Please Help Us Choose New Family Car (Newborn Coming Soon) - Budget $45,000

Hi everyone,

We will soon be welcoming our first child in November this year.

We are looking at getting a family car with the purpose of fitting pram, basinet etc in the boot & for easier access.

The cars mentioned in the poll are ones we are considering and we were looking for any advice, experience or alternatives to the cars mentioned.

Our budget is around $45,000 and this will be our sole family car. For context, we currently do not have a car (we used to have a Honda Accord & never have had an SUV) and my wife is 5-foot.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


First off I wanted to apologise for not responding earlier to this thread and being a bit MIA. Thank you all for taking the time to share your suggestions, it has helped a lot and made us think of alternative options that we initially thought would not suit our situation (expected bub) + when factoring in that what we want may not be available right now.

I think that we initially got caught up in the "Keeping up with the Joneses" so to speak thinking we NEED a mid-SUV.

Yes, it is an exciting time for my wife and me. We recently went to the baby event that was held in Olympic Park, NSW and was tbh overwhelmed with all the different products being sold. So that will be another journey in itself.

We will definitely check the cars mentioned throughout the thread and thanks to those that have shared their experiences with the different cars and provided alternatives and other cars to consider. The next step is visiting the dealers to get timings on delivery etc

Which cars generally have the better fuel economy and lower service costs?

Some more cars that we are considering from your comments and advice that we are going to check out & maybe test-drive:
Mazda: 3 & 6 wagon

Subaru: XV, Forester, Outback, Liberty, Levorg

Toyota: Rav-4 (our favourite at the moment), Camry (hybrid)

Kia: Cerato (hatchback)

Hyundai: i30n (hatchback)

Honda: HR-V, CR-V (medium) HEV L

Skoda: Octavia, Superb, Fabia

VW: Passat

Poll Options

  • 20
    Kia Seltos
  • 16
    Hyundai Tuscon (base model n-line)
  • 150
    Mazda cx-5
  • 56
    Kia Sportage
  • 177
    Toyota rav-4


  • Whatever car you buy, test drive it and take it home - and make sure the car seat, stroller etc. all fit inside. Best thing we did, ended up with the Nissan Qashqai

    • +19

      Best thing we did, ended up with the Nissan Qashqai

      'best thing we did' and 'ended up with a Nissan Qashqai'
      Two phrases never before heard in the same sentence :)

    • My condolences.

      Well, I guess it could have been worst, could have bought the Renault 'twin'… 😬

  • +10

    SUV's in the mid-size range are useless. We sold our CX-7 (about the same size as CX-5) and bought a Mazda 6 wagon. That was in 2015 and it's still going strong. The wagon has more boot space and it's a lot lower boot floor so it's heaps easier to lift prams and groceries in and out. People argue you need to bend over to get a baby in and out of a sedan or wagon, so an SUV is better. We counter that with, once baby is about 3 and walking they can hop on and out their own and it's much easier to lift a baby than a 3-5 year old until they're tall enough to hop out by themselves.

    • +9

      Dear god no. Do not buy a prado unless you intend to tow or go proper off road. They are not ‘good on fuel’, require expensive tyres and don’t handle well in city traffic.

      I also don’t get ‘buy Toyota for resale’ vs unknown quality, terrible resale Haval. It’s two extremes that do not go together.

  • +21

    Get a wagon instead. Better and more practical boot space, better handling. City SUVs are a shape designed for offroad and then altered so that they can't go offroad so all you have is a terrible car to drive that is slightly higher.

    If height is a big selling point for you (if your wife is 5 foot it shouldn't be) then get a Subaru Outback. It's basically a raised wagon.

    If not then Subaru Liberty/Levorg, Mazda 6, Skoda Octavia or Superb, and VW Passat are all excellent wagon choices.

    • +6

      +1 this ^^^^^ - You speak my language and agree from experience.

      So many sheep must buy a medium SUV for baby. We bought a large SUV then sold it - had terrible fuel economy.
      We drove basically every one of these medium SUV plus more, then bought a good old wagon - and love it!
      After driving them all - can't understand the fascination in SUVs especially if you have no intention of leaving the bitumen. Especially all these squat ones with hardly any space behind the back seat horizontally.

      We liked Subaru wagons, Octavia / Superb, Volvo V60, Passat much better than all the SUVs…
      Not new but certainly not old - this is really worth a look:
      Honestly - ignore the badge. Its a quality German made AWD Opel Wagon with luxury features, all the bells and whistles and safety tech. For $40K - you cannot beat it.

      Or save $s for something else and get a 4cyl which is nearly as good -

      Also agree Outback if you have to have it higher off the road (even though that only makes it handle worse) - it was the leading "SUV" choice for us as its kind of a wagon with decent space in the back.

    • +1

      100% agree with this comment. A wagon should be the way to go. The Skoda boots have more space than most mid-size SUVs and are well designed. TWe ended up with a Superb but the Subarus, Mazda 6 and Passat were also on our list and all would have been great cars as well.

      • I was so impressed with the Skoda. I went with a Subaru Liberty in the end but only because I was in the second hand market and couldn't find a second hand Skoda at the time.

        Everyone I know who has a Skoda raves about them.

    • Yep. I took one look at the boot size of the Subaru Outback and went with that. Have never regretted it.

      The higher car comes in handy too depending on where you live. We have friends on large properties and go to a lot of outdoor events, the higher clearance has paid off a number of times when driving across fields to park somewhere, especially when the ground is soft.

      • Yep I have the Liberty. Outback a little bit more expensive so I ended up discounting it but it was on the shortlist. I'm a city slicker so the lack of clearance has only really cost me on two occasions and only in a very minor way. Very happy with the car. The only downside is the six monthly servicing for Subaru's.

  • +7

    Honda Jazz, no need for large SUV for just 1 child.

    • +5

      We drove Jazz with 3 kids for few years. It’s pretty versatile vehicle.

      • +6

        It's all about the magic seats!

  • +1

    We just bought a Kia Sportage as we are having our first child. The back row and boot is spacious and came in just under 40k. I tried the Rav4 but was too tall for it.

  • Rav4 or cx5.
    Id suggest new but who knows when you’ll actually get it

  • Go & have a look @ the new Honda HRV Hybrid.I have just received mine,really stoked with it, plenty of room.The only down side is the rear, only 304litre capacity.But once rear seats are folded down(they do split 60/40) there is ample room, plus you have those ‘magic’ seats of Honda’s, but they are only a four seater,not a deal breaker for us though.That unfortunately has something to do with the ridiculous ADR rules.Economy? Currently getting 3.7/100.Wait times unfortunately have now blown out to 6 months.On the highway,we’re hybrids don’t really excel, expect around the 6/100.$45,000 drive away.Build quality is also superb.Good luck.

    • Definitely needs to be higher up in the comments, the new HRV is really a solid option. Honda quality and hybrid.

    • +1

      304 litre is so small. Previous gen HRV would be a better practical option with the extra 150 litres boot space

      • It is rather small, but Honda’s ‘magic seats’ & also the fact the rear seats fall absolutely flat, nullify that.

        • How do they nullify it when you have to have at least one seat being used for a baby seat?

          • @bhubb18: It’s a 60/40 split.You have to ask yourself how often are you going to put three people in the back?In all the years I have owned cars(nearly seventy of them) I honestly cannot remember the last time I had three in the back,two people yes.

  • +3

    It’s 2022, don’t buy a fossil.
    In your budget I’d get ZS ( or stretch a bit for Leaf (

    • +1

      So buy either a questionable build quality MG, or a Nissan electric which fits none of the space/size criteria listed by the OP?

      It's 2022, EV prices aren't yet where they need to be for the majority of buyers.

      • Once you consider the savings on running costs they aren't that bad.

        • I feel like EV is either a godsend or hell for busy parents. If they remember to put the car on charge every night, then they won't ever have to bother with screaming children at petrol stations. OTOH, forget to do that and you're now stuck without fast options.

          • +1

            @ATangk: That's BS.

            Average commute in Australia is less than 20km / day.
            All new EVs sold here have range > 300km… even if you somehow forgot to charge every day for a week and ignored what the car and phone app were telling you, you'll still be ok.

            Fast chargers are everywhere on major arteries. With kids on road trips I stop every hour or two either way, and top-up charge is like 20 mins in this case. Can't even grab coffee/snack and do toilet run under like 30 mins.

            • @Thinkscape: We're talking newborns, not grown kids here…

      • The MG is better built than you might assume (IMHO similar to that of Kia/Hyundai)
        Leaf is bigger than I thought, judging from photos.

        TBH test drives I did and youtube reviews (with proper dimension measuring) were more useful than opinions of people on the Internet.

    • Range isn’t good enough for anyone wanting to do road trips. People with kids often do decent length road trips.

      I hate to refer the but this would be hell with a baby/toddler/child

      • Did heaps of road trips, 2 kids, full load of toys, no problems at all. My EV has around 500km range, but I can barely do 150km between toilet/whinge/snack stops. Chargers everywhere I went across vic/qld/nsw/sa, including inland…

      • Range is plenty, but you need to plan slightly differently. Plan a lunchtime recharge and you’ll be fine for a decent day’s drive. Then charge overnight.

  • +2

    I'd go the BYD if an EV, it looks the goods (provided 420k's range is enough)

    Else if you're hooked on ICE then a Sportage would be my pick, tbh the Seltos is a bit small.
    The Tucson alternatively if you're into something a bit different.

    yes the Rav4 is good but i feel its a generation behind now.
    CX-5 isn't bad, and maybe a little bit more luxurious but i'm a Korean convert now after having owned 2 Sportages with zero issues.

    • That's what we are going for. With the rebate it now in WA looks good value for money.

  • Have you considered another option - the Honda HRV? Found an aussie article with the below:
    "Making up the new HR-V range are just two variants. The non-hybrid Vi X with its $36,700 drive-away pricing, and the e:HEV L for $45,000. It’s the latter – with its jumbled badging and hybrid powertrain"

    I would definitely go for a next-gen Honda over a Mazda CX5 thats a decade old with marginal facelifts…

    • +1

      @ Mysterious Laptop.Would not touch the Vi-X variant,sales of that one is very slow.Hybrid variant the only way to go.They are going gangbusters with sales in the UK, up to a eight month wait.Really great car to drive.Great Hybrid power train,it will run further on pure electric power than the Toyota system.Honda have really got their act together on this one.Massive amount of interest in them.

  • Don't be one of those people getting an SUV, to drive around town, just because everyone else is also on the bandwagon for no good reason, killing off the sedan industry. A wagon or sedan will be fine.

    • +1

      just because everyone else is also on the bandwagon for no good reason

      People aren’t buying SUVs for ‘no good reason’ they are getting them because they like the height. Whether it’s older people getting in and out or transferring a baby/toddler, or not having to bend to access the boot.

      killing off the sedan industry

      First this isn’t happening - you can still buy sedans. But also if you like sedans, buy a sedan. If other people like SUVs then they can buy a SUV.

    • i had a honda civic when my baby was born, getting her in and out of the capsule was a lot harder compared to my CRV. its about the height, not just blindly following trends. we wont kill small cars like sedan or hatch, there are teenagers, single and couple adults/elderly who drives them around. or 2nd car for daily commute to work.

      • Wasn't Holden killed by not enough people wanting to buy sedans?

        • if i remember correctly, the sedan market got smaller , the cheaper and more fuel efficient asian brands eats its market share. would you choose a holden barina over honda Jazz or Mazda 2?

  • +9

    Mazda 6 wagon.
    -Cheaper to purchase
    -Cheap to service
    -Better real world fuel economy
    -Great specs for price
    -larger boot space than all other options listed

  • +1

    2020 CX-5 owner here, test drove all of the above (except te Kia Sportage rather than Seltos, seltos is a bit small). I found the CX-5 pricing the best for the features, preferred the styling, luxurious interior and overall size. I wanted the Rav-4 hybrid badly, but I really just didn’t like the style, interior etc - but it’s boot size is the largest of the choices.

    As for CX-5, I still love it, 2 years/20,000km on with an almost 3 year old, my 5ft wife finds it easy to drive, easy to get stuff in and out of the car. We’ve done a number of trips up north, and always have enough space for everything including pram. I paid $42,500 for a 2020 GT, had sunroof, leather, and most importantly - automatic electric seats coded to your key (so valuable for 5 footer and 6 footer haha).

    The new Sportage and Tucson have really lifted their game, and have crafted some neat looking cars… but as others have said above, it’s an interesting time to buy a new car - I’ll sell ours in 3 years to replace with EV, an ICE now + 5-7yrs will be well inside EV territory and may impact resale.

  • Similar situation & budget ~ 1 month ago.
    Went with the CX5 - best for the price & features I think. Compared with other cars, few compromises.

  • Similar situation & budget in March, but we're slightly taller than 5 foot tall.
    Went with a 2 year old second hand all-optioned Tiguan 132TSI. Still had 2.5 years of warranty - ticked my boxes for comfort, room and a turbo engine. Compared with other cars, few compromises (more expensive servicing/care)

  • +4

    I would have a look at the Honda CRV. They're literally made with parents in mind - rear doors open the full 90 degrees for easier access to kids seats etc, there's a wide angle mirror on the roof for the driver and passenger to see the full row of back seats, lay flat rear seats with the pull of a single lever per side so you can do it while holding a kid etc.

    • +1

      Yep have one and a young kid and am very happy with it.

  • We were faced with the same choice, have a look at all the cars, and you will find that RAV4 has more room at back seats and in the boot.

    As much as CX5 was nice to drive, we felt it had the least space in the back. Once you put a rear-facing seat at the back the front pax would struggle. The boot area is also significantly larger in the RAV, which you will definitely appreciate if you go for a full size pram. We had to have a look at both twice just to double check and be sure. Bought RAV4 hybrid in the end, no regrets 2 years later.

  • I would suggest to buy Honda Odyssey as you are familiar with Honda family in past.

    It’ll be future proof and will offer plenty of room and family orient figments.

    • it'll be the last generation if you do

  • In a similar situation to you 18 months ago I bought a second hand Audi Q5 for 30k and it's been brilliant. Lots of boot space, heated seats, and good on fuel.

    • +2

      The pain will come in due course.
      My Audi was great until it wasn't and you'll be hit with a spate of issues at the same time as everything is engineered to the smallest of margins.

      Don't get me wrong great cars, but just know that once it hits about 10 years be ready. I was $8k in 3 months into my Q7 before i gave up.

      • The thing you have to keep in mind:

        These cars are $100k new, when things needs repairing/replacing, you're paying for parts (and labour/expertise) which are inline with a $100k car.

        If the operating costs exceeds the capital costs, or reaches > 20% of your upfront cost, you gotta ask yourself if it's worth it.

      • My trouble started at 14.5 years 215K kms
        Mine is diesel, how about yours?

        • Yep, had the 3.0 tdi got to about 12 years and then all hell broke loose - only 150,000k's on the clock

          All Injectors failed
          DPF clogged itself
          EGR failed
          Head gasket failed - pretty much all at the same time, up until then was working perfectly, engine never overheated.

          Engine warning light was constantly on after the repairs as well as the entire engine was caked in carbon.

          Note to self, diesels are good for highway driving, not good for the school runs or city commuting, handball it before you have to deal with it (transmission was my biggest worry.)

          Under waranty they're ok, out of warranty wouldn't touch one.

  • +5


    Also in a similar situation. We ended up getting a Subaru Outback.

    Make sure you test drive the vehicle. The RAV4 turned out to be a disappointment for us. Also, you can probably cross off a few vehicles due to the wait time.

    • I second this. Looked at quite a few SUVs and wagons. Of the many we looked at, I found the Outback to have the biggest boot space. The height also meant it was easier to carry pram and bubs in and out easier without straining our backs.

  • Two cents regarding the Tucson option: don’t buy the base model. Better go with the Elite configuration without the N-Line (keep leather seats that way).

  • LOVE driving my cx5, but agree with others that the boot space does not compare to the rav4!

  • +1

    Kia carnival, fill it up with your 3rd, 4th and 5th children when the come along.

  • +1

    Insert "SUVs are tall therefore safer" Just get a wagon

  • I would recommend a KIA CARNIVAL. Even for 1 kid, they are amazing with space and driveability.

    We have 4 kids, and wish I went this route on the 1st.

  • -2

    Eh whatever you like that you can afford to pay for in cash.

  • +1

    I'd be getting a wagon, nicer to drive, handle better, bigger boot, etc. About the only advantage with an SUV is it's less strain on your backing getting kids in and out, due to their extra height.

  • +1

    Hybrid Camry not an option….?

  • +5

    Subaru Outback has a large boot and fits double pram and shopping well.

  • +4

    I've test driven a lot of SUV to consolidate our Accord Euro and Honda Jazz back in 2019 with the idea of more space for kids stuff (family of 4) like bikes, skateboards, camping gear, etc.

    We ended up with a Skoda Octavia RS245 wagon demo model which we got for $40k driveaway.

    Could've gone with the 1.4 litre turbo 110tsi option instead for the same shape and space but I splurged a little bit more to get the adaptive damper, driving mode and Golf GTI engine.

    I got the 5 year service pack last. year before the first service (12 month interval) and it cost $1,700 which is very worth while doing.

    • +1

      I got the pov pack one in a manual and it's been brilliant over 7 years and 110k and counting :)

  • +3

    Stretch the budget up to the entry Tesla Model Y - New born will limit your travels and you can just charge off wall socket easy mode for peace of mind travelling to shops and back and around your local area. No maintenence and unknown variable petrol costs, it's more upfront but I'd wager it'll pay off longer term. My partner's sister had similar decision to make and did Model 3 a few years back and did the lease pathway at a good rate (might be higher rates now with interest rates going up tho).

    She's considering the swap to a ModelY now and paying out her lease with the savings made over the past two years, and resale on her Model3 seems to be tad higher than what she paid for it after all the lease costs and rebates etc.

    If your situation allows for it, but wait times might be the length of baking the baby tho.

    • +2

      That is a big stretch lol

    • New born will limit your travels

      Disagree with this. Have done many road trips with bub, so have all my other mum friends with babies and toddlers. It’s actually pretty good as they do a fair bit of sleeping in the car especially if you drive at night. We do a regular 6 hour drive with the little one overnight. Not sure on the Tesla specs, but would be bad to need to charge on getting to the destination.

      • The LR/P+ Model Y has around 450km highway range, so around 5h. Not sure how the 6h drive looks like for you, but if it's continuous then I'd be worried about safety more than anything else …

  • +2

    Honda CRV

  • Got the CX-5 about 1.5 years ago for a the same reason (newborn). At the time there weren't too many options as most manufacturers we're having supply issues but I was able to get the Mazda relatively quickly (didn't have a car prior to that).

    So far been able to fit everything we need in the boot. Have a 12 year old too. So going away on holidays with both kids, the wife and massive pram was fine.

    The HUD is surprisingly good, exclusively use it for my speed and cruise control

  • +2

    Congratulations on the newborn!

    I recently went through this process. With all the praises I've read online about the RAV4, the actual test drive was a massive let down, it was noisy within the cabin, all the interior materials were plasticky and cheap and the actual ride itself was "eh". It's a car that fulfills the basics very well, but don't expect anything beyond that. Would I pay $50k and wait 12-14 months for the hybrid cruiser model? No way.

    I recommend test driving the Outback, Forester and CX5. They're not hybrids but you will be happily surprised with the build quality.

    If you truly want a hybrid and budget permits, I'd recommend checking out a second hand Lexus NX (2018). Some models can be had for sub $50k.

  • +3

    Subaru Forester or Outback

  • Have cx5. Fits double pram after some struggle and not much room left for shopping after that. But as someone mentioned above we don't have issue with front or rear facing car seats, enough space for front seat passenger with rear facing seat at the back. Don't regret getting it as drives so well and built quality is awesome.

  • +3

    We got a Prius V. Bloody ugly (some would say boring) but I don’t need a chick magnet in this phase of my life and this thing is like the Tardis - looks small from the outside but very roomy inside. It’s basically a hybrid wagon. Not as bulky and easier to park than an SUV. Very fuel efficient - there is a reason most taxi companies use them. Another plus is the seats that fold out of the boot space so you can fit 7 people altogether if needed for extended family trips. Don’t regret our purchase at all but if the hybrid RAV4 or Corolla Cross were in the market when we bought a few years ago I would have seriously considered these as well.

  • Buy what you can get now and not in 6-12 months, like most of the cars on your list.

    Ring dealers and see what they have, as this may dictate what you buy.

    • +1

      Haha negs from those who can't afford…classic on this forum 😂

  • -2

    Subaru Forester. I just bought one about 45k. No brainer

  • Sonata N line.. Live a little

  • +1

    We purchased a station wagon when the first child reached ~six months. The boot is massive and we prefer the ease of access to back seats plus the lower centre of gravity.

    I think pram choice is also important. Our first pram was a redsbaby bounce on sale and it was cheap and bulky and did the job. But after our second child, the skateboard feature became really important. We purchased a skateboard that kinda attached to the redsbaby and it was rubbish, didn't work well for us. Ended up purchasing a Bugaboo Bee and a Bugaboo Skateboard. It fits so well, so much more elegant and compact than the redsbaby…wish we had purchased that to begin with. Having a good compact pram that supports two kids like the Bee may change some of your criteria for the car.

  • Toyota Tarago/Estima/Previa

  • +2

    Skoda Superb wagon. Mid sized SUVs are well over rated with regard to space and amenity.

  • Test everything you are interested in, then it is a process of elimination, as to what suits your lifestyle & needs, irrelevant of brand.

  • No camry?

  • Reconsider an SUV. My wife and I have a BMW X3, 09 model (bought 2nd hand) and when we had our first, it was smaller than my VE Commodore Sedan.

    A few reasons:
    * The front drivers seat had to be forward in the BMW because the back seat was tight with the baby seat in rear-facing position but I didn't have that problem in the VE. My wife might as well have sat on the dash you were that far forward!
    * Boot space is a bit tight. Sometimes you want a long boot rather than a short and high. Even with a sub speaker in my boot, my VE was slightly better plus the backseat had more space.

    We often took the VE on longer trips because it was more comfortable for the passenger.

    Don't always look at the boot space, consider the seat space as well as how the child seat would fit. I just upgraded from the VE to a Ford Ranger and I am worried that when our 2nd one comes long that the back seat will be tight. It's tight enough with the seat for our almost 3-year-old in front facing. The tub space is amazing with the canopy on it (for practicality) but concerned about the backseat space.

    Just my 2 cents but look at a wagon-type car rather than a compact SUV.

  • +1

    I currently have a Honda Accord, it's a great family car for a family of four, and we are a one car family.

    a "family car" isn't necessarily an SUV.

    Less emissions, lower centre of gravity, less chance of rolling, better handling, better aerodynamics.

    If I wanted something larger I would go from a sedan to a wagon. Probably a Mazda 6.

  • Congratulations! Good work on starting out early-ish with the car search.

    Whatever you pick, bear in mind the wait times, Japanese built Toyotas(read RAV 4, Land cruisers) are facing lengthy delays and there have been 2 plant shutdowns already this year.

    Our expected new car arrival of May is now July/August. A friend who cancelled their Kluger(US built but huge shipping delays) in favour of Mazda CX-9 is getting their Mazda in ~ 3 months.

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