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.


          • @gromit: Who on earth would buy a vehicle with 1.3 million kms on it? Or did she pretend it was low ks?

            • +3

              @spillmill: sold it for $2000. It was showing its age so was no hiding the fact. The buyer was a mechanic.

              • +1

                @gromit: I heard you could sell mil k cars back to the manufacturer so they could get some study on how they lasted so long.

      • +1

        Let me guess, a Mercedes W124 E200/220? Absolutely indestructible tanks, my SIL has a 92 model with over 500k that simply refuses to die despite a patchy service schedule.

        • +1

          Was a 280se. But still built like a tank.

          • +1

            @gromit: Ahh back when Mercedes stood for quality and reliability, wish they would make them like that now.

    • +2

      haha ….my mil and fil were both trucking into their late 60s ..when fil slept mil took over the wheel so they did good distances without having to really stop much

  • +6

    With all the highway km's covered I'd recommend AWD and a strong set of autonomous safety features. With that many country km's regularly covered it's inevitable that there will be driving in wet conditions and this is when AWD is so much better. If there's any gravel roads then it's even better again.

    Subaru have a big range of AWD wagons and have really done a great job of loading their models with safety features.

    Start looking with the Impreza Wagon and XV SUV. These cars are essentially twins built on the same platform and you might be surprised that the wagon offers more cargo capacity than the SUV. This is actually the case for a lot of SUV's so don't automatically assume that SUV equals more space.

    If your mother travels gravel roads or needs the extra ground clearance then the SUV might be the pick, otherwise the Impreza Wagon has more to offer for less money.

    Skip the base models as these don't offer the excellent and potentially life saving Eyesight intelligent driving tech.

    Granted your mum is an experienced driver, but as we grow older our reflexes and perception decline and if the car can work to keep us alive then it's worth it over saving the most dollars. You should save about $6000 on the Impreza over the XV so if it does the job, buy the wagon instead of the SUV. $6000 will buy you a lot of fuel.

    Subaru has great customer care which is a major plus as well

    Here's a couple of videos from by favourite reviewer John Cadogan on the Impreza and XV. Have a look at what he says about any other vehicles you are considering for a (sometimes brutally) honest assesment

    • +12

      Don’t look at Cadogans videos. He is a self important clown and is heavily biased. He’s probably paid to say what he says as well.

      • Biased towards whom exactly? Any evidence for your second statement?

        • +1

          His opinions are very polarised. Very click bait styled. He seems to either love or hate something, without appearing to give an objective or balanced opinion.

          I have no evidence he is paid for his opinions, but his very self-promoting style leads me to think he wouldn’t think twice about accepting funds from any source and fail to disclose it.

          You should take caution when listening to people who push their agenda with such vigour.

          • -2

            @Euphemistic: You didn’t answer either of my questions. Having a strong opinion isn’t ‘bias’ and your second point is ‘well I wouldn’t put it past him!!!’ Pathetic.

            • +1

              @Daz91: I attempted to expand on my thoughts. I don’t have evidence, because I’ve refused to watch his drivel for a while now. Nubzy has also backed up my uninformed opinion.

              As of now there are 9 upvotes for my two precious posts (yes, one neg). Your post has one neg, not from me.

              Make of that what you will.

              • +1

                @Euphemistic: I had my doubts, but backed my nubzy and several upvotes has me sold.

              • -3

                @Euphemistic: 9 other people with no critical thinking ability

      • +1

        The guy is an absolute tool, I also suspect he is paid to push his agenda

      • +2

        It’s funny how his reviews have no footage of him actually driving the car.

        • I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of companies wouldn’t offer him a test drive of new models either. Although, if he is in the broker business he probably gets a quick drive in a few.

  • +3

    When are the tesla fan boy/girl gonna share some love and recommend?

    • +3

      The amount and distances that OP's mother drives, the charging is going to be quite impractical.

      • +1

        She's driving 1000km a week, not a day, if I read correctly, so range would be no issue.

        Having 2 trunks might help with the carrying of stuff OP mentioned, although hard to judge without knowing the nature/dimensions of the "stuff".

        • Maybe I'm reading it wrong - OP mentioned that she travels regular distances of 200km-1000km and averages 1000km+/week. I read the 200km-1000km as 'single trips' and if that's the case, having to wait for charging might be an issue for some (and may not be for others).

          • @bobbified: correct. longest single trip in a day will be around 1000km, that would happen usually once a month. multiple times a week is 400km. Average weekly would be somewhere north of 1000km, hard to judge accurately as since she retired she just drives to sisters/brothers or my place whenever she feels like it just for a day trip.

    • +1

      Tesla fanboi/owner here - not suitable for her use. Buy a Japanese medium SUV (RAV4 Hybrid is my pick) and be done with it.

  • +5

    Late model Subaru Outback 3.6R… awd, plenty of power.

    • Agree - Outback is a good pick.
      However I would consider the smaller engine (e.g. 2.5?) also for economy as opposed to power for a 70y/o woman - apologies for stereotyping but probably not towing, hauling a large family etc?

      • Not a typical woman (or man)… high mileage. Assume most are freeway, the 3.6R wont use that much more fuel as it revs alot lower than a smaller engine.

  • I replaced my peugot 307 this year after 17 years because my kids kept nagging me to get a new car with safety features. Only ever had one problem with the peugot and that was the automatic transmission but loved that car and travelled regularly, pre Covid, to qld from Melbourne. I’m in my 60’s and ended up buying a Subaru XV , I did like a Skoda but delivery was a problem. I ended up with top of the range and it is comfortable to sit in, I am 1.84 m tall and I enjoy driving it except for all the beeps and warning sounds. I guess I will get used to it. Only niggle is the small boot but it is manageable.

    • You should have told the kids to jam it.

  • i have 2019 kia sportage brought from new n can’t fault it especially 7 years warranty but i dont know if it’s 7 yrs or so many kms ..she drives more then me brother has the new honda i think crv n his is bigger then the sportage in boot size , seat size and its great on petrol ..

  • +1

    Have a look at the Ford Mondeo wagon or hatchback. Seriously roomy, ton of safety features… great mileage/drive/comfort. Cheap servicing… and very affordable. I think it will be the best car for her and she will love it. I drive the titanium luxury version which I highly recommend with Electric lifting tailgate and seats that move back to let you in and out easily, automatic parking if you wish…

    • yep this one is already on my list as a possibility.

    • I am genuinely interested in what benefit an electric tailgate brings over just giving it shove?

      • actually quite a bit to an older lady. Especially as she doesn't have a lot of strength in her hands anymore, The 508 has electric tailgate and it is one of her most loved features.

        • +1

          Good answer…not something I see much value in personally but I can see how that might be useful in this situation.

  • +1

    Lexus NX hybrid if she's willing to look at second hand. It's basically the RAV4 hybrid with nice seats and tech. Bulletproof Toyota reliability. Extremely comfortable and good fuel economy.

    • Thanks, will take a look, was considering Lexus for myself. But yeah perhaps could suit mother too.

      • +2

        As someone about the same age I bought one new in 2017. Hasn't missed a beat. Big plus is that the motor is the same 2.5 hybrid as in the Camry so any Toyota dealer or mechanic will be able to service it. Performance is adequate rather than sporting. 4 year warranty means you might get one with balance of new warranty

      • The current Lexus NX is based on the previous RAV4, not the current one. It actually has a completely different engine, an older hybrid system and the entire car is based on an older chassis/platform than the current RAV4 hybrid. Its significantly inferior in power, economy and especially ride quality as a result, despite costing way more. Best to either wait for the new NX (based on the current RAV4) which is soon to be released, or just get the current RAV4 hybrid.

  • -3

    Go a secondhand Marc

    • Poor Marc, nobody wants him

  • Japanese or Korean. Pick the size that suits your mum and go test drive a few. There probably isn’t that much difference between them.

    For long country driving, diesel suits well. Hybrid only if it is hilly or lots of bends where you need to brake and accelerate at lot. Small capacity turbo petrol might be ok, but a larger car tends to be a bit more comfortable on rough country roads as they bounce less due to increased inertia.

    • A hybrid RAV4 will still get 5.5l/100km on the highway, basically diesel fuel economy anyway.

  • Get a Kia SUV - great value and some great tech for older generation like the pedestrian safety stuff.

    I have had a Sorrento Diesel platinum for 6 years and only ever very minor issues that have been fixed free under warranty.

    We also have a cerrato hatch for 5 years and no problems.

    I really rate them as a value option.

  • If she does a lot of country/highway driving, a 3-5yo diesel landcruiser prado would be my pick. those things are near indestructible, safe as a truck (quite literally) and has good visibility and good roo protection with a bullbar. Easy/cheap to service too

  • 2014-2015 Honda CRV diesel

  • +1

    Mercedes w204 or w205 series c250 diesel.

    Twin turbo 4 cyl diesel, rear wheel drive, excellent fuel economy. It's basically an upgrade to her current vehicle addressing everything wrong with a purgeot

    • Mercedes provides a decent warranty on used cars
    • she actually wants a Mercedes
    • very reliable, the w204 is close to Toyota level of reliability (in warranty reports)
    • interior is quite nice, she won't be disappointed coming from a purgeot
    • in the 30-50k price range, you're looking at 2014-2016 models with not insubstantial mileage.

      but it does get you the merc badge.

      • Unfortunately a product of recent inflation in used cars. At these prices it's justified to spend 65-70k to get you a brand new one.

    • +2

      also have two W204 C250 cdis in the family. Hard to find station wagons, 2.1cyl diesel engine is good, and reliable. I had a lot of work done under mercedes warranty, engine and transmission mounts, failed rear brake light LED, seat belt tensioner, cracked intake, radiator leaking water.
      Touch wood been fine since then, wife does about 80-100kms a day in it. pre-covid about 25-30kms a year in it.
      just highlighting this ^ is what a 'reliable' euro entails. but mercedes warranty was superb.

  • +1


    • +2

      V6 petrol, manual, smokes 86s off the lights, high resale value, a true sleeper. Respect to Toyota.

  • +2

    2018+ Mazda 6 Atenza Wagon

    • Amazing cars, I have a 2016.

    • yep, or a CX5

  • +2

    mazda cx3 or cx5?

  • Rav4

  • -2

    Wow seems no one has picked a Hyundai IONIQ plug-in Elite

    I'm generally not a fan of hybrids, but in terms of which car will have great fuel economy and most likely be fairly reliable, I'd pick a Korean.

    43L tank it could theoretically make it nearly 4000kms on a single tank of fuel, that's pretty insane, most likely in the real world you could still bank on 3000kms - rated 1.1L per 100 kms.

    The electric part isn't what I'd be worried about, it's the ICE side and Hyundai would generally be among the most reliable from the ICE perspective so, that's a solid option.

    Something luxurious? How about a Volvo S60 or a XC40?

    A friend of mine has had a 508 for a few years now and no issues (so far), sorry to hear yours hasn't been that great.

    EDIT: I know you said Station Wagon / SUV, so sedans may be a no go, I wouldn't rule out a mid-size+ hatchback though, you'd be surprised how many things they can carry, you'll get 80% of the practicality of SWs/SUVs but they're far easier to park* *Mostly.

    • +2

      43L tank it could theoretically make it nearly 4000kms on a single tank of fuel, that's pretty insane, most likely in the real world you could still bank on 3000kms - rated 1.1L per 100 kms.

      you can't extrapolate the efficiency for the entire tank. you get the 60kms of batteries - when it runs flat the efficiency drops to about 5L/100km which is standard for hybrids

      • So unless the 1.1L per 100km just isn't an accurate? How is that derived then?

        I watched a review where the battery was flat and the car still had 800km of range (claimed) if true then on a full tank that's pretty close to 5.4L per 100kms.

        Isn't the whole point of hybrids that the electric motor aids the petrol engine to help maximize the fuel economy? Otherwise what's the point, and how can they get away with essentially false advertising?

        EDIT: Ok in this test they were getting 2-3L per 100kms, call it 2.5L, that's a solid 1700kms, a far cry from 4000km (even 3000kms), but still quite respectable.

        • PHEV is great if you take short trips and charge at a power point between trips.
          The energy to move still needs to come from somewhere.
          If you travel less than 60km each trip, then charge the battery to full between each trip, then sure, you'd get 1.1L/100km averaged out.
          But once you go beyond the 60km of the battery range and it's flat, then it's just a regular hybrid with the petrol consumption that goes with it. On long streches of highway, you're not recharging the battery with regen brakes so the electric motor isn't really helping, so it's just the little petrol motor pulling it along.

          • -1

            @caydus: Well this is where I'm confused you see. If you travel between 0-60km, on that trip, by my estimate, you should use 0L/100km. It's 100% Electric so, why would any fuel be used at all? So my point now is, how are they 'really' coming up with 1.1L/100km, and how can someone achieve 2-3L in real world testing if the electric mode only lasts 60km. It doesn't add up that the most efficient is to use full electric, then run on petrol - does it? I suppose if the car can charge the batteries from the ICE side while in use, then perhaps an on-off-on cycle could result in lower consumption, however without knowing the details too well for hybrids, I always imagined that the electric motor would somehow aid the petrol engine in getting up to speed, re-gen on braking and slowly but surely deplete in hybrid mode, allowing an average consumption at the beginning of a charge and a full tank, to be much lower.
            Once again, if it doesn't do this, what is the point? Is it just the on-off-on type of scenario, or is it something else entirely?

            • @conza: Yeah that's not how it works. The 1.1L/100km rating is only based on the first 100km the car travels, after that the battery is empty and the car reverts back to the petrol engine exclusively, which is probably 5.5L/100km for an Ioniq:


              That review you linked on Youtube was obviously based on them travelling for shortish distances on mostly electric power, emptying the battery and using the petrol engine a little bit then recharging the battery and restarting the cycle.

              Works really well if you live in the city and mostly do short trips that fit within the range of the battery so you don't have to fire up the engine much, but not really useful for long trips that mostly use the petrol engine after the battery runs out early in the trip.

            • @conza: Yep! Dogsrule is right.
              The 1.1L/100km is essentially meaningless IMO.
              The petrol engine drives a generator to charge the batteries is more efficient than pure petrol alone, which is part of the reason why hybrids can get as low as 5.5L/100km for a car of that weight.
              This entirely depends on your use patterns. The best case would be short trips to the shops then back on the charge so the battery never runs out. But the worst scenario would be long flat or uphill freeway driving.

  • Audi Q2

  • +1

    Mitsubishi Outlander.
    10 Year Warranty and 10 Year Capped Price Servicing.
    Reviews for new model are quite positive.

  • Tesla Model 3

    • +1

      Not suitable due to frequent long distance driving requirements, being a sedan and too much tech, for someone not used to it.

      I would hate to think what the tough country roads would do to a Tesla. I think it is predominantly a city car.

      • Not suitable due to frequent long distance driving requirements, being a sedan and too much tech, for someone not used to it.

        I own one, and I agree with this.

        I would hate to think what the tough country roads would do to a Tesla. I think it is predominantly a city car.

        I don't agree with this. It has high quality double wishbone suspension at the front and equally high quality multilink suspension at the back. I live in regional NSW and have done 350,000km on our crappy country roads and the trashed Newcastle/Central Coast portion of the M1 Motorway in a little Prius, still on original suspension. I've had both my Prius and Model 3 up on jackstands and the M3 has way beefier components than the Prius, so I think it will be just fine.

        Anybody who thinks you need a Hilux/Prado etc to travel on regional/country roads is being precious.

  • +2

    Mazda 6 wagon.
    It will be st least 10k cheaper than equivalent yesr/age/kms of an SUV.
    Much lighter, so easier on fuel, tyres and brakes.

    What ever car you get, if she drives at night make sure it has LED headlights. I will never go back. Biggest safety improvement since airbags!

  • Camry.
    Case closed

  • -2

    only logical car is the rav4 hybrid, but wait in line or buy second hand
    if she cant wait go for camry hybrid its no SUV but its got space

  • Kia Optima - Cheaper than your budget, genuinely reliable, and unlimited km warranty - repsonsive and good road position

    I had one it was a great car and a near new GT will be 30-33k
    If she is older and wants a higher road position, consider Nissan X trail

    German / Euro car brands in Australia are beautiful to drive, terrible to own basically because of the post wty service experience and gouging on new reco'd spares.

  • I drove a Mitsubishi outlander from Brisbane to Carines in June, was spacious and very good on fuel, not as quiet in cabin as a cx-9. But I believe Mitsubishi have good warranty and cheap servicing

  • +1

    Probably just around the top of your budget range but the Subaru Outback AWD touring wagon will be an excellent choice. Subaru's active safety system that includes low and high speed crash avoidance with automatic emergency braking, reversing with braking (crash avoidance), front and rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, driver attention detection, blind spot monitoring, all sorts of safety bells and whistles. etc. I'd pick this car if it were for my own mother mainly because of the solid safety features.

    • Thanks adding it to my research list

  • +1

    Thanks everyone for suggestions/recommendations. Provided many options I had not considered yet. Will do some research and take her to look at various options over Xmas.

  • My MIL is in her early-70s and traded in her trusty Yaris for one of the base model MG SUVs (cost about $21k driveway). Whilst I raised the question of quality with her, she felt that the 7 year warranty will take her into her late 70s by which stage, she doesn't intend to be driving then.

    Would I buy one? No, but for someone with limited driving years remaining, combined with a long warranty, it might be worth a look

  • A rare one but I love driving these: Opel Insignia Estate AWD (Made in Germany) - sorry, I mean Holden Calais V Tourer AWD:
    A lot of tech / safety features for the money. Just doesn't have the badge but it's a German car.
    Another one -

  • ML250 Merc very economical with all the luxury you need. I just bought a GLE250 for $50k and am selling my 2013 ML250. They are the best once you drive a Merc nothing else is the same.

  • +1

    Nissan Skyline R34 GTR

  • Subaru outback?

  • Toyota Corolla Hybrid or Toyota Camry Hybrid

  • 2021 Ford Escape - a little ripper and a bargain…. 0-100 in 5.4

    • Ford make great cars. I love all of their current models, this included. Good recommendation.

  • Dunno how tall she is. But in that age getting in and out and being comfortable must be looked at.
    Has she sat in a Rav4 ?

    • She hasn't yet. But before buying I will take her to try them all

  • Subaru Levrog.
    Great safety features, plenty of space, 10-12kmpl on highways.
    Yearly capped service.
    3 year warranty.

  • Nissan xtrail. Get a ST-L with 10k on the clock for $40k… Well I got my MIL one a few months ago from a Nissan dealer.

    4wd, 2.5l engine, internals are hard plastic and hard wearing.

    Bit dated maybe but a solid reliable car

  • +2

    Just thought I'd throw my hat into the ring on this one!

    I drive a 2011 Skoda Superb wagon (125TDI), and like people's comments above is a brilliant car to drive!
    It has very good comfort levels (think leather seats, front and back heated seats, umbrella holders), but just due to its age has a very acceptable Sat Nav and Bluetooth functionality, just no CarPlay etc.
    It has a pretty good fuel economy at 6.5L p/100km (thanks RedBook), but I tend to find that I come in under that pretty regularly.

    Much like your mother, I drive predominately highways and country roads and have had no issues in the last two years I have owned the car, and have friends with similar model Skodas who say the same.
    I understand that older Skodas are much lower in cost than your price range, however, after driving my father's modern Skoda Superb (2019) I have experienced that there is a very largely reduced fit and finished, as well running of the modern vehicles.
    The modern Skoda vehicles do absolutely have the full extent of safety features, which I can very much understand to be a significant priority, though it may sacrifice luxury/comfort.

    I absolutely recommend a Skoda in any capacity, though especially the Superb model in a wagon, no matter the year.

    Hope that helps :)

  • Volvo XC40. I know quite a few people with them now and some around your mums age. They all love them.

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