Why not buy one of New Zealand's top-10 new vehicles - at a bargain used price?
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
The safest car choice is a popular one, right? There's plenty that's reassuring about purchasing a model that's had the thumbs-up from so many others and when it comes time to sell it again, it's more likely to hold its value and be in demand.
The official New Zealand top 10 selling vehicles list is a great indication of what's really cooking in the world of cars, SUVs and utes (there are some of each in there for 2020). But we can't all afford to buy new, so we've created a guide based on the big sellers and their equivalents in the used market, complete with the relevant listings on DRIVEN.co.nz. Let's shop.
Ford Ranger (7975 sales in 2020)
Kiwis love utes and we still love the Ranger most of all. It's hard to keep up with the various special editions and equipment packages offered on this model, but in broad terms the current shape with the trapezoidal grille was launched in 2015, so anything from there onwards will still look pretty contemporary.
The acclaimed biturbo 2.0-litre engine and 10-speed transmission came along in 2018 on Raptor and Wildtrak (as an option on the latter), although the strong 3.2-litre five-cylinder still has plenty of fans.
Toyota Hilux (5795)
Toyota NZ released a heavily upgraded Hilux last year, but it still technically belongs to the eighth generation Hilux lineup launched in 2016. Post-2018 is where you get a much more modern look, because Toyota facelifted the controversial "boaty" front to give it a more truck-like grille - very similar to what the current model wears.
As with Ranger, there are a variety of cab sizes and the choice of 2WD (Prerunner) and 4x4 models. Uniquely, Toyota also still does a low-rider petrol ute, called Workmate.
Toyota RAV4 (5341)
This is undoubtedly the hardest of our list to secure used. Some might say impossible...
The all-new model launched in 2019 took the RAV4 from rental favourite to really desirable SUV, and brought a hybrid model to the range for the first time. But there's still a six-month waiting list for some some versions new and it's a little too early to be seeing used examples in volume.
Nothing wrong with previous-generation RAV4s, though. And there are plenty of those around.
Mitsubishi Triton (3687)
The Triton has always been the quiet achiever of the one-tonne ute world: not as flashy or iconic as Ranger/Hilux, but hugely capable, smooth-riding and outstanding value. The top models with the Super Select drivetrain also offer something quite rare in ute world: full-time AWD for on-road use.
The current generation dates back to 2015, but in 2019 Mitsubishi gave Triton a striking facelift with the same "Diamond Shield" grille as Mitsubishi's SUV models.
Kia Sportage (2907)
The Sportage has been a consistent hit in NZ, thanks partly to a comprehensive model range and thanks partly to sharp Porsche Macan-inspired styling - complete with quad "dot" daytime running lights within each headlamp.
The current shape was launched in 2015, although the previous generation (2010-15) is highly regarded too.
Kia Seltos (2611)
Yes, Kia is on a roll in the Kiwi SUV market. The Seltos took the Korean brand into a new segment when it was launched in 2019 and scored big with value pricing for the entry version, generous cabin space for a small-medium SUV and idiosyncratic styling that really seemed to connect with people. But being a young model, it may not be so easy to find used.
Mazda CX-5 (2567)
Arguably the enthusiasts' choice in the medium SUV segment, the CX-5 impresses with svelte styling (Mazda calls it "Kodo: soul of motion") and SkyActiv powertrain technology. The style continues on the inside too - it's a mainstream family machine that feels a bit premium.
The current shape was introduced in 2017. The previous, from 2012, was the start of the line and Mazda's first SkyActiv model.
Toyota Corolla (2567)
The Corolla needs no introduction. It's been a Kiwi favourite forever and the current model (launched 2019) benefits from Toyota's renewed determination to make its mainstream models much more interesting and dynamic.
A hybrid powertrain option is a selling point for this Corolla - but it was also introduced for the previous model in 2016, so that's worth looking out for too.
Suzuki Swift (2562)
The cute, capable Swift is perhaps the closest thing in NZ to a "classless" car: it appeals to a huge range of buyers, even those with the budget for something much larger and more powerful.
There's a range of engines available - everything from an entry 1.2-litre to a quirky 1.0-litre turbo three-cylinder, and the Swift Sport is highly regarded as a fun-to-drive warm hatch. The current-shape Swift was introduced in 2017.
Holden Colorado (2487)
Sadly, this is the last time we'll ever be able to say this: but there was still a Holden in the top 10 sellers list for the year. The Colorado continued to tick along and no doubt quite a few buyers got quite a big bargain.
After a shaky start in 2012, the current Colorado evolved into an impressive one-tonne ute - so a post-2017 facelift model is the one to look for. If you're looking for more of a "lifestyle" ute, the dressed-up Z71 versions really look the part.