In the market for a new (or should we say, used) set of wheels, but not really sure where to start looking? With so many makes and models out there it can seem a bit overwhelming trying to choose the right vehicle for you.
Luckily we’ve put together a guide to helping you along the road, pardon the pun. This list is collated from the best of each classification of vehicle (so you can find the best one according to your needs) from the last couple of years. That way you can purchase a used car that is still practically brand new, but will already have lost a lot of its initial depreciation value that new cars go through as soon as you drive them off the lot.
Best Small Cars
- 1. Hyundai i30 Active – This guy’s reputation precedes him. Not only does it look great, it also has excellent fuel economy (6.9L/100km in the 2012 model), and a very reasonable price tag. It’s easy to see why the Hyundai i30 has been picking up so many awards over the last few years.
- 2. VW Golf 90 TSi Comfortline – For something slightly more upmarket, you can’t beat the VW Golf 90 TSi Comfortline. With the smallest engine of all of the Golfs, it has a surprisingly great fuel economy, while offering a real luxury experience. You will expect to pay a bit more for the Hyundai i30, but the added specs will certainly make up for that.
- 3. Subaru XV – While the Subaru XV is slightly edged out by competitors in the fuel economy department, it packs a grunt that you can’t find in many other small cars. So if get up and go is important to you, you might want to consider this little beast.
Best Medium Cars
- 1. Mazda 6 – Mazda 6’s have really revolutionised the medium car game in the last few years, and once you jump inside one you’ll see why. It’s plenty roomy, even more than you’d expect from the slight step up from a small car, and is buzzing with awesome features. Not to mention Mazda have really nailed it with their outward design.
- 2. Toyota Camry Hybrid H – When there was a bit of a risk of Toyota Camry’s becoming a bit out dated and daggy, they’ve pulled out all stops with the Hybrid H. This car has all the class and reliability you’ve come to expect from the Japanese brand, with a few new infusions to keep them up to date with the current market.
- 3. Ford Mondeo Ecoboost – The 2007-2011 models of the Ford Mondeo weren’t the best, but they’ve really redeemed themselves in the last 3 years. It’s still not the leader when it comes to having all the mod cons, or even providing an enjoyable cabin experience, but it’s still incredibly spacious, safe, comfortable, and reliable.
Best Family (SUV) Cars
- 1. Subaru Forester – Subaru have been making these impressive Foresters since 2008, meaning there’s plenty to choose from in the pool of used cars. They pretty much set the bar in terms of SUVs, with all the features you could possibly want.
- 2. Honda CR-V – Honda has been stepping up their game in SUV manufacturing over the last years, making them hot on the heels of Subaru and other big timers in all of their post 2007 models. They’ve really set the tone for high quality, making you feel like you’re sitting in luxury without having to worry about the extra spend.
- 3. Mazda CX5 – Just like their 6’s, Mazda have produced a beautifully designed piece in their CX5. Not only do they look classy, they manage a pretty smooth drive that examples just how they’ve earned the third spot in our SUV wrap up.
Best Sports Cars
- 1. BMW 1-Series Coupe – Can you ever go wrong with a BMW? They’re one of the leaders in luxury cars, and their sporty 1-Series Coupe is just as sexy and thrilling as you’d expect. Anything after 2008 in this series is going to put a smile on your face, and in particular the 2013 model goes above and beyond. Perhaps the best part is the price tag, which is quite reasonable for a top grade sports car.
- 2. Porsche Cayman – Leave the dream and cruise around in a stunning Porsche Cayman. This is the car to buy if you don’t care so much about cost or efficiency, and value a brilliant driving experience above all else. You’ll look pretty sweet while you’re zipping past, too.
- 3. Nissan 370Z – Midrange in terms of cost, the Nissan 370Z has proven that it’s not just the Europeans who can do sports cars well. This hot little number can handle corners like the best of them, and will have you always volunteering to duck down to the shops – any excuse to drive! We recommend checking out the 2012 model, but really anything after 2009 will serve you well.