Who needs an SUV? Here's 10 of NZ's best family cars for $30k
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There's no denying it; SUVs have taken over the private-car market in recent times. But despite the mass buy-in and advocacy for vehicles of the taller kind, there are still plenty of people out there who prefer sedans and station wagons.
They might be less popular these days, but there's certainly merit to buy cars from these seemingly forgotten genres. They're often much better on fuel, much better feeling to drive, and just as practical as an SUV in day-to-day life. So with that in mind, here's 10 great examples for those on the lookout for a new family wagon for $30,000 — as listed here on Driven.
For years the Ford Mondeo lived in the shadow of its Aussie cousin, the Falcon. But, the latter flew the coop a few years ago now, leaving the Mondeo to rule the sedan and wagon roost (bird puns. Did you like that?).
Not that there was much wrong with the Mondeo anyway. The current model is a sweetheart to drive, with a well-balanced chassis and sharp steering. Station wagons have buckets of room, while the sedan models are actually 'liftbacks' — meaning an enormous aperture for throwing bikes, chilly bins, and shopping into.
The somewhat ageing nature of the Mondeo means that reasonably new, low-kilometre models can be found quite easily at around the $30k ballpark. Take the above, for example. It is a high-spec Titanium diesel model, featuring full leather upholstery, Sony audio, larger wheels, a standard body-kit, and just 95 delivery kilometers on the odometer. It's for sale currently for just over $30,000 in Auckland. Click here to check it out.
Alternatively, you can save a few bob and get this (admittedly slightly newer) lower-spec Ambiente model. Click here to check it out.
Plenty of options in this segment explore hybrid tech. But, few come with quite as robust a resume in the field as Toyota and its electrified Camry.
With a new Camry model landing here just a few years ago, late iterations of the previous-generation car are now an excellent buy. Among them is this low-kilometres 2018 sedan, listed in Auckland.
The 2.5-litre hybrid powertrain is among the most bulletproof in the business, and is supported by plenty of equipment and loads of room front and rear. The majority of Camrys of this vintage underneath the prescribed $30k ceiling will be GL models like this one pictured above. It in particular was produced right at the end of this Camry generation run, and has just 35,886km on the clock. Click here to check it out.
Alternatively, you could also angle for a top-spec Atara model. These come with added leather, electrics, larger wheels, and more. For one to fit under a $30,000 budget it would need to have relatively high kilometres. Or, you could just save a wee bit more and splurge on this Mount Wellington model with a mere 17,000km on the clock.
The stock decision you would think in this case would be to look at Subaru Outbacks. Indeed, they are a proven workhorse in their field and there's plenty of sharp examples on Driven — like this one-year-old, 22,835km example for just $35,990.
However, we've got the oddly named Subaru Levorg on our mind instead. Spoiler alert; we just had a drive in the latest version, of which a road test is scheduled in the pipeline. The Outback is undoubtedly the more capable car of the pair in rural areas, and comes with a more commodious boot space. But the Levorg nips it back with a sharper, more modern design inside and out. Plus it's a neater car to drive, and there is very little cost in terms of space when comparing them back-to-back. And, it still comes with Subaru's tried and true all-wheel drive system.
There's lots of sensible Levorgs listed on Driven, but it was this example that caught our eye. Slotting in just under budget, it comes drizzled in handsome STI kit, with leather bucket seats, adaptive cruise, and a body-kit among its other features. Click here to check it out.
When it comes to 'fast wagons', few manufacturers can boast the credibility that Audi has. And for those wanting value, the fourth generation S4 Avant is a solid bet.
The supercharged 3.0-litre engine coupled with Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive makes this a sleeper rocketship — ideal for taking on the track day at 1pm before picking up the kids at 3pm. That Quattro system not only gives the S4 plenty of off-the-line bite, but it also provides lots of stability in the corners. Particularly during inclement conditions.
This particular S4 comes with a two-tone leather interior, and 87,967km on the clock. It's listed in Auckland for $28,995 and is one of the few S4s out there on offer in blue. Click here to check it out or alternatively check out this silver example in New Lynn with similar kilometres but a much lower price.
Wanting something European, but also a bit more modern than that Audi or any similar vintage Mercedes-Benz or BMW? Well, Skodas are well worth a try these days.
For those who don't know, many Skodas share their parts with Volkswagen and Audi products, since they all fly under the same corporate umbrella. So subsequently, this sharp black Octabia RS wagon utilises a de-tuned — but still rather potent — 169kW version of the same turbocharged four-cylinder engine that you'd find under the bonnet of the Golf GTI.
It sits a smidge outside of budget, but it comes generously equipped with leather, bucket seats, sport suspension, roof rails, and just 57,500km on the clock. Click here to check it out.
Here's something from out of left field.
While most of the rest of the cars on this list are traditional medium-to-large five-seater cars, here is a car that is in most cases a hatchback. But, the new Kia Cerato has plenty of tricks up its sleeve.
The biggest factor is that it has an enormous boot and truckloads of room for rear-mounted passengers — more than enough to rival some of the cars here. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder in this standard EX model isn't anything to crow about, but standard tech like adaptive cruise, heated seats, faux-leather seats, and Apple Carplay/Android Auto are nonetheless impressive. And, unlike everything else here, it's a brand new car priced under $30k.
Click here to check it out, or if you want something with a little more zest look up the quicker Cerato GT. Shop around with the current deals on the Cerato, and you should be able to find plenty for around the $35,000 mark — like this delivery-mile model in Tauranga. It's worth spending the extra for that turbocharged 1.6-litre engine and all the other minor improvements.
From a South Korean hatch to possibly the most stylish car and cheapest car here. Like Skodas, Volvos are exceptional second-hand value in New Zealand. Although naturally parts and service support will likely be more expensive down the line than with a more common Japanese car.
Still, this red V60 is quite the head-turner. Particularly given that it comes fitted with Volvo's R-Design package, which includes a trick set of wheels and a few alternative body highlights. The turbocharged 1.6-litre makes a punchy 132kW/240Nm, and claims 7.5L/100km in efficiency in the process.
And, being a Volvo, know that it'll be safe as houses in a crash too, with the stuff you'd expect (ABS brakes, stability control and the like) supported by things like rain-sensing window wipers, adaptive cruise control, lane deviation warning, and more. This particular car is priced at $18,995, and has just 40,100km on the clock. Click here to check it out, or click here to check out a newer, more subtle V60 Cross Country.
The 'new' Holden Commodore has had a mixed wrap from the brand's faithful, but — we'll keep saying it — it's a bloody good car. Pumped with tech, solid driving dynamics, handsome looks, surprising space ... they're a car you've got to have a steer of first. Trust us.
That said, there's some advantages to being a bit underrated. And at the moment, it's an excellent time to be buying a ZB Commodore. Plenty of entry-level LT delivery kilometer models are currently on special nationwide for under $30,000, which is incredible value given their original retail of over $40,000.
However, among those LTs are a handful of gems like the above turbocharged 2.0-litre RS Liftback. It comes with the larger wheels and body-kit, plus extra goodies inside including sports seats, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and more. There are a few handy wagons also around, including this incredibly cheap $24,995 2018 Sportwagon, but this RS with 19,000km takes the cake. Click here to check it out.
Okay, fine. We had to put a V8 one in too.
For nearly the same money, you can get a V8 Commodore specified in quite a rare fashion. This clean VF carries 80,902km on its odometer, and comes fitted with the 6.0-litre L77 naturally aspirated V8. It's also an SS-V model, which grants larger wheels and some extra kit inside. Perhaps most interestingly, though, is that this isn't an automatic. It's actually a 6-speed manual. This combination will make it a sought-after car down the line.
You may not get great mileage in this thing while taking the kids to school, but you'll have a lot of fun on the way. Click here to check it out.
A V8 Commodore is legendary, but if there's one car that embodies this list best then it's probably the Mazda 6. Material quality, handling abilities, looks, and practicality are all among their key attributes. Current-generation 'Sixes' can be had quite cheaply, thanks to a steady flow of Japanese imports. However, two of the best we could find were New Zealand new models.
The first is a 'Deep Crystal Blue' mid-spec GSX wagon fitted with the common 2.5-litre petrol engine. Based in Waikato with 63,603km on the clock, it sneaks under budget at $27,990. Click here if that sounds of interest.
The other is pictured above; a Soul Red sedan. It's a Limited, which was the top spec from the period. That means leather upholstery with red stitching, wood on the dash, larger wheels, and more. Curiously, this model comes fitted with the relatively rare 2.2-litre diesel, meaning plenty of torque and fuel-sipping abilities. Click here to check it out.