NZ's cheapest new hatch, SUV and ute - and what the same money will buy you used
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Buying new is great, but when you’re on a really strict budget your options are pretty limited.
We’re taken a look at New Zealand’s cheapest hatch, SUV and ute – and then gone fishing on DRIVEN.co.nz listings to see how much you can move up in the world by choosing used. Because within that specific budget, the world is your oyster really.
Small hatch: Suzuki Celerio GLX, $15,990
Our old friend Celerio is our old friend because it’s officially NZ’s cheapest new car: just $15,990 in manual form and $17,500 as an automatic.
It’s actually a fun car to drive because underneath it’s basically a previous-generation Swift. What it’s not is very... glamorous.
Used small hatch: Suzuki Swift Sport
If you want a cool Suzuki small hatch and you’re not wedded to the idea of new, why not get the real thing? As in an actual Suzuki Swift. And while we’re at it, let’s ramp it up a bit by having a Swift Sport, which is very achievable on this budget.
And yes, you can have an automatic – the second-generation Sport (likely the one you'll be looking for at this price) was available with twopedals
New compact SUV: MG ZS Excite, $22,990
Compact SUVs are hot property at the moment. Putting aside some questionable motor-industry classifications (Suzuki Ignis as an “SUV” springs to mind), the MG ZS is the cheapest model in NZ that most would look at and recognise as an SUV.
We’ve not formally made the acquaintance of the ZS at DRIVEN, but it looks like an impressive little machine and it’s the base for a couple of interesting models: the just-launched sporty ZS T and NZ’s least expensive Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV), the ZS EV.
The entry-level ZS, the Excite, is just $22,990.
Used medium SUV: Mazda CX-5
The MG ZS is a very affordable compact SUV, but $23k will actually get you a nice vehicle a whole size up. So we thought we’d treat ourselves and sort a popular medium SUV.
We were tempted by the Toyota RAV4 (and there are plenty to choose from, so go right ahead), but we’d go for a Mazda CX-5, which is a bit more rewarding and desirable.
It’ll be a 2012-13 model and probably petrol – although look hard and you might find one at this price point with the excellent SkyActiv-D engine, albeit with higher mileage.
New ute: Great Wall Steed 4x2 single-cab chassis/wellside, from $17,990
New pickup trucks are pretty expensive. Except for new Great Wall utes, which are remarkably affordable.
At $17,990, the Great Wall Steed 4x2 single-cab chassis doesn’t cost a whole lot more than the little Celerio. It’s turbo-diesel, with a 6-speed manual and 1198kg payload.
Even if you step up to a tray, it’s still only $20,900 (or exactly the same price for a 4x4 cab-chassis).
Used ute: Mitsubishi Triton
Light trucks have incredibly good residual value, so finding a good alternative to an $18k Great Wall could be challenging.
It’s good to minimise your financial exposure to the sheer desirability of icons like the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger, but you also want to stick to a big-name brand. Because that’s kind of the point of this exercise.
There are a number of options and while we flirted with the Mazda BT-50, we’ve settled on the Mitsubishi Triton. Shop carefully and you’ll get into a post-2010 model and while the looks of the previous few generations have been polarising, it’s certainly not boring. Plus it's a very capable ute.