Cheapish Used Car Suggestions (under $15k)

Hi All

Good news - got a promotion at work. Bad news - losing the company car (field vehicle) and now need a car to get me from A to B.

We have a family car (Rav4) already (have 3 young kids) that we are planning on upgrading into a 7 seater in the next 5 years. This is really just to get me to and from work (within 20km's) and pickup the kids from school/grandparents etc.

Needs to have room in the back for 2-3 kids seats/boosters, room in the boot for bags, fairly economical and cheap to insure etc. Beyond that, i couldnt give a stuff as long as its reliable, easy to repair/service, and will hold its value reasonably-ish……..I had considered hatchs (Corollas, Mazda3, Ceratos, i30's etc) and sedan/wagons (Mazda6, Camry etc).

Anyone got any hot tips? I cant believe the price of used cars at the moment! I guess the pandemic has affected it somehow…? I was hoping to snag a 5yr old hatch for around $12k but that seems to be pipe dreams!

Also interested in peoples opinions on where to buy? Carsales only? Marketplace? Online auction houses? (im in melbourne).

Also, what km's is too high bearing in mind ill be lucky to do more then 7,000 each year.




    Can't go wrong with any of the ones you've listed for a second car. Keep in mind some brands have fixed price servicing that may be of interest.


    I cant believe the price of used cars at the moment!

    This x lots.

    mates bought several cars at auction with good success so far.. Not sure I trust it myself.


      Any particular auctions? Was looking at this but have never bought at auction before/….!/search-result?q=ProductType.Vehicles.&sort=Year


    Needs to have room in the back for 2-3 kids seats/boosters, room in the boot for bags, fairly economical and cheap to insure etc.

    I'm thinking you might need to look at older commodore / falcons.


      Although surely the gen 3 types must have ironed out most of the bugs!


    what about and older tarago or the imported version called estima.

    this guys are honest if you are interested:


      I was always scared that repair/service fees would be insane on these! And resale would be shitty…but might have a look!


        I think they used the same parts as the local tarago.

        If you are interested join the Toyota estima Facebook group. Tons of good info there. That's were I go when I need information for my tarago.

        I only suggested it because used car prices at the moment are insane. An imported estima may offer what you are after.

        I have never bought or are associated to the seller I posted above. The lady who runs that dealer is well regarded on the Facebook estima group.

        Good luck🤛


        The generation of estimas with the 2.4 four cylinder engine are well regarded as realisable and fuel efficient.

        The next option would be the 3.5 6 cylinder engine (same as v6 RAV4, Kluger) for more power

    • +2 votes

      First post spamming a people mover seller.

  • +2 votes

    Also, what km's is too high bearing in mind ill be lucky to do more then 7,000 each year.

    So many variables here. A used 6 cylinder car with impeccable service history is probably good for 500k km's. I would choose a car with 200k country km's over a car with 100k city driving km's and a gazillion engine running hours and as many short trips to the train station.

  • -1 vote

    1979 Ford Ltd station wagon.


      Did they make the LTD in stationwagon? Thought they were sedan only.


    Our mazda3 sedan is great, not quite enough space if you want to be able to load up big for a holiday. But if its just a runabout car, then it is great. Cheap on fuel, insurance is cheap and ours has been reliable, up to 70000 km already in just under 3 years of ownership with just regular servicing so far. The sedan has more boot space in litres than the hatch though… I've fit a surprising amount of stuff in the boot.

    they do hold their value though. Might be hard finding one in budget range. Maybe you might find a 2015-16 one after they went to the BM/BN model


    Your list is good. Go check out a few in car yards to see which you prefer, then test drive and buy one.

    As for kms,I think that 200.000km is about the time to get rid of a car. Factor in how long you might keep it, work out max kms that need to be on it now to get to around 200. Check the model you are looking at and make sure it doesn’t need a timing belt replaced soon, that costs a bit.


      So just take the person's word on what sort of KMs they have been doing? Realistically, how reliable are the last gen commodores/falcons, say if you find one with 180k from the country..?


        No. Work out how many you’ll be doing, then how many years. Subtract that from the 200k mark to work out your max target kms.

        Ie when I bought my current vehicle I was doing around 6000 per year. Want to own for 10years, can but up to 140000km.

        Another way of looking at it is you can generally get a higher km vehicle a bit cheaper. If you are doing less than the average driver later when you sell the kms will be back to average kms for the age of the vehicle.

        As for falcon/commodore probably ok with higher kms. Just test drive one with lower kms first to compare and make sure it is in decent condition. I might take more risks than many posters on this forum, and have bought a Subaru with 197k km on it. It ran fine for the 4-5 years I had it. Current vehicle has 188, bought at around 140.


          Yeah, that sounds smart.


    I think the hatches will be too small for 2-3 kids. Will you fit them all across the back seat?
    What was the company car you're coming from?

    I'd be looking at Camry/Aurion, Commodore, Falcon, Mondeo etc. Probably more the Camry than the others as they don't have the "bUt ThEy'Re NoT mAkInG tHeM aNyMoRe' tax attached to it. If you can stretch to $20k, you'll get something low km and under 5 years old but I wouldn't really have an issue recommending one under 10 years old and low km.


      Thanks! Yeah, a corolla size is about as small as I can go - oldest in the front seat, 2 little ones in car seats in the back).


    Anyone got any opinions on 2012-14 pulsars? Worth the bit of saving or just stick with corolla/3 instead?

    Also, I'm happy to get a manual due to being able to drive one and not driving too far/in traffic much. But is it worth it? The prices seem quite a bit cheaper for a similar vs auto, and I anticipate I'll keep the car for 10 years so it'll be worth little when I sell it anyway.


      All my run arounds have been manual. They're generally nicer to drive in this segment compared to the auto variant which can seem a bit unresponsive, gutless etc.

      I'd take the Corolla over the Pulsar but haven't done any research on either, just a personal choice.


        Agree. I haven’t followed pulsars lately but Nissan seem pretty good, except for their CVT transmissions. Standard auto or manual should be no worse than a Lancer, seemingly the ozbargain alternative to a corolla.


    how good are you at negotiating? you can pickup a 5 year hatch for 12k if you can do it..




    I had a quick look at pickles auctions and found that they sell all the Vic Government fleet vehicles.

    Firstly, has anyone bought from auction like this before and can comment? I'd imagine you are pretty safe if it's not too expensive, and moderate KMs and age with full service history? I assume that most buyers are we one hand dealers looking for cheapish stock to make a profit on? Anyone had experience with the prices/value vs buying private sale? Anything else to look for or best to skip?!/result?sort=lot_number_suffix_sequence


    One more question - anyone have experience with the previous gen ford focus? (LW MK2). I've seen that you need to avoid the automatic, but apparently the rest of the car in manual form is good quality and the pricing seems a bit better vs the equipment Corolla/3. Assume this would be a better buy then say a Lancer or Pulsar?


    Okay, ive got a list going - what are peoples thoughts -

    Small Hatch/Sedan

    2013 Golf Comfortline Manual 105,000odo - $13,000

    2013 Focus Trend Manual 40,000odo - $11,500

    2016 Focus Trend Manual 60,000odo - $15,000

    2014 Mazda 3 Neo Auto 100,000odo - $14,700

    2015 Nissan Pulsar ST-L Manual 60,000odo $13,000

    2013 Corolla Ascent Sport Manual 105,000odo - $14,350

    2015 Corolla Ascent Sport Manual 105,000odo - $15,800

    2015 Hyundai 130 ActiveX Manual 100,000odo - $13,000


    2011 Honda Accord Euro Luxury Auto 150,000odo - $13,000

    2010 Nissan Maxima Ti Auto 122,000odo - $12,000

    2012 Ford Falcon G6e Ecoboost Auto 135,000odo - $ 13,000

    2013 VW Passat Highline 130TDI Auto 90,000odo - $15,500

    2013 Toyota Aurion Prodigy Auto 155,000odo - $15,000

    Notes -
    Ive tried to steer clear of all Autos/DSG's due to reliability issues (Focus, Golf, Mazda3).
    Camrys REALLY hard to find with low kms/good price.
    Mazda 6 manuals also hard to come by (maybe the auto is ok, but id like a GJ series and they are rare/pricey unless it has huuuge kms)
    Would love an Octavia but also want to stick to manual/low km and they are hard to find too.
    Was happy to look at Commodores providing it was VF and up and they are hard to find with low kms/priced quite high compared to the equivalent Falcon/Aurion/Maxima.
    Are keeping an eye out for a nicely specd Nissan Altima if one pops up.

    Any thoughts/which would you choose?


      List too long. Do you WANT a small, medium or large car?

      Default: Corolla.


        haha, sorry about that - thought i would put it all out there. I WANT a car that is comfortable and well spec'd, i NEED a car thats reliable and nothing else. Really, the size isnt that important. The most that will go in the boot will be a couple of school bags for the kids. Although we have 3 kids and 2 are still in seats, its unlikely all 5 of us will ever be in the car (will battle to get 2 child car seats and one without one into the back of pretty much any of the hatches/small cars HOWEVER, this is very rare. Probably going to do 5-7000 km a year maybe.

        The reason for the long list is the pricing is SO similar so cars of a similar age even though the price when new could be up to 70-80% more, and since the running costs (inc insurance) will be pretty similar, part of me thinks i may as well get something that has more power/spec like the Aurion Prodigy or G6E Falcon.


    Maybe ill trim the list down by saying my current top 5 -

    2013 Golf Comfortline
    2013 Focus Trend
    2016 Hyundai i30 Active X
    2012 Falcon G6E
    2011 Accord Euro Luxury (line ball with the Maxima)

    All $13k or under.


      That’s better. I30.

      If you don’t need or want a larger car don’t get one. Don’t get an older golf unless your heart desires a golf specifically. I30 is also newest for your money.


    Drove a couple this evening, have now scrubbed out the Focus (unfortunately the internal cabin space was just too cramped – for all passengers! Shame since it was nice to drive and priced well). Would be interested to see if the newer Focus is bigger inside.

    The Golf was really nice also, couldnt fault it at all. Nice interior, nice to drive, good space.

    The G6E Falcon was very nice to drive, so comfortable and smooth.
    The i30 (actually a 2015) was really nice too, felt much bigger inside and more comparable to the Golf for space, although i thought the internal was pretty basic – not as nice as the Golf or a similar Corolla, maybe similar to the Focus?
    Still really keen to try out the Accord Euro since everyone just seems to rave about them and it seems to be maybe the 'smarter' choice vs the Falcon…