average - I don't think so (noted you are using a 10 year old example). I'm in my 3rd year of CX-9 servicing and they are no where near $450 each.

  •  

    You could get a 2017 Volkswagen Golf 110TSI Comfortline 7.5 Auto MY18 with low KMs for $22K-$24K

    The car has greatly exceeded my expectations and is just a top daily driver. Nice trims and finishes on the inside, but it's not so valuable to feel flustered about how to drive it and treat it.

    I paid $24.4K for mine last month. Our dealer gave us roadside assist, capped servicing and manufacturer's warranty until mid-2022. This may be useful if I intend to sell in 12-18 months.

    • +4 votes

      I think he wants a reliable car, so no VW

  • +1 vote

    I'm currently sort of in the same position as you, 25 y/o, and I drive roughly 110km a day (55km to work and back).
    I picked up a hail damaged 2016 Mazda 2 Genki (top trim with 30,000km on the odo)for $6k (roughly 9k with all the paperwork and rego etc) with hail damage as work beater. Has all the modern amenities and the interior is absolutely perfect.

    Might be an unpopular opinion: but if you don't care for how it looks, and solely need it to be cheap (on petrol/servicing) and to get you from A to B I think secondhand or hail damaged cars are great value IMO. From my experience with the Mazda 2, I would probably suggest the Mazda 3. The interior is surprisingly nice.

    •  

      I did noticed a few random hail damaged cars on all my carsales searches. The one thing I've heard along the way is they can be harder/more expensive to insure because of it?

      Obviously if a top end car has been hail damaged then if you don't mind it as a buyer, you win out.

      • +1 vote

        My comphrehensive insurance with RACV was completely fine with it. Only difference is it'll be insured for agreed value and not market value should they ever need to pay you out.

  •  

    mazda 3 2019

    • +7 votes

      Wouldn't ever go near a Jetta again with the amount of money I've sunk into it only to have it basically be worthless within the 4 years I've had it and it not even being a 10 year old car.

  • +3 votes

    If you want to stay below 20K have you considered the LZ Ford Focus? I picked up a 2018 Trend demo end of last year for 19K and I think the new model has just been released so maybe you can get a better deal. The previous model (LT) had the notorious powershift auto transmission problems which hurt the cars reputation quite a bit, but they changed back to a standard auto transmission for the LZ. They are also offering a 5 year warranty and capped price servicing (interval 15K or 12 months) although it is slightly more expensive to service compared to the Hyundai and Kia.

    I test drove the i30, Mazda 3, Cerato and Focus and found the Focus to be the most interesting drive of the bunch. 1.5L turbo has plenty of power (132kw) compared to the Cerato and i30 which felt sluggish in comparison. Fuel efficiency is also pretty good at 6.2 L/100km. Focus is also voted one of the best in class for handling and has a decent level of equipment even on the base model including Apple Carplay/ Android Auto. Although I liked the Mazda 3 its hard to find any for less than 20K unless they are a few years old which wont help with the warranty. Same situation with the Corolla and if you want the same level of equipment as the other rivals you'll be paying 25K easily.

    Good luck its a tough decision. Guess you have to weigh up what your priorities are, but if you are looking for a more engaging drive and want to stay below 20K its worth considering the Focus.

    •  

      Haven't, only seem to be adding to my list it seems :D

      Probably happy to pay up to 25k if it makes a difference but as you said, the a cheaper car is always a nice option. Interesting in terms of finding it a more enjoyable drive. I only got to drive the Astra and Mazda 6 (since the Mazda place I went to didn't have a 3 apparently) and I found they both drove rather well. That said, I'm comparing them to a diseal 1.4l 2009 Jetta which really isn't fun to drive. Accelerating from a stop takes a second or two to respond, reverse rolls before it kicks in with the acceleration so in that sense, anything I get is going to be a big step up and take away that frustration.

      Thanks for the thoughts and opinion, much appreciated. As you've said, it really is a tough choice as all these cars are competing against each other so there's not a hell of a lot splitting them. Think I'll probably try write down what I see to be the pros and cons of each and try make a decision based off of that in terms of what I feel is most important to myself.

      •  

        I've got a 2016.3 LZ Trend manual (got it for $14k with 17k km in Oct last year @ Pickles Auction, fixed price). My first car with a turbo and coming from a 2005 Corolla Ascent auto. It's such a joy to drive (max torque 240Nm @ 1600-5000rpm). I test drove it against a 2018 Mazda 3 Neo Sport manual too ($18k with 8k km, great price tbh). The Focus was much more fun. Great value for money as LJW127 said (the Trend is the base model and comes with more features/better specs (eg Android Auto/Apple Carplay, 132kw) than the base models of the other brands. Prices are relatively low too as the Focus' reputation was ruined by the powershit problems of the previous LT model (the LW model is the predecessor to the LZ, doesn't have powershift but doesn't have AA/AC either). One thing though, don't believe the quoted fuel consumption figures. Realistic urban economy is 8-9L/100km. But it can take E10 which is a bonus for some.

        •  

          Second for the current shape Ford Focus.

          Dealers are letting go of 1 year old Titanium for 23k. If you find one, go in with cash ready and be firm on what you are willing to offer. Shouldn't have an issue with a brand new model on the way.

          Had ours (sport model with the "executive" and "safety" packs because misus doesn't like leather seat) last year for 22k. Best value car we've bought.

          Otherwise the top trim Astra 1yr demo is good value too. Shouldn't be hard to bargain down to 23-25k.

    • -1 vote

      I test drove the i30, Mazda 3, Cerato and Focus and found the Focus to be the most interesting drive of the bunch.

      To be completely fair though, if you're in the market for this type of car, I don't think "interesting to drive" is near the top of the list. In saying that the Focus drives the best out of the lot, I completely believe you, but it's sort of like being the tallest kid in kindergarten. On the topic of the Focus, if you're looking for something fun to drive, I'd spend the same budget, but get something like this

      https://www.carsales.com.au/cars/details/Ford-Focus-2013/OAG...

      Now that would be genuinely a step up in terms of being fun to drive vs. thee i30, Mazda 3, Cerato…etc.

  • +8 votes

    As a former long term inhabitant of Europe, I can tell you one thing about Euro cars - they are overpriced, fancy designed and they break regularly. I’ve owned two corollas in Oz, both for about 9-10 years. The dearest part I had ever had to replace is the battery. And one tail light that the dealer charged $3 to change. It took me 36 hours to sell one of them at 10 year mark for $6200. It took 3 months to sell my friends Honda City at 8 years old for about 6500. VW are crap, but seem quite popular with “look at my european car” type of drivers.

    • +2 votes

      this man knows!

    • +2 votes

      I guess it's just horses for courses. Some of my friends prefer Euro cars, I personally can't justify the ongoing costs. I like cars but yeah I'd rather stick to good Japanese or South Korean cars than fancy Euro cars.

      •  

        How about those North Korean cars? Worth the expense?

  • +1 vote

    I am about to buy new i30 N line auto for $30k driveaway, the dealership has offered me 8 years warranty and 10 year roadside assistance along with lifetime capped servicing, you might wanna look at this car, slightly over your budget but worth it.

    •  

      $30K for an auto? That seems extremely cheap! What's your secret?

      •  

        probably excludes on-roads.

        •  

          'driveaway,

    • +1 vote

      8 years non-factory (i.e. dealer dependent) warranty is not worth it as you need to service with that dealership only and almost anything can void that warranty.

      •  

        Lol. The dealer warranties are shonky. Mazda and Ford dealers are keen to offload those. There's usually a cap of $1k on warranty repair and the car must be serviced with them.

  •  

    2yo Skoda Octavia with balance of 5 year warranty. They're amazing cars, really fun to drive and very fuel efficient. https://www.carsales.com.au/cars/results/?sortby=~Price&offset=0&setype=sort&q=%28And.%28C.Make.SKODA..Model.Octavia.%29.Service.Carsales..Price.range%2820000..25000%29..Year.range%282017..%29.%29&area=Stock&vertical=car&WT.z_srchsrcx=makemodel

    •  

      Playing with fire? :p

      octavia is the same car as a golf/jetta.

      •  

        Very similar cars yes - the features on this years Octavia will be on next years Golf ;)

  • +1 vote

    The Hyundai i30 is an excellent, reliable car that is surprisingly roomy for its size. Will fit into your price range second hand as well and in my experience pretty decent for fuel consumption.

    I've owned a 2013 SE for 6 years and had no problems whatsoever with scheduled servicing.

    Bought it from a Hyundai dealership as an ex demo car which had done only 10-15ks.

    Highly recommend, Hyundai also have similar….deals on fixed price servicing and what not.

    If you're in VIC happy to recommend you to a great mechanic who I've used for the past few years…

    •  

      Which suburb? Just curious if it would be close to me or not.

      What kind of price do you see for services generally out of curiosity?

      • +1 vote

        I've got a 2010 i30, I imagine it'd be similar maintenance costs to the 2013 i30. Usually costs around $500 to $700 for its annual service and rego inspection at a decent independent mechanic (don't go near the dealership once any fixed-price services are finished, I found them quite useless and expensive), and I don't bother with the 6 monthly service. Only exception to that has been one service that cost ~ $2300, and that was a scheduled replacement of a timing belt (which involves pulling out the engine and getting inside it, lots of labour + they do something else that's hard-to-reach at the same time). They changed the design in the 2011 model onwards so that it has a timing chain rather than a belt which does not need to be replaced, so a Hyundai i30 built after 2011 should hopefully have pretty reasonable maintenance costs over say 10 years.

  • +2 votes

    I've had 3 Kias inc a Cerato. All good experiences. Given they have 7 year warranty I'd be aiming for one around 3 - 4 years old at around 60% of new price. I recently sold my Cerato just before the 5 year mark for <10k and it was immaculate so good buys available.

  •  

    You going to sell your Jetta OP?

    •  

      Ideally - whether that will be possible or not, I'm not too sure. Was hoping the mechanics might take it so they could either fix it up themselves or use it for spare parts.

      •  

        If you don't have luck with that, can you P.M me please.

  •  

    Corolla/Mazda 3.

    Just do it.

  •  

    Hyundai i30 +1

    I’d personally choose hyandai over any other Asian brand (besides Lexus of course)

    Cheers

  • +3 votes

    Avoid the Astra, get the Corolla. insert repeated comment on how the corolla is a great choice :)

  •  

    What about a Mitsubishi ASX?

  •  

    I30, either 3 years old or you get a brand new car. There are some great deals, I paid $27k for an i30 sr auto brand new in Nov. I get 7l/100km over the last 5000km

  • +1 vote

    I would highly recommend Mitsubishi ASX. Also they do offer 7 year 150,000KM warranty time to tome

    •  

      Good value but an 8 year old design

  •  

    Kia optima GT second hand just inside your price range with balance of new car wty

  •  

    2016-2018 Toyota prius you can't go wrong… Stay away from anything European.

  •  

    The 2017+ Mazda 3 model has alot more improved features than 2016 model. It is the same generation car but 2017+ has blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, revised suspension to reduce noise, and G vectoring control which helps steady the car in corners.

    Skyactiv naturally aspirated engine is a feature in itself. you can read more on this engine tech searching on Google.

    The 2019 just came out and yes it has improved again altough it's a new generation model so you wouldn't get a bargain compared to a 2017/8 model.

    My wife drives the 2018 SP25 and it's a great value all round car. But the cheaper Maxx model would be just fine aswell except the engine is smaller and less powerful.

    The cabin is more spacious compared to a Corolla and I reckon the Mazda interior looks alot better than any of its competitors in a similar price and spec range.

  •  

    Seeing threads like this make me appreciate how lucky I have been with my Nissans over the years.

    My current 2007 model (Infiniti/Nissan) is 12 years old this year, and apart from servicing has only had 1x alternator ($400).

    Similar stories with my last 2 and my brothers Navara that has over 300k now (1 hose in it's lifetime, and he is a tradie who tows constantly). Maybe luck, maybe the old Datsun quality that sent Nissan broke… :(

    Unsure what they have in your desired car class. Perhaps a near new Qashqai. Horrible name, nice car to drive though (I rented one for a week).

    •  

      Well I also rented a QASHQAI for a week and it was so boring to drive.

  • +1 vote

    my ex had nice, upmarket company cars from 1988-2016. She got retrenched and had to buy a car and, on my suggestion looked at and bought a base Kia Cerrato automatic hatch with the reverse camera /ICE upgrade (worth about $300) and metallic paint. It was around $18.3k with business rego in NSW. She likes it and says it's a good run-about.

  •  

    My suggestions are the brands Nissan, Toyota or Subaru.
    I spoke with 2 mechanics and that is what they said, other than that is a headache. Keep away from Mazda coz the maintenance is high as (profanity).

    It is funny coz Volkswagen is a great brand in my country but here it seems to be a pain in the ass.

    •  

      Is that country UK?

      •  

        Brazil :P

        •  

          Manual?

          •  

            @keyboardwarrior: I am a manual guy, and I will explain why manual:

            • We have control over the car. Automatic you don't have full control.
            • Manual is easy to do "DIY maintenance" if you like to do so and save money. Automatic? Well, it depends.
            • In a manual, if your clutch breaks, you can still drive it. Yep, you will force the gears, you might (profanity) with somethings but you are still able to get away. Imagine you in the middle of nowhere and etc. Now, with an automatic, if its clutch breaks you are done. Call winch and etc. Now try to imagine you in the middle of nowhere.
            • Your car has no battery, you can never push your car to force the start with an automatic, unless you want to (profanity) the system. A manual you can.
            • Manual has normal connections, it is easy to find a workaround if any problem comes up. An automatic has dozens of connections so if one is at fault, you hardly ever will find a workaround, the entire system won't work.

              People will say oh but it sucks to drive in traffic and etc. Well, a little bit, but you will have more fun, more control, save more money, and die like e real man hahahahahahah
              Another thing that makes me hate automatic, people do thousands of things while driving it, no attention at all. It doesn't require you paying attention to the engine and etc.

              People will disagree with me, but I am old style so.

            •  

              @ratoloko: I was referring to VW issue. A large portion of VW cars in AU was due to flawed DSG gear box. Suspect there are more manual cars in Brazil.

              I drive a manual car too (at least the weekend car) and loving it.

              •  

                @keyboardwarrior: Here VW seems to have problems that we don't have back there. I spoke with 2 Brazilians mechanics who are known by their amazing job without selling shit to you or bad service. They only said 100% Nissan and Corolla, some from Subaru and Mitsubishi. They are great and great maintenance, financially speaking.

                Well, we are talking about a parallel word. There are cars here that people don't give a damn about it, in Brazil, it is a high profile car so. VW is the most common cars there, you see VW everywhere.

                Brazil is a manual country, if people from here go there, they will get themselves killed within 5 minutes hahaha

                I am looking forward to getting a 4x4 manual, I just cannot wait lol
                Enjoy yours :)

  • +1 vote

    i'd definitely recommend the new civic, great on fuel and great drive. give it a test drive and see how you go.
    visually speaking i suppose its not everyones cup of tea, but great price and has many of the features downpat. Even the hatchback models are quite spacious. very similar to the sedan in terms of size

  •  

    You wouldn't go wrong with the Cerato or the Mazda3. I'm not up to date on what Mazda has been offering, but IIRC some Cerato models come with autonomous emergency braking. It's kind of a big deal if you're not a Jedi level driver. Even if you're a Jedi driver, it could save your head (or a pedestrian's head) some day when you're puttering around while being tired.

    AEB in a colleague's wife's car (forester) purportedly saved her from two collisions (one in the parking lot at when a car reversed out unexpectedly, another in a 50 zone) in their less than 4 years of ownership. Mark my words; this AEB system will become compulsory for all cars in the future.

    • +1 vote

      They made AEB compulsory for cars to get a 5 star ANCAP rating now, so already forcing most manufacturers to add it onto their base model.

      •  

        Wow, that's happened a LOT sooner than I expected. But I suppose it's all for the good. Thank you for letting me know. :-)

  • +2 votes

    Just swapped to a 2016 Mazda 3 SP25 Astina from an absolute money pit of a 2009 Audi A4. I will never go back to a German machine, just not worth the ongoing costs … Couldn't be happier with the Mazda. Has everything the Audi had and more. I spent $25k for it, including all on roads and the Android Auto upgrade.

  •  

    A Holden Astra LTZ is an a $19,000 car

    https://www.carsales.com.au/cars/brand-new/holden/astra/ltz-...

    I recommend a new or demo MY19 KIA Cerato (the new shape). The money you save going the old shape will be more than lost on resale.

    •  

      The Astra sedan is (allegedly) a heap of shit from the infamous GM Daewoo factory. It is not comparable to the hatchback or the Kia Cerato for that matter.

      •  

        I was commenting because I noticed OP liked the Astra and called it a $23k car.

        IMHO the Astra's design and engineering is it's issue. There is no room in the cabin because GM wanted the Astra to feel sporty (without spending on seats), the suspension can be nauseating because GM worried too much about low speed feel while using cheap components, the engines have no puff and the switch gear is cheap.

        As cheap, small, fuel efficient city cars, both Astra's are excellent, until you notice the Picanto, which is better at everything, bar the boot (I am ignoring the Astra's excellent lane keep assist system as I don't recommend people drive an Astra above 60km/h).

        Factories don't matter. I have a Euro designed and built car. I had to bolt the seats back in because they were coming loose with in four years. The driver's door gives off the euro 'quality thud' because it is not hung straight. Door seals lasted all of six months and are an unwarrantable item. Reverse wont engage after an engine stop unless I drive the car forward first (design feature said my service department). Factories go though employees and have bad periods with under trained or under motivated staff.

        •  

          Hatch is build in EU. Completely different car and well build.

          •  

            @keyboardwarrior: You replied to wrong person. I critised their engineering and design. BartholemewH criticised build.

            Most of my experience is with the hatch. I have seen bodywork fall off an Astra hatch. I have not heard of that being an issue with the sedan.

  • +1 vote

    Definitely a Mazda 3. Anyone I know who has had one, seems to love them. Low capped price servicing costs too. New Mazda 3 is coming out soon too. If you're going to get a new one, I would recommend you get the model up from the base model. Much better bang for buck.

  • +1 vote

    I drive a 2018 Civic and I'm extremely happy. Unlike the Mazda 3, you can actually seat 3 adults in the back. My fuel economy is currently about 6.5L/100. You also get Android Auto and Apple Carplay as standard. I read that the 2019 Mazda offer, but the screens are not touch screen (not sure if this is correct)

    I bought the Civic during a promo and I get 7 years warranty, with 7 years road side assistance and capped price servicing. If you are considering a Civic, get the VTI-L model which comes with Turbo Charged Engine and it is quite fun.

  • +1 vote

    You could probably get a near new 6 rather than a 3 if you'd prefer. https://www.carsales.com.au/cars/details/2017-Mazda-6-Tourin...

  •  

    Whichever you choose make sure to do a long test run. It may even worth to rent for one day and test it for a couple of hours.

    I once rented a Nissan qasqai and was curious how the experience would be. After a couple of hours driving I was sure as hell that I would never buy one ever.

    •  

      I've had dealerships allow extended test drives (overnight) a few times. Maybe not common in the $20k bracket?

  •  

    Corolla Hybrid, easy choice

  • +1 vote

    No love for the Civic? I love mine (2016 VTi) - nearly 3 years old and have had 0 issues. I'm a big fan of both the interior and exterior. Everyone I've picked up is very amused by the digital dash also.