$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

  • 312
    i30 N Performance
  • 66
    Golf GTI
  • 12
    Focus ST


      • -1

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

      • i30n shadow grey color with sunroof, pops and bangs, drives well and sounds great…that's all you need!
        never go with shitty GTIs or Ford Focus ST, since you be wanting Gold R or Focus RS instead!

      • Depends on paint of car. Some cars hold their colour better than others.

        • I heard the issue is dye vs powder, and it's not 15-20 years, it's more like less than 7 years if out in the sun every day and not in your garage or covered up.

      • I had a 2006 accord euro in honda milano pink… i mean red. Went horribly pink after 6 years, and it was parked undercover. Never red again. Such a shame, I used to be a massive honda fanboy when they had the hero cars in the 90s, but that experienced has turn me off hondas ever since.

  • +1

    I was in the same boat as you and narrowed it down to pretty much the same cars.

    i30N feels like a new car should, it has a jazzed out interior with all the gadgets and gets a fair clip on, I massively enjoy this car. pop/bangs from the exhaust give you the feels :D
    Golf GTI is your solid performer. great car, plenty of zip and all around good performer. I could only ever find them with that ghastly plaid interior seating option. yuck.
    Focus ST, same deal as you, when i test drove these they drove amazingly, but I always felt i was driving a cheapo car with a flashy engine.

    • Monk - did you select any other these as your next car?

      • +4

        nope. the other half wanted something more sensible for kids so ended up with a new rav4…
        All i would say is make sure when you are looking for a new car is to try out as many as possible and avoid the trap of the car dealers waffle.
        I test drove heaps of cars, making sure i always gravitated to the top of the line models and always looking keen to buy. I felt like i was on top gear :D

        • +4

          mate we are married to the same woman, i’d swear it.

          i went through all of the above…. and ended up in the same “boat” - a Rav4!

  • +7

    Mk7.5 Golf R (demo/lightly used).

    Civic Type R, if you can handle the boy racer looks. Again demo/lightly used as its slightly out of budget new.

    Otherwise, my vote for i30N here. Particularly the Fastback version, very rare and striking in person. Only downside for me is the interior is basically standard i30, not great for the cost compared to the VW but there had to be a compromise somewhere.

  • +7

    Sporty and Quick in Sydney LOL Have a modified WRX STI and my ebay pushbike is 10min quicker to work.

    Id wait for the i20N to be honest and pocket 20K in change.

    • +1

      Cant do another small car, i have fabia monte carlo at the min and not big enough to fit a child seat in the back and to sit in the front seat in comfort.

      • +1

        Fair enough, have a child seat in my STI, boot is enough to fit two prams. Id recommend a WRX if it wasn't for the fact that new model is due.

        Id still recommend test driving one, I think you will be surprised at the amount of traction vs a FWD car. Actually if you want an auto, STI Levorg carry so much crap

  • i30N. I drove the focus st, before getting my N. Hyundai is way more raw, loud and crazy pops when you drive it properly.
    I was sold straight away when I jumped in the car. It's not the fastest but damn it's fun. +the lux pack has all the bells and whisles

    I'm not sure if you're into manual or not, you can wait for the new one if you want DCT. Delivery is near the end of the year if you order it now. There are near new ones on sale in the Facebook N group at the moment as some ordered automatic. Most owners are more mature compared to honda which is great!

    unfortunately you're in Sydney, I cant show you mine as a reference :(

    • +3

      Manual or DCT i dont really mind. Manual is more fun it has the grin factor sending it to the limiter lots hahahaha, i am still a teenager at heart

      • if you want something now, I'd suggest joining the N owners group as there're some on sale for good prices.

  • I test drove a 2018 i30N and really liked it. Only reason I didn't purchase it was because it was black, and I wasn't 100% about the colour and having to maintain black paint. I've also driven a recent Golf GTI and prefer the i30N personally!

    • +3

      Only reason I didn't purchase it was because it was black

      I should report you for being racist! 🤣🤣

      • Well looks like Ali-G was right….

    • +1

      I have a black Elantra. Can confirm that even mildly dirty can look crap, and all scratches stand out a lot. BUt I liked it because I had the Elite with the chrome panel trims, and its looked good, when clean.

  • +1

    Megane RS280 or trophy.

  • +2

    MX5. Renault Megane RS

  • +4

    If it absolutely had to be out of those 3, I'd go the i30N.
    If you went ex-demo, I'd go a Golf R.
    If you comfortably want to fit a child seat (especially rear facing) I wouldn't pick any of these. Octavia RS wagon would be the pick coming from a Fabia.

  • +2

    You won't get a new MK8 Golf GTI for 55k

    • +1

      You won't get a MK8 Golf GTI for another year or so

      • They are dropping in May. You can pre-order unless they are all sold already?

  • Wait for the new Audi S3 or new Golf R second half of the year. According to overseas reviews they are ballistic (new GLA45S owner here).

    • I've heard the MK8 isn't expected to come until early-2022 (at best), leading to the overvalued prices of the remaining Final Edition Rs!

      More importantly — I'm eager to buy a G class AMG sometime down the line when the kids come. I frothed over the GLA45S until I realised it narrowly didn't fit my lifestyle and atm and just got the Golf R. How is it?

      • +1

        Anyone interested in the new Golf R and S3 should look at the UK reviews - they are ballistic and only narrowly lose out to the 2020 A45S. For me, I came from a FL 2016 A45, so the GLA45S to me is a lot larger, heavier - its a little more high riding, but hey its still got that 420BHP hand built engine which is all I wanted.

  • +2

    If you want to save some money, take a look at Kia Cerato GT (1.6L Turbo)

    I think they're like 36k new?

    • They are, I looked at them yesterday

  • -1

    Just get a Kia Carnival. If you don’t have kids to fill it up - do the tango with the missus. In 10 years time, you will be really glad that you invested early on and bought the family wagon.

    • -1

      Are you missing a chromosome or something?

      • possibly… more importantly, however, are you missing a sense of humour?

        • Must have been in a bad mood at the time, apologies :)

  • +3

    Are you happy with Skoda? An Octavia RS wagon would be perfect if you've got a kid to cart around.

    • Agree!

  • What's wrong with the new Skoda Kamiq Limited Edition Monte Carlo. I had a test drive of one this week and then placed an order for one. The on road costs are around $42k. You should check it out.

  • +1

    Stretch your budget a bit and go Golf R if you can. In terms of premium feel, the Golf R beats the rest hands down - the leather seats and 4 wheel drive in the R makes a much more luxurious ride than the GTi. It's not that much more expensive - shop around and you can probably get a good deal (sub 60K) - although not sure if there is much runout stock of the MY7.5 before the 8 arrives later this year. For the performance you get from the R, you can't beat the price point. And note that you will likely get better than the published times for the 0-100km/h sprint :-) It's an awesome feeling!

    • +1

      Golf R 7.5 owner here. Totally agree with macfudge.

      I can't see a better price/value in the sports category.

      Beyond the awesome 0-100 and general on-road performance, the internal experience is also great.

      It carries four passengers comfortably so long as the driver isn't 6'2+ and likes a relaxed drive posture. It has every add on you can think of ticked and even offers more longevity with well-implemented modifications supported by mechanics in AUS that know how to do them.

      Also, quite a fair fuel economy too, given the performance.

      The only things I don't like is no DAB and they turned off a lot of the euro features in aus, but you can turn them on again with some simple tricks.

      • +1

        I have a golf R what features are you referring to?

        • Top of mind is semi autonomous park assist and speed limit display. Voice control is off too.

          Others are across speed, HUD option and some safety stuff.

          Nothing major, but a bit annoying to read the manual and see how much they turned off

    • The new Golf interior is definitely not premium, it's a real downgrade on the last model. Think shiny cheap piano black plastics and nasty ass inch wide bezels. Yuk.

      • +1

        Are you referring to the MK8? If so, totally agree.

        One look at it and I ran to the 7.5 Final Edition.

  • +6

    Quick update on the journey. I have found a dealer with a 2020 used i30 N in stock, the only only in metro sydney and is very happy for me to drop in and have a test drive so hopefully will be able to do that tomorrow to help with my decision. A few dealers called me yesterday afternoon with varying info regarding lead times. Most dealers have 2-4 cars of manual and DCT coming in and after that the wait time if you spec a car for yourself is up to 9 months which is nuts.

    $1000 deposit that is refundable if not happy with the car or the final pricing is available with most dealer which i think is good. Hoping to finally make a decision in the next few days.

    • +6

      A refundable deposit is not a deposit. Make certain it's actually refundable.

      • well they'll need some sort of insurance that you would commit to purchasing, no?

    • $1000 deposit that is refundable if not happy with the car or the final pricing is available with most dealer which i think is good.

      Sounds sketchy. I wouldn't put a deposit on something that hasn't got a firm price.

  • +1

    I don't see this anywhere here but i got a honda civic hatch and i love it

  • I30n, wait for Kona N. Either all, tell me you’ll get the manual.

    • Ohhh yeah i did see a clip of these online the other day. Look good but wont be here to the end of this yr, and yes manual is the only way i would like to drive this car. Ragging the red line a little hehe

  • +1

    GR Yaris or very slightly used Golf R 7.5, but if I had a gun to my head and had to choose from those listed, I guess I would go with the i30N.

  • Get the new facelifted i30n. Even comes in 8 speed DCT if manual isn't your thing.

  • -1

    EV is the way of the future. Petrol price are rising. I’m so sick of it. I better wait for Ioniq5 or Kia EVO6 GT.

    • is eleccy $ rising?

      • -2

        do research, dude. I did.

        I am so sick of waiting in the queue at Costco. It's madness because it's cheaper than anywhere (Costco membership required)

        • +5

          7/11 Heli is pretty competitive without Paid membership.

        • Also perhaps load up your Jerrycan each time you're there.

      • +1

        it's only about 30 cents a kilowatt hour….not much.

  • Op how long you planning on keeping the car for and does potential resale value make a difference?

    I think the Hyundai is a more fun car but maybe the VW may have a better resale value.

    • -1

      Plan to keep the car 5-6 yr min, so resell isnt a massive thing for me. I look after my cars like babies and they want for nothing parts and service wise. I clean, wash, polish and wax my own cars so i know they are also spotless

  • +1

    Mate, get an electric car.

    My friend got an S3 AUdi and it's a nimble little thing with a cute gauge cluster. Feels like I'm in aeroplane.

  • +2

    If I had this kind of budget for a car it would be going towards a Tesla, no doubt.

    • +1

      Not sure what Tesla you'll get for $50k

      • +1

        $68k for a Model 3 SR+, but after 5 years you'll be ahead of any $50k ICE car in overall cost.

    • Forget Tesla, bring on, KIA EV6 GT or Ioniq5 for great value!

      • Isn't the Ioniq5 over 100k?

  • -1

    Mini Cooper S :D Had ours for 3 years now and it's an awesome fun little car. Runs off the BMW platform nowadays, but it's great fun to drive.

    • +3

      What do you mean nowadays? It's been a BMW for the last 15 years.

  • +1

    I've driven all three options and honestly they all have their merits.

    The i30n is an absolute laugh especially with the pops and crackles (I had a focus RS prior and it's seriously addictive on the head shift)

    GTI even though it's slower on paper feels insanely rapid with the DSG. Interior build quality is definitely the best of the three imo.

    Focus ST interior is basic but super functional and you still get the pops and cracks from the rear, my partner has the st-line and it's beautiful to drive (much slower than the st obviously)

    Never thought I say this but absolute pace isn't everything, I've got an M2 comp now while it's amazing fun it's almost too fast for normal roads. You get to the top of second gear and you're well into ticket territory. If you can get your hands on an i30n drive I think you'll fall in love with it…

    • +1

      Agreed on this! Even though the GTI/R isn't the most cost effective, there's nothing really like owning "The Original Hot Hatch". Interior quality is definitely better on VW - thats why I got my GLA.

  • +2

    increase the budget to 66k for the tesla model 3 - greater performance and never pay fuel again

    • +2

      Isn't it more like $70k? So you're now effectively increasing the budget by 30-55%…..

      • What about fuel savings?

        • Obviously helps long term, doesn't put money in his pocket now to be able to purchase it though

          • @whitelie: Fuel savings could more than pay for the interest on a loan, who knows.

  • -1

    Get anything apart from those Dyson vac sounding EVs

  • +1

    buy c63 amg used car.. just beware you might died from car crash

    • +2

      Or from the repair bills because you purchased a 10+ year old Euro with 150k on the clock as that's all that fits the OP's 45-55k budget.

  • +2

    Out of those, I'd get an i30N Fastback.

    I'd wait for the facelift if you can.

  • Skoda Octavia RS is worth considering also.

    • Yeah! Yeah!

    • Octavia RS is a great car, but it's a size and weight above what the OP wishes to buy.

      Furthermore, the new RS has gone up in price significantly.

  • GRY

  • +1


    Warranty isnt voided by tracking if you are looking to take it for a spin with vanilla setup.

    You've answered your own ques there mate go get those shiny wheels