$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


  • As a Golf owner, I would recommend the Golf GTI. Best over sporty hatchback.
    Tgink there is a YouTube video of these cars in a comparison and the Golf GTI came out ahead as the best sports hatch back car for everyday driving

  • +1

    $55k used to be V8 Mustang money. I would hold off for a year while the market cools down. A 2nd hand hot hatch with some budget for work could be fun, the the hatches you've listed are warm at best.

  • +1

    Audi S3 - can get very good ones used ones for that money. Look for one that has not been modified. Build quality is brilliant and make the other look like daewoos.

  • Get another Skoda bro, can't go wrong with them!

  • -1

    Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo

    What the hell is a skoda? I've honestly never heard of them before!

    • Say what?!

      • -1


        • Imagine a volkswagen
          Now Imagine it being cheaper but slightly worse

          • @MBloxx: oh…soo like a kia? or a hyundai? or saab?

            • @Zachary: Skoda is literally owned by VW.
              They share engines, tech and platforms so a Fabia and a Polo are 85% the same car

  • +3

    Megane RS if you want something a bit different.

  • From the list, I'd get the i30N. I'd also consider a stinger, but it's probably going to cost your a bit more. And admittedly a very different car, albeit faster to 100.

  • new GOLF GTI looks good, but seems to be 65k on road with heated seats addon pack. GOd knows what the R will cost, probably 75?
    Also not a big fan of the steering wheel buttons….

  • +1

    meh get the golf gti its the overall more complete car

  • Golf for sure. Way better re-sale value than others too.

    I have a VW CC V6 and it's a fantastic car.

  • +1

    Mk7.5 Golf R would be the only thing I pick over an i30n. Also the Kona N has a smaller boot than the i30n so I wouldn't bother waiting for that.

  • WRX, If you actually enjoy corners and handling.

    Fwd, even with an lsd is just not the same.

    Fwd owners won't agree but I've had both and learning to drive a performance fwd is more of making up for its shortcomings than any actual benefits.

  • +2

    Yaris GR

    • faster around a track than a nismo gtr lol

  • BMW 128ti?

  • Leaf range plus from Japan? 40k 170hp instant torque, 1 gear, 350km range.

  • +2

    Civic Type-R. Slightly over budget but these things are the ultimate hot hatch.

    • Unfortunately you can't buy a new one anymore.

      Secondhand ones are ridiculously priced.

      • Future classic

  • +2

    No V8 Mustang? Surely you could get a 2019ish, very low km Mustang with 2 or 3 years warranty left on it for that sort of coin?

    What about an Abarth 595 Compititzione or Esseesse? Similar HP as a Golf and the similar power:weight ratio as the i30N. Better still, you will get spare change from $45k

  • I own a i30N Performance. Fantastic machine for the right price with a great community behind it in Australia.

    Don't rule out a Megane R.S either. They are a bit harder to get a good deal on but I would have got one over the i30N if the right deal presented. Nissan block in them so don't listen to the French car haters.

    • +1

      …. so don't listen to the French car haters.

      Who here hates french cars? I don't think anyone hates french cars.
      We're just a bunch of tightarses who wants at least some sort of reliability in a vehicle that we pay hard-earned cash for. 😜

    • +8

      A Camry is not a fast or sporty car. It's just that you don't know anything about cars. I mean a V4? Come on mate, not all engines are Vs.

      • -4

        Is it? I meant 4 cylinder couldn't be arsed typing it, and yeh I know not all engines are V, A V4 engine is a four-cylinder piston engine where the cylinders share a common crankshaft and are arranged in a V configuration. As far as camry not being fast, well I own one and beg to differ it’s not 0-100 in 3 seconds but doest it in 6 or 6.5 you watch a yt vid on it but it goes alright, holds it’s value and looks the part but you’d know that but It’s just you don’t know anything about cars

        • +3

          It looks like a Camry. It is absolutely not a sports car in anyway. It's front wheel drive with a long wheel base for a start. You're delusional.

        • +3

          A V4 engine is a four-cylinder piston engine where the cylinders share a common crankshaft and are arranged in a V configuration

          You pinched that line straight out of Wiki….Won't find many V4's in cars my dude, they're generally in-line 4's or a flat 4 like in the case of Subaru's Boxer.
          They all share a common crank.

          It's "zippy" to 100km/h which takes 6.8sec for the record, throwing around 6 or 6.5s like it ain't no thing solidifies that you don't know much about cars as half a second here will be quite a few car lengths. For reference the i30N does it in 6.1,which is a lot quicker.

          But look at the list of cars in the OP. They're warm/hot hatches. Something that can be thrown around corners as well as be zippy in a straight line. You cannot do this in a large, fwd sedan such as the Camry.

          • +1

            @whitelie: 0-100 in 6.8 isn't actually too bad and is better than I had expected for the big, economical boat that is the Camry.

            It isn't enough to beat something like a Golf GTI, but it doesn't exactly get left in the dust.

            A quick corner monster like the RS would be great for OP.

      • I mean a V4? Come on mate, not all engines are Vs.

        Well V2 engine exists so why not V4?

  • Out of the choices, i30N.

    • If the fuel economy is good, then buy it.

  • +1

    You could prolly get a used Kia Stinger for 55. It was good enough to get a probably paid endorsement segment on Top Gear by James May. Might have been Grand Tour. James May raced it against downhill speed skaters, with the skaters going down a steep hill and him racing against them up the hill. His probably was a GT or something, but he still endorsed it and didn’t make complaints.

  • i own a golf GTI and i love it. It is sporty quick and it sounds great.

    I think the Golf R is nice but the GTI has the history and has the cult like following. A GTi with nicer trims and body kit (that is not too tacky) will turn heads.

  • +8

    While I love my golf… I wouldn't buy one again… absolute money pit

    • How much is a full brake service and a standard 10k km service?

  • Not sure if relevant to you, but the i30N is the loudest of those cars too. Depending on living arrangements, you could end up pissing off neighbours or household members.

    • For me that's an advantage, all the new fast cars sound terrible nowadays..

      • Loud doesn't mean it sounds good.

  • i30N performance.

    I had the same problem when looking to test drive a new model. I took my local dealers advice and test drove a second hand one. The i30N just feels great to drive. I preferred it over the WRX and the Golf.

    The i30N does only come in manual if you want to test drive a used one. The new model is apparently coming in optional auto as well but I'd much prefer a manual!

  • +1

    Im surprised no one has recommended you mustang gt yet.. they are probably the best bang for your buck. Naturally aspirated v8, hp400+, they look great, plenty of mods, surprisingly cheap to maintain due to plenty of spare parts.. i just dont see anything better out there for 40-50k

    • Please give yourself a favor and test drive in a mustang..

    • -1

      The Mustang crashed terribly in the ancap test. Note that I'm not talking about active safety wizardry, but about the fact that it crashed very poorly.

      All things being equal, chances of someone walking out of a crash is much higher if they were in an i30N than if they were in a Mustang.

      • -1

        You gotta be kidding me.. all the sports car have terrible ancap rating.. have you seen the ancap for ferrari and lamborghini??? Think about it bro, you can daily a mustang and you can take it to the track on the weekend and it feel so much more fun than any of the above car you have on the list. None of it gives the raw sporty experience which mustang offers.. anyway mustang in terms of depreciation mustang would be the last out of those to depreciate.. cars that have the same spec as a mustang are priced well over 80k

        • -1

          all the sports car have terrible ancap rating..

          This is absolutely untrue.

          have you seen the ancap for ferrari and lamborghini?

          First of all, these are not even tested, so where did you see the rating of one? Besides a Mustang isn't anywhere in the realms of a Ferrari of a Lamborghini.

          I did not talk about whether you could take a Mustang to a track or not, but about the fact that it crashed extremely poorly. It's so bad that one will likely die or be seriously injured in a crash, but the same person would have a better chance of walking out alive if they were in either of the other 3 cars originally being discussed here.

      • I bought my mustang 51990 driveaway, 2019 fn gt bought in february 2020. The average price NOW for the same year and model is around 62-65k And with the new direction ford is going (making the mustang an electric SUV) in the near future all the current gen mustang will still hold its value if not increase.. non of the cars above will

        • I was not talking about used car prices, but rather about crash safety.

        • All cars went up in value over Covid (chip shortage meant new car shortage which drove up the used car prices).

          I agree that OP should buy a mustang. But the Mustang is definitely not an investment.

          • @Moral hazard:

            But the Mustang is definitely not an investment.

            It'll hit that magic 80k mark soon. You just wait….

  • This ND2 MX5 GT RF manual with only 12000kms popped up for sale yesterday. $36000. Looks like a good buy as your already avoiding lots of depreciation.

    But yeah, if you want something bigger or more practical. Id go for the I30N. Or a used Civic Type R or Megane. Hopefully you can find a good deal at precovid prices.

    • Good price and what second hand cars should cost if it wasn't for Covid.

      However, I reckon the car is a repairable write off… no rego and price is suss.

      • Yep I agree. Very suss. Definately needs a VIN check prior to purchasing.

  • +1

    Megane rs? Build quality is pretty average but it looks the part and goes around a sweeping mountain road just dandy

  • Save 5K and go tesla

  • +4

    Finally got a drive in a 2018 i30 N performance on Friday afternoon, and i was impressed with how it drove. Was able to push it a bit and also normal driving. Big things even my wife called out were the
    - Seats, super firm, kept you well in place and better than her BMW 330.
    - Response from engine was instant and had the grin factor with all the pops and bubbles along the way.
    - Manual is right option on this model, tight and smooth gearchange

    I have a call with the dealer this afternoon to discuss options on what they have coming in that has not been reserved and to understand pricing and possible finance options to give me a ball park.

    Wife still cant get over the badge thing but that cause she is spoiled in her BMW lol, i think value for money its got a great package and new model will look better, have more styling tweaks outside and in and more power, albeit 4 KW.

    • +1

      BMW have made great cars, especially the new G20 BMWs.

      However, tell your wife, no one is impressed with the BMW or Merc Badge anymore…. 20 years ago it did.

      Rightly or wrongly you need a Porsche to impress people these days..

      • majority of girls don't know anything about cars, they don't know the difference between an entry level 3 series vs a m3, they just see the badge and think its expensive luxury. no body cares anymore like the guy above mentioned. i'd easily go Hyundai or stinger GT if i was in the market for such car, I'm leaning towards tesla in the future once they have hopefully polished out the quality issues.

    • The i30N is a clear winner out of your list mate. You'll love it.

      If you can wait, I think a new model is coming out soon. May be some good deals on existing models if you want a bargain.

      And ignore the badge thing, this car will be heaven on your wallet with servicing and parts costs in the future while your wife will get more and more annoyed at how much money the BMW takes for maintenance.

      • I was thinking the same thing around getting a 2020 new model from a dealer as they would be looking to clear stock, reality is no one in Oz has an unregistered 2020 i30 N performance. Every single car has been sold.

        • Wow. I guess this thread does show why lol so many people acknowledge it as a great car

    • I absolutely love, love, love my i30N. Amazing car for the price I paid (2018). Went out driving with friends recently and people are amazed at what it can do for a hot hatch. They're fascinated by it.

      *Imagine having a button that can turn it from a smooth daily driver into a beast then back again.
      *The i30N community is really friendly and you'll get waves from other N drivers. Look for the communities on FB
      *The i30N is developed by the guy who used to work at BMW - Albert Bierman. This should appease the wife as the i30N has most likely been built using ideas that would have gone into BMW if he still worked there.
      *It makes me smile
      *The pops and bangs can be turned off for that stealthier feel but they're fun all the same
      *It looks good!
      *Get one of the standard colours (not Blue) and the car effectively becomes stealth mode as people may think it's just a standard i30

  • +1

    Skoda Superb Sportline. I picked one up with less than 10k in the clock for $40k 6 month ago. It's big, 280hp 4 wheel drive with all the extras as standard. I love it!

    • Sportline for $40k under 10k kms?? no way you can find it for 40 k

      • It was an ex executive car from a dealer. I appreciate the compliment on my ozbargaining skills when buying a car.

  • +2

    I have the i30n (manual) and went through this process in 2019ish

    I didnt get the:
    Ford - due to potential head gasket problems (iirc)
    Civic type R - best option but expensive and the looks arent for all
    GTI - bit more pricey and a better car overall, but lacks features for the price + I didnt like the digital dash as much
    Megane rs - really considered this one. personal preference and general feeling made me go with the i30n
    Cerato - engine sounds like a meme… I cant understate this one
    Mazda mx5 - prefered a better engine
    86/BRZ - same as mx5 + a useble back seat
    Subaru WRX - so at the time that model didnt have andriod auto or apple car play. The new models do, but at the time I didnt consider it, because its a basic that all cars should have had

    Negatives of i30n
    - interior noise (its not that great at sound proofing)
    - Sound system isnt the best
    - lane-keeping assist and crash prevention(?) systems are the worst thing.. false positives even when you have the systems turned off
    - tyres could be better for wet weather..

    Some other negatives you come across arent really applicable because it's a sports car, so obviously the suspension will be stiffer

    Rev matching, eLSD, configuration (eg being able to design a custom mode), n-mode stats (gforce, turbo, torque + power graphs) are nice to haves of course, but features that make the car feel like a whole package

    @paulh1977 the newer models since 2018/19 have had suspension tunes to make them a lot nice for Australian roads + newer ones have more power iirc
    also to the comment about your wife and the BMW badge
    - the history of the "N" badge is they sniped the head of BMWs M division (who has been there for 25+ years) and this is his version of the "M" brand

    Overall, every time I get into this car, it puts a massive smile on my face. No car gave the same feeling as the i30n. It's not the fastest or best at anything in particular (except maybe features per $), but everything just fits together to create an experience

    • +2

      @dengziyi thats a great and honest opinion of the car that i have seen time and time again from people all over the net. Grin factor and how everything just sort of works well, bit like a black sheep as in you dont think it will do the greatest thing ever but becomes a strong performer once you put it too work.

  • +3

    20 people on OzBargain will probably give you 21 different opinions

  • Are you paying cash, or signing up to a loan?
    Since this is Ozbargain after all I would advise from getting into lengthy loans.

    • i would probably put a min of 50% (Could pay outright but nice to keep money in the bank if i can do finance) cash on the table and then pay the rest over 18-24 months. I will work with a car broker to get the best possible deal on final price and finance. We have used a guys in the past and was exceptional with getting us a great deal on the BMW we have plus finance.

  • +2

    I've got an i30n, so massive bias on my end!

    Where are you? If you want a quick test, and you're close by, happy to help

    edit: Just finished reading that you've already decided! Good to hear and don't forget to wave :)

    • That is so nice of you to offer that

  • Invest in Telsa shares and double your money in two years time. Could then buy a Tesla and have change!

    • Buy doge and get 2 Tesla's next week

  • Angela to Herbie: Do something!…….

  • If you don't mine a two-door then I think the new GR86 & BRZ STi are meant to be releasing later this year/early next year and will finally be running a turbocharged engine.

  • I had the same choice about 12 months ago, went with mk7.5 Golf R, but possibly can't get any new now? I liked the i30N it was a very close 2nd choice, so I would likely pick it out of the options you have listed, but the interior definitely let it down, the R has a superb interior, better sound system, and better noise damping. DSG is a brilliant piece of engineering, if you have to go auto, the i30N DCT model coming out soon might be a very good choice, but I found a heap of fun on the test drive with the manual gear box. Something fun about slapping it down a gear to overtake.

  • Just buy a hybrid corolla if you like saving some petrol.

    Personally, go for an EV.

  • +1

    2012-2015 c63

  • WIth this kind of money Id buy a used BMW Series 4, to be honest… I just had a look and for $50k you can find a 2016-2017 430i or 428i, which is faster than a Golf GTI I think, , with 30-40000 kms. Maintenence will be very expensive though, especially if you service them at BMW (which is recommended)

    • 5 Yr old BMW, need to be printing money to keep it in good check especially if its a BMW. Wife has one and even a basic service would cause a healthy wallet to have a heart attack.

      • I totally believe you. I have a VW golf and every service is a bloodbath, I can't start to imagine what a BMW would be

        • Do you go to the dealer for servicing? I've had a 2015 Skoda RS since new, the services average around $350 at an independent specialist. I haven't had to spend anything on it apart from tyres and a new battery last year.

          • @drewbytes: Yes I go to VW for servicing. I know it costs more but I know people who went to independent service centers for a BMW and their car was not the same ever since so I'm not taking my chances as I'm sure VW knows well how to service their own cars

  • Purchased the Focus ST in June last year.

    Such a fun little car to have with plenty of space in the back for two baby seats.

    Punchy when it needs to be thanks to the detuned RS motor.

  • +4

    Going to pull the trigger today and lock in a car finally!!!!

    I have been able to finally source a car that hits all marks

    i30 N performance Premium with the sunroof and DCT in shadow Grey. ETA to dealer July/Aug

    I know ppl will roast me with not going manual but i would have to wait another 4-5 months for the same spec car in manual with no sunroof as the grey is limited in numbers according to the dealer numbers in Aus.

    • Congrats, I like the grey, heard they were going to discontinue it soon. I have the polar white fastback for a year now.

      Did you get the luxury pack with it? I highly recommend it. The side mirrors are the huge highlight for me. Seats are fantastic too. Seat and steering wheel warmer are unexpectedly good.

      Your knee will thank you for that DCT haha so don't fuss about it. I sit through a 45 min traffic jam every morning and evening, wished I had the DCT option when I bought it.

      • +1

        It was shadow Grey or Polar White for me as all the other colours i think are just to plain even the baby blue. I think the DCT is probably the best option and with the additional cost i didnt mind as resale for this should be when i decide to sell it on. I did get the lux pack with sunroof, only way you can get the premium pack with a DCT is that you have to spec the sunroof which i think is a sly move on Hyundai as it basically screws you over to get every single option.

  • Toyota 86 GTS Manual
    Subaru BRZ
    Tesla Model 3

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