$45k - $55k to Spend on a New Car - Sporty and Quick

I am in the a bind here and keen to get some input, time to change my small car (Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo) to something bigger and faster. Have a budget of $45k - $55k and have narrowed it down to the following 3

Hyundai i30 N performance
- I think these look and sound great,
- Cannot get a test drive of a current model anywhere in metro Sydney as no dealers have any demo cars as new model is not in the country yet

Golf GTI
- Feel these are a steady option but no were near as fast as the i30.
- Build quality is great but these are $$ and limited numbers coming into Australia over next 6 months for the new model.

Focus ST
- On the fence on this one, it's a Focus and is plain even with the ST kit on it.
- Flat cost $50k drive away
- Heard lots of stories about build quality and issues with current model.

What does everyone think? Or is there something else in the market I might have missed.

Poll Options

  • 305
    i30 N Performance
  • 65
    Golf GTI
  • 12
    Focus ST


  • +5 votes

    Usual first comment, please add a poll :)

  • GR Yaris


  • I'd be looking at a Kia Stinger for that kinda money.

  • +16 votes

    Must it be new? Some amazing secondhand cars for 55 and under… 996 911, Cayman/Boxster, S3/RS3, M140, A45/CLA45, Golf R etc etc

    • Yeah i would prefer new, it will be my first ever new car and i am in my 40's. Always purchase ex demo or cars 12-18 months old in the past. Now in a position to afford something new

    • 996 911 is not a sound choice if you can't factor in $10k per year for maintenance as a daily car.

      • Depends on your mechanical ability. I've had my 996 3 years now, and never had to take it to a mechanic as I've been able to fix all the (many) problems which have cropped up so far. Parts surprisingly cheap - just replaced the fuel pump ($150) and fuel pressure regulator ($50).

        However if you're not mechanically minded and not willing to learn, then yes factor in some money every year for maintenance and repairs. Next up is routine changing of spark plugs - $20 each x6, but a mechanic would charge you $600-800 for the job even though it only take an hour to remove the rear bumper, exhaust mufflers and heat shields to get access.

      • [citation needed]

    • You would be nuts to buy any Porsche on a $40k budget. If the motor goes (and it does, bore scoring and IMS bearings are major problems), you're up for probably another $30-40k to replace/repair it.

      • Calculated risk is part of all secondhand car buying especially with euros and their usually crappy build quality. IMS more of an issue with single row IMS post 2000. Nowadays it's 2 decades on, lower milage cars seemed to have more risk and if it's going to happen, would've gone kaboom by now. Bore scoring and D chunks another part of happy P-car ownership nightmares. Happy with my bargain 996.1 with dual row IMS and cable throttle, I'm on the hunt for another one (would love a targa) or 986.1. I'd be more scared buying a diesel mazda CX5 than another P.

  • You may be correct about the i30 being faster than the GTI, but I imagine the aftermarket scene is bigger on the Golf, so if you prefer that, you could throw some performance parts and a tune at it, but obviously not ideal if you're just after a turn-key drive-away option.

    • like your thinking ozwog, but want to try and keep the warranty on the car, so tuning is probably out of the picture for a min of 3 yrs.

      • so tuning is probably out of the picture for a min of 3 yrs.

        A Stage 1 tune will make the GTI rip the i30N, but you're right to be careful with the warranty. Apparently there is a counter in the software that is triggered with every reflash. Some companies will claim that their software doesn't trigger it and the vehicle can be flashed back to stock firmware in the event the vehicle needs to go back for drivetrain warranty, but the experiences from some people in the forums seems to suggest otherwise.

        • +1 vote

          Its a flag called TD1 that gets registered against your VIN if the diagnostics scan detects that the car has been tuned. Once its on there it can't be removed.

      • I30 may be faster but at that price point i personally would pick the golf gti just because it has much better interior

        • VW can’t afford to pay for warranty claims and are forced to cut corners because of their dodgy business practices. I wouldn’t buy one on principle alone, but better interior is a pretty poor reason to buy a vehicle.

          • +1 vote

            @beyondtool: Pretty poor reason? Where do you think you spend the majority of the time when you're using the car?

            hint its not standing outside looking at it

      • I did a Stage 1+ on my 2018 Golf Alltrack and added a rear sway bar. Had absolutely no problems on a warranty repair this year.

        It's got more torque and power than a stock GTI and full Golf R transmission. Love it.

  • I would say wait for the GR Corolla. Really hoping they bring the wagon in manual form to Australia.

  • i30N. It might be hard to find one with new ones due in the second half of the year, but the demo I drove a while back was awesome. Less refined than the Golf, which might be a negative to some, but I think it made it feel faster.

    • i have called close to 10 dealers in the sydney metro area and no one has the current model in a demo to test drive, so i dont know what to do about it. Have heard many great things about the i30, more raw than the GTI and a firmer ride which i dont mind. I have heard from dealers that even second hand i30 N are commanding $44K +

  • Kia Stinger.
    Tesla model 3

    • The Subaru is an absolute dinosaur. Still running the same EJ25 from 2006 (new one coming out soon, though).
      They're a shadow of what they used to be 15+ years ago.

      • And their styling has absolutely gone into the toilet (speaking as a former H6 spec b Liberty owner). They look like radio controlled cars, and knock offs, not Tamiya.

      • Newer doesn't mean better. You can get the WRX if you want the new FA20 and modify it to a beast.

    • While I like your list, I don't think you can get a new Stinger or Model 3 under 55k.

      • You can get the lowest grade: 200S for 54k. I would recommend getting the top trim i30N over that though.

      • Model 3 is around 65k depending on your state and probably makes up for the difference in upfront price in maintenance and fuel costs

        • Reliability of Tesla is major issue, wouldn’t get one unless you have the budget and time to troubleshoot issues.

          • @beyondtool: I don't think that's much of an issue anymore, a few years ago sure, but the manufacturing processes are pretty refined now and new cars in Australia are coming from the Shanghai factory, which has had a lot of praise for the quality and lack of paint/panel issues.

  • Something Red…

    • Couldnt pick a worse colour than red, than fades to pink in a few yrs of the aussie sunshine hehehe. Would spend half the yr maintaining the paintwork.

      • Yeah, but sporty and quick at the beginning. lol

        • does it really go pink after a few years?

          • @queer dog geyfrog:

            ..after a few years?

            It takes much longer than a "few" years. It's more like 15-20 years. Helps if it's not parked in the sun all day long.
            I like white cars, but I avoided them early because I heard they turn yellow after a while in the same way that red might turn pink. But then I realised that I wouldn't be keeping the car long enough for it to happen. So I got a white car.

      • Thanks, I just bought this yesterday, https://ibb.co/VJQy1Cf , LOL.

      • Paint tech has advanced. Maybe your shitty Hyundai excel or VX Commy but not your new cars.

        • My VX commodore didn't fade before I scrapped it at 15 years old.

          I'd believe the 20 year old Excel though. Their clear coat was almost designed to peel.

          But to OP, Korean cars and their paints have made huge steps forward in the last 10 years. From what I have read, they are as good and sometimes better than the Japanese stuff.

      • Red paint, or any colour for that matter, is not going to fade in the sun over even 10 years.