Family cars on a $20,000 budget: Which of these 10 bargains is best?
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When it comes to buying a family car, there's no 'one size fits all' template. For some, a well-chosen subcompact hatch is more than enough to complete the task. For others, a large SUV is imperitive.
For $20,000, you can get high-quality hatchbacks, station wagons, and SUVs of all shapes and sizes that are perfect for whatever the kids decide to do next to muck up the back seats. Here's 10 of our favourites, from five different size segments.
It wouldn't be right to start this list with anything other than New Zealand's favourite family car; the humble Toyota Corolla.
Apart from being a bit of an icon, the outgoing generation Corolla is known within its segment for spectacular resale values, decent boot and rear-seat space, and reliability.
With $20,000 in hand, you're most likely to find either a low-kilometre 11th-generation model or a higher kilometre high-spec ZR or Hybrid model. Here we have a 2017 GX with just 37,891km on the odometer, listed in Grey Lynn. Click here to check it out.
It's only fair to loop in an alternative to the Toyota Corolla. And, for many in New Zealand, the logical choice is the Nissan Tiida.
From a motoring perspective, it's tough to recommend the Tiida. Its 1.5-litre four is known to be rather sluggish and the styling is best described as 'vacant'.
But, the value of a Tiida is unquestionable. They're practical, spacious, and if anything goes wrong parts are absolutely everywhere.
Truth be told, you don't need $20,000 to get a good Tiida. Hell, you barely need $10,000. For half the budget, you'll get a perfect low-kilometre import like this silver 21,364km example listed in Papatoetoe. Click here to check it out.
If you're wanting something a little more premium than a Tiida or a Corolla, then the Volkswagen Golf is an excellent choice.
In this budget you'll be looking either at a high-specification Mk6 Golf (including the fizzy GTI hot hatch) or a low-specification Mk7 like this New Zealand new TFSI petrol hatch. Along with a more modern cabin and the sharpest exterior styling of any modern Golf (perhaps including the upcoming Mk8), the Mk7 brings added refinement over its predecessor.
This particular car, listed in Glenfield, has just 61,865km indicated, and has only had one owner since new. Click here to check it out.
Wanting to go smaller than a Corolla or Golf? Well, there's only one real candidate capable of carrying the same loads.
While the Toyota Yaris is a bit tinny and the Suzuki Swift struggles for boot space, the Honda Jazz slots nicely down the middle with the biggest boot in class and those amazingly practical 'magic seats' in back. Not to mention that there's enough room in the back for a pair of adults.
This baby blue Jazz is a high-spec RS model, complete with mag wheels, nifty body kit, and a mere 23,940km on the clock. Click here to check it out.
But it's not all about hatchbacks. You can get quite a lot of car for $20,000. Case in point; this svelte Mercedes-Benz C 200 Kompressor wagon.
Although this is a relatively entry-level model (fitted with Mercedes' 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine), you'd fool the neighbours with that factory body-kit and wheel set. It's still loaded with toys, too, including heated seats, sunroof, and some flashy wood trim.
Listed for sale in Christchurch, this sweet German wagon has less than 100,000km indicated, and is priced at just $17,995. Click here to check it out.
Understandably, some people can be hesitant around buying cheap German machinery. They're lovely to look at and sit in, but are renowned for being less than friendly in the parts and servicing costings department.
A neat alternative, then, is probably the Mazda6 and its Japanese import twin, the Mazda Atenza. For this budget, you can squeeze in an older example of the nameplate's current generation. Expect to pay a premium for New Zealand new models.
Along with swoopy styling and plenty of space, the Mazda6 is known for having one of the nicest cabins of any Japanese mid-size sedan or wagon. This sharp black wagon, listed in Auckland, has 85,600km on the clock, and is priced at $18,950. Click here to check it out.
Of course, the love for hatchbacks and station wagons has seemingly been eclipsed by the love for SUVs. And few tick quite as many boxes as an early third-generation Nissan X-Trail.
The X-Trail has become a stalwart in the medium SUV class, and is known for its practicality and affordability. It's also worth noting that the third-gen X-Trail is still sold today in high numbers, meaning that parts are going to be widely available for years to come.
This particular gunmetal X-Trail, for sale in Penrose, is New Zealand new and has just 74,000km on the clock. Click here to check it out.
In the same segment, but arguably sporting smarter looking styling, is the Kia Sportage.
The Sportage used to be a slightly maligned SUV among its peers. But since the launch of the nameplate's third generation model (featuring these curvy, handsome looks), the world has been much kinder to the Sportage.
This facelift model (designated by the 'Tiger Nose' chrome outline on the grille and tweaked LED headlights), is a New Zealand new EX variant, featuring factory mag wheels, a tow bar, just 50,000kms on the odometer, and buckets of room. Click here to check it out.
What about a small SUV? Well, there's one candidate in the segment that should be of particular interest.
The Holden Trax isn't necessarily the first name that comes to mind in the world of compact crossovers. But, it's always been a handsome and value-laden option. And, with Holden winding down operations around Australia and New Zealand, there are plenty of exceptional deals out there on new and second-hand Trax SUVs.
A brand new or demonstator Trax can be had for just over the $20,000 budget threshold. This 2017 range-topping LTZ Turbo meanwhile, with less than 30,000km on the clock, sneaks under budget at $19,990. Click here to check it out.
Now, if you've scrolled through everything on this list, and thought to yourself 'those are all nice, but I want something a bit more ... unique', then this might be the car for you.
Walking the line between hatchback, SUV, and station wagon, the fabulously quirky Skoda Yeti is renowned for its roomy demeanour, rarity, and wonderful oddball styling. Not to mention Top Gear managed to land a helicopter on one.
This example is a little high in its mileage, but is one of the few still out there for sale. Click here to check it out.