Here are NZ’s cheapest new cars. But do you get more for your money used?
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There are great arguments for buying new: there’s nothing quite as satisfying as knowing you’re a car’s first owner, there’s that factory warranty and you’re getting the latest safety and comfort/convenience technology.
But buying new costs, right? So here’s the question: is it better to stretch to buy a budget-priced brand-new vehicle, or get a bit more size, power and glory by spending the same second-hand?
We’ve picked three of New Zealand’s cheapest new cars – a hatch, SUV and ute – and taken a look at what the same money will buy you used.
At a snip under the $16k mark the Suzuki Celerio is not just NZ’s cheapest five-door hatch: it’s the country’s least expensive new vehicle overall.
That money will only buy you the base manual; you’ll have to spend $17,500 to get the automatic, but that’s still the cheapest new car you can buy.
Sexy it ain’t, but the Celerio is actually a fun drive because underneath it’s based on the previous-generation Swift. There are six airbags and Suzuki claims it will take you 1064km on $100 worth of fuel. There's a few new ones listed on DRIVEN, including this one.
Did somebody say “previous-generation Suzuki Swift”? New Celerio money is actually plenty to get you into a second-generation used Swift, which is a sound buy by any measure: it’s already one of NZ’s most popular cars new or used.
But wait, there’s more!
That $16k will actually get you a Swift Sport, which will surely take you to a happy place. It’ll be a 2012-17 model and remember there’s one big decision to make: the manual (harder to find) or the auto, which was a CVT in this generation.
This silver one is listed on DRIVEN for $13,999. For sale in Waikato, it has 118,000km indicated and aftermarket wheels. Click here to check it out.
Winter is on the way, which means wet roads and having to drive the family around a lot more. With the rise in domestic tourism in the wake of Covid-19, you might even be thinking about a ski holiday.
So what you need is an all-wheel drive (AWD) SUV to keep you attached to the road and get you up the mountain. There are loads of SUVs in the $20k bracket (and even some below), but to get AWD you’re up in the thirties.
In fact, Suzuki’s $33,990 Vitara and S-Cross are the cheapest new AWD SUVs you can buy (not counting Jimny, which is part-time 4WD and more mountain-goat than SUV), so they’re noted. But to prevent this being a Suzuki-fest we’ve chosen the $35,990 Honda HR-V AWD.
The AWD HR-V has a smaller engine than the 2WD models, but it has the traction and all HR-Vs have Honda’s brilliant Magic Seat system, making it an astonishingly practical small SUV.
You can’t go wrong with a Toyota, right? The Highlander is arguably NZ’s favourite ski-wagon thanks to its popularity on rental fleets through the years; it’s also a cavernous seven-seat family wagon with a creamy-smooth V6 engine that’s very reliable (‘cause we mentioned it’s a Toyota, right)?
For that money you might have to look hard to get a post-2017 facelift model, which we like for its Lexus-derived 3.5-litre V6 and eight-speed gearbox; but even the previous version (pictured) is a swish way to cart the clan. This 2015 example currently on site is listed for $35,990, with a handy 67,800km on the clock.
It’d be fair to say that the Great Wall brand isn’t as aspirational as Ford or Toyota in the ute world.
But it isn’t as expensive, either: in fact, the Steed 4x2 petrol is NZ’s cheapest double-cab pickup truck at the current special price of $22,990. That undercuts the mainstream Ranger or Hilux models by a huge margin – and all with tub liner, sports bar and a 100,000km/three year warranty.
Here's one currently listed in Auckland with delivery kilometres, some aftermarket Avanti wheels, and more.
Can you really drive NZ’s best-selling model (and arguably one of its most aspirational) for the price of a new Great Wall?
Yes you can. It’ll probably be a pre-2010 model and expect mileage well into six figures, but some of the examples on DRIVEN listings at this price point actually look pretty sharp. If you’re prepared to compromise on the double-cab thing for a SuperCab or even single, you might do even better.
Here's one such example; a 2014 Ranger SuperCab listed on site for $22,995. Equipped with Ford's popular 3.2-litre five-cylinder, it has 155,470km on the clock. Click here to check it out.