So you’ve read our car buying tips so far and still just really want someone to tell you a good, reliable car to get you from A – B.
With the selection we have this can be a daunting task, but if you stick to a few basics it really shouldn't be. These vehicles are purely our opinion and good car buying are by no means limited to just these models, but if you're really stuck you'll find some good buys in this lot.
For the young driver:
1: Toyota Corolla: Boring, but easy to drive, superb reliability and affordable operating costs make the largest selling car on earth the obvious choice as a first time buy. 2001 - 2004 models should be in the $7500 - $10,000 bracket. It'll facilitate comfortable open road use but look for higher spec models will offer side and possibly curtain airbags.
2: Nissan Tiida: At the upper end of the price bracket, but good buying thanks to fleet sales and austere interiors driving prices down. Renault safety (excellent) but Nissan engineering makes for a safe and reliable combo. Too expensive? Nissan Pulsar / Sentra still a dependable Corolla alternative.
3:Toyota Yaris / Vitz: Japanese imported models Vitz, NZ New models Yaris. Should be able to nab a 2006 model for this price bracket. Just plain simple motoring with dependable engineering and affordable maintenance. Side / curtain airbags were options on some models, look for these versions to maximise value for money and safety.
4: Honda Jazz / Fit: Japanese imported models badged Fit, NZ New models badged Jazz. Either way, a reliable, safe and economical small car with amazing SUV-rivalling cargo space. Some NZ models came with standard swivelling seats for less mobile passengers.
5: Ford Mondeo: Hit hard with depreciation when new, makes affordable second hand buying. Brilliant handling car with excellent family practicality. Models from late 2004offer good safety features throughout and improved interior quality. No cambelt keeps service costs down.
6: Toyota Camry: Bland, but superb value for money. Typical Toyota reliability and affordable servicing, Sportivo models also quite fun to drive. Shop around and haggle you may find a base model of the newer 2006 version for the $10k budget.
7: Ford Falcon: The more cost effective of the Aussie sixes. Nothing wrong with the Holden though if that's where your allegiances lie. Aim for the BA or BF models with lower mileage and when looked after they will last a long time. Brilliant chassis and basic straight six engine for easy repairs.
8: Nissan Maxima: A 2005 Maxima showing under 120,000km, for less than $10? Remarkable, but true. A nice, neutral handling car with plenty of grunt and comfort. Worth checking out.
9: MX-5: One of the best driver's cars in history, don't let anyone tell you differently. It's not the most popular convertible on earth for no good reason. Cheap, reliable and fun.
10: Toyota Celica MR-S: Not as good as the MX-5 in terms of chassis dynamics, but still a pretty stylish wee convertible. Tried and true Toyota running gear.