Recommend a Car for My Mother - Budget $30k - $50K

My mother needs a new or maybe used vehicle and looking for some good recommendations for her.


Very reliable, she is mid 70's but drives a lot, regularly distances of a 200km to 1000km. probably still averages 1000km+ a week. mix of highways and country roads.
needs to be station wagon or SUV for carrying things.
Needs to be economical to run due to distances travelled.
She likes her comfort but struggles with new tech so beyond sat nav and radio and blue tooth for phone etc it doesn't matter much.
Budget undefined, but guessing 30k-50k.
Reasonable service and repair prices
If new something with great warranty and servicing.

Currently drives a Peugeot 508 station wagon, diesel (circa 2012), very economical but horribly unreliable. She likes Mercedes but prices on anything new enough I think are out of her budget at the moment.

All advice welcome.

Update: For those interested looks like it will be a Rav4, she seems to love it.


  • +7


  • +1

    There is a good comparison article here:

    If it were me, I'd look for a more recent 508 wagon to fit your budget.

    • +9

      No way will she touch another Peugeot after this one. but thanks for article.

        • +17

          Multiple overheating issues. computer issues, starter motor issues, water leak issues. Nothing that has cost her much but all extremely inconvenient and taking her off the road.

          • +2

            @gromit: My experiences with multiple Peugeots over the years was the opposite. No major issues.

            • +8

              @GG57: maybe she just got a lemon, but it has been her first and will be only Peugeot. The worst part wasn't really even the issues (though they were inconvenient), it was multiple of the incidents took weeks and weeks to get parts from overseas to fix.

              • +12

                @gromit: There are more lemons with French cars than good ones, I mean there is even one named after a lemon

            • +5

              @nubzy: "lifes too short to drive boring cars."

              Right, so you chose Peugeot LMAO

                  • +2

                    @ehardaway: He said he compares it to an i30 , the i30n is actually a cracker of a car and what he should be looking at instead.

      • +1

        Good. Partner had a Peugeot a while back. Had to get parts shipped internationally a few times took ages. Was a PoS would never touch again.

      • -1

        Steer clear of any French car.

        Just like their leaders, they love surrendering.

  • +42

    RAV4 Hybrid
    Lower models should be fine if she doesnt need to carry a kayak

    • +20

      probably wants it in the next few months.. not next few years

    • +1

      I thought they were pretty much impossible to get in near term.

      • +3

        true, but didnt see a deadline in your op.

        non hybrid would be easier to obtain, up to driving roads/stints as to whether hybrid economy benefits would be a factor

      • +1

        Call a broker, they might know of cancelled or unallocated stock that’s around. It’s not impossible to get one quickly but you’ll be paying rrp.
        Also with the 2022 coming out people are cancelling 2021 orders so might have an even better chance of getting an unallocated 2021.
        Can send you the broker I used who is very popular for buying Rav’s

    • +12

      mix of highways and country roads.

      Why waste your money on a hybrid? Just a bog standard RAV4 will suffice here.

      • +1

        Not the 2.0L. Lacks the power and response you'd want

        • They also made a 2.5L. But even with the 2.0L I don't think the power is really an issue for someone who is not going to tow.

          • @donkcat: I know they make a 2.5L… before you suggest the 2.0L, drive both. The 2.0L is the same engine as the Corolla

            • -2

              @spackbace: I’ve driven the 2L before and it was a 08 model, it wont be the quickest off the line but its enough for a 70 year old

              • +1

                @donkcat: 2008 models were 2.4L…

                Newsflash, I've driven both on many occasions, hence the recommendation for the hybrid

                • -1

                  @spackbace: Typo, 2018, its fine. A 70 year old doesnt need to b the quickest off the line. And she doesnt need the hybrid even with what you’re saying, she just needs the 2.5L

                  • @donkcat: So buy the Edge model, which is more expensive than any hybrid models (brand new)?

                    Or are you thinking of the 2018 engine options where they were all available with a 2.5L AWD?

                    • @spackbace: Yes thats right the 2.5L AWD, think they also offered it in 19. I mean the hybrid would be great but last i heard they are difficult to come by, but im not sure about the availability of a 18/19 2.5L either

                  • @donkcat:

                    A 70 year old doesnt need to b the quickest off the line.

                    Au contraire, she's got even less time on this planet than the average (30 year old?) driver. If anything she'll need the fastest 🤷

        • Shes 70… it would have shit loads of power.

          • +1

            @pharkurnell: Depends what's she's used to

            The 508 came in 1.6TD with 82kW, 2.0TD with 120kW, up to a 2.2TD with 150kW…

          • +4


            Shes 70… it would have shit loads of power.

            That's a lot of ageist assumption there - my wife is not that age yet but it won't be too long and she drives a 370Z. She really dislikes driving anything with less get up and go (at least this way my car is always available for me).

        • 100% agree, wouldn’t touch the petrol

      • -6

        Hybrids emit more VOC's than a diesel or even petrol ICE.

        • Source pls.

    • Seconded.

      If your mum isn't fussy about paint or whether it's GX/L/Cruiser, I guarantee you can find one somewhere if you're willing to pay for it.

      I dont know where you're at but country Toyota dealers have demo stock regularly that they will sell but can't move in their locales.

    • What’s this kayak joke?

  • +7

    Toyota Prius V. It's a hybrid (good economy). It's Toyota so it is fair to assume it will be reliable. It is a wagon with fold down seats in the back.

    • Interesting, thanks had not thought of Prius.

      • +2

        I drove a prius once. They are genuinely slow. Almost fell asleep in the time it took to get up to speed.

        From Google: Toyota Prius v/Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 11.3 seconds

        Would be scary to have so little power on the open road, I'd think.

    • +2

      But driving on country roads and highways would not save much compared to driving a Prius in a city.

      • +2

        This. Prius hybrid system relies on slowing and stopping to generate electricity to accelerate again. There isn’t enough slowing on many country highways to get the benefit of the hybrid system. If the country roads are windy or hilly with lots of braking and accelerating it’ll be better than the dual carriageway Hume Highway.

        • +2

          My 3rd gen 2010 Prius has been used almost exclusively on the highway over 350,000km and it has used 4.5L/100km over its life. Our RAV4 AWD Hybrid uses 5.2L/100km in the city and 5.5L/100km on the highway. Highway fuel consumption of Toyota hybrids is still a fair bit better than non-hybrid competitors due to the Atkinson cycle the engines use, plus the almost lossless hybrid transaxle. The electric motor and battery is only part of the efficiency benefit of the hybrid system.

      • Yep, I had a rental Hybrid Corolla an when driving on the freeway (100km+), the hybrid system isn't contributing to the drivetrain, it's engine power.

        • +5

          I've got a Camry Hybrid and you still do see the electric motor working at times on the motorway. For a 20km trip to work that is atleast 50% motorway, I'm still seeing sub 5L/100km fuel economy. On longer trips between Wollongong and Syd, I'd probably be in the 5 to 6L/100km range on the freeway.

          Having the CVT keep the engine revs low and using the electric motor on hills definitely does seem to still help a bit on the motorway.

          Where the Hybrid shines though is you get V6 performance when you want to overtake whilst still getting better than a regular 4 cylinder's economy. I feel that it has better overall driving refinement too compared to the non-hybrid Camry.

          I'd happily buy a Toyota hybrid again.

          • +1

            @stewy: Last time I rented a 4 cyl camry I was on holiday driving around 3 adults and 2 kids, and it never felt underpowered, and it didn't use much petrol over a week either. for a 70 year old lady the 4 cyl is fine, and she may not see the savings at her age by the time she stops driving

            • +2

              @Jackson: Have you driven the Hybrid Camry to compare?

              My previous work had the non-hybrid 4 cylinder Camrys which I spent a bit of timing driving (mostly on the highway) and overall I felt they weren't as nice a car to drive. If you want to overtake, then the extra power from the the electric motor helps.

              I believe the hybrid is only around $4000 dearer and the hybrids would appear to be holding that extra value well in terms of resale prices.

              • @stewy: I have driven both, however a model apart (the non hybrid I drove was the previous model to the hybrid) . I like the Hybrid Camry, just not sure it serves this old lady well.

                I drove a hybrid corolla too, even though I drive quite conservatively it really felt like the petrol motor was on all the time and it was the Atkinson cycle doing all the petrol saving.

          • +1

            @stewy: Exactly, the other contributor to their great fuel economy, whether in the city or on the highway is the Atkinson cycle that the engines use, which is more efficient than the Otto cycle typically used in non-hybrids.

  • +5

    21/22 hyundai tucson 2.0 diesel

    • Thanks looks worth looking into.

    • Just hope the urea shortage doesn't come to fruition

      • +9

        korean diesel cars don't have a seperate tank for adblue (urea) mainly trucks and european diesels have the need for this.

        • TIL - cheers

        • -1

          Never seen a road car need AdBlue. It's not a thing. Only trucks due to emissions. No European diesels I have had ever need AdBlue.

          • @Geoff01: probably, i have never seen it on the cars i have come into contact with either however

            • Ford Everest, Ford Endura and 2.0L Transit require it.
            • Mercedes bluetec also uses adblue
      • +2

        Those cars which don't use adblue will soon probably start to attract a premium in the second hand car market.

        • Newer diesel cars that don't use AdBlue will have DPFs in them. No one is paying a premium for a DPF-fitted vehicle. Well not unless its a Toyota 200 series!

    • +1

      Agree strongly with the above, but given her age and the unlikeliness of using all the features available on modern cars (like my parents!) maybe even just a mid-top spec tucson/sportage from the outgoing generation to save some $$$. They'd be next to new (might even get run out demo's) and significantly cheaper. More or less the same mechanicals just a different body/suspension and a whole heap of cabin/tech upgrades.
      Yes the new ones are always better but how much extra value is she going to realise from them. I prefer the looks and fit and finish of the Tucson over the Sportage (have driven both) but the 7 year warranty, slightly bigger body (and cargo space) and lower price tag of the Sportage might convince you/her to shop for that.

      (edit: NVM about getting a run out. Just looked at the prices and the 10% discount for a 2 year old car vs a brand-new new refreshed model is definitely not worth it (45k vs 50k approx.)

      • Sportages are surprisingly nice cars for the price.
        Got a second hand one for 26k for my partner and I never hate driving it like I did with her old Pulsar or her mothers Toyota Kluger (drives like a boat).

        • They’re great value cars and I’m not trying to tarnish the name. Just personal preference goes to the Tucson for that generation given the styling and interior layout.
          For the current gen however it’s a much closer playing field. I’d say prices would be the sole determinant of which one I’d pick if it were me.

  • +4

    Think about how many driving years she has left.

    Mother is older. Please get a car with modern safety features like auto stop

    • +13

      She is probably a far safer driver than many of the posters here on OzB, she doesn't speed or play with phone or think traffic signs are meant for other people. 60 years of driving (the last 40 years averaging 1000-2000km a week) and never an at fault accident. MY grandparents both lived till late 90's and were still driving till late 80's. So would think she has quite a few years left of driving yet.

      • +1

        Some good genes

        • yep, Mothers side of the Family are very long lived. Wouldn't surprise me if she outlives me as my fathers side all die under 70 lol.

          • +1

            @gromit: Just curious, why does mum drive so much? Is it for work?

            • +5

              @andresampras: used to be for work so for 40 years driving 1200km a week just back and forth to her shop, plus 1000-2000km a week for doing quotes and deliveries. hence driving a lot doesn't bother her. I have 2 brothers and a sister we all live 200-1000km from her and she will regularly drive to visit, she has no interest in moving from her country town location as she likes it there and knows everyone there and the distances don't bother her in the slightest as they are relatively small compared to what she used to driving.

              • +3

                @gromit: Ah OK makes sense.

                Let us know what she ends up buying!

    • +9

      No idea why this would be downvoted.

      Auto-braking is something I would definitely look for in a car driven long distances by a septuagenarian.

      OP, I'm biased here based on my own experience, but I think a Golf / Passat Alltrack or Skoda Octavia / Superb Scout would tick several boxes - mod cons + safety features + huge boot + AWD + slightly raised height when compared to a regular wagon.

      I don't think they make new diesel versions any more, if she prefers/is used to the way a diesel drives. Could still get one 2nd hand though.

      • +3


        I learned a new word today. Thanks :)

  • Honda Odyssey?

  • +12

    Where's that guy that reckons Peugeots and Renaults are the most reliable cars out there?

    • +7

      He beat us all to it right…… here! lol

      • +4


  • Camry

  • 2018 Passat wagon tdi.

    • Hmm interesting, I had an R36 for 7 years, was awesome car . Definitely one to consider.

  • -1

    needs to be station wagon or SUV for carrying things.

    personal choice as it comes down to preference of model but as a fellow road user i would prefer you chose a station wagon so the car behind can have better visibility which may prevent someone slamming into you. that and SUV's are highly susceptible to rollover when at highway speeds in an accident and are also not suited for evasive maneuvers due to their center of gravity being up so high. (unless you are driving around in a BMW X5 where the weight and wide tyres compensate for this so it is not as much of an issue)

    if you have some time on your hands go on youtube and search "moose test" and watch a few videos , will open your eyes up a little.

    Needs to be economical to run due to distances travelled

    since you mentioned station wagon or SUV you can kiss fuel economy goodbye especially if having the need to carry things. i would not be considering your next car choice based on fuel economy , but the car needs to be FWD if fuel economy is important but if safety is more of an importance choose AWD, additionally the weight of the car and the engine capacity also is important (the lower the better in both categories up to a point).

    If going on the highway a lot i would recommend at least a 2 liter turbo motor or a 2.5 liter naturally aspirated motor (for fuel economy)

    If going on the highway and fuel economy isn't a big deal then a V6 engine would be ideal due to the low down torque and overall smoothness of acceleration, but if most of your journeys are short or stop and go then scratch this suggestion and go with the above.

    Budget undefined, but guessing 30k-50k.

    Pick a car with all the associated safety features a modern car would have but without that high of a price tag , a 50k car isn't necessarily a better package over a car that costs 30k based upon your requirements , additionally nor would it be any safer as these days most modern cars come with airbags and ABS brakes as standard , some higher models have emergency autonomous braking which can be helpful but won't stop a fender bender and in some cases if the sensor is dirty cannot be relied upon and the same goes for the blind spot sensors (if the car isn't washed regularly)

    ultimately choose a car that you would not be upset over if it were involved in a crash or put you in a bit of a difficult situation financially and make sure it is fully insured to the value of the car.

    Reasonable service and repair prices

    Don't choose anything euro if you want reasonable service and repair prices , i have read online that Skoda is of euro quality but without the price tag so they might be worth looking into but i have never personally had one so i cannot comment any further on it , but if you want reasonable stick to Japanese or Korean brands.

    If new something with great warranty and servicing.

    Kia often have 7 years warranty on their new vehicles and i believe Hyundai do as well otherwise most other manufacturers (but not all) offer 5 year unlimited km and capped price servicing as standard.

    Good luck to you and your mum, take anything you read online written by anyone with a grain of salt.

    • +4

      take anything you read online written by anyone with a grain of salt

      Like some of the comments in the post above :)

    • +2

      @JollyHotdog love the effort put into your post, but disagree with your comments on fuel economy & engine size (you've forgotten about turbos) and I question the bit on service/repair prices (For example I've heard Subarus are not cheap to own. Also I've had Skoda Octavias, they're similar or a bit cheaper than Golfs to maintain - plus if you service at a competent independent mechanic, you'll get better service at lower cost). If she's used to Peugeot and Merc servicing costs, there are plenty of euros that would be fine.

  • +7

    70 yrs old and regularly drives upto 1000klms… lol

    I hear that Lindsay Bros Transport are looking for drivers

    • +1

      Not sure why the Neg, that gave me a great laugh

    • +7

      that is actually a pretty big cutback in what she used to drive while working. was 1200k's a week just driving back and forth to work, deliveries and quotes for the business could add another 1000+ to that easily. She used to have a Mercedes, was bought new in the 80's, Clocked the odometer (1 million kms) before finally being put to rest in the early 2000's.

      • Wow… 1M kms on a Merc…

        • +3

          Was around 1.3 by the time she disposed of it, still running when she sold it.

          • +1

            @gromit: Was the odometer even 7 digits? After 1M you put value back into the car by making it 'low mileage'? Asking for a friend, ferris Bueller day off style…

            • @knasty: no, 6 digits only, so 1m read as 0.

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