Powered by
  • WheelsWheels
  • 4X4 Australia4X4 Australia
  • Street MachineStreet Machine
  • Trade Unique CarsTrade Unique Cars

Should you buy Australia’s most popular cars?

By Andy Enright, 13 Oct 2019 Advice

Should you buy Australia’s most popular cars?

The ten-second verdicts on the top ten

Want the no-frills, straight-to-the-point info on the ten best selling cars in Australia* but don’t want to wade through pages of road tests? Look no further. Let’s count ‘em down

10. Mitsubishi ASX

Mitsubishi ASX

VERDICT: A compact SUV of decidedly modest talent, but don’t underestimate the pull of something that’s reliable, fairly spacious and extremely cheap. Walk into a Mitsubishi dealer with cash and you’ll get an outrageous deal.
PICK OF THE RANGE: Going large on an upspec ASX defeats the point. The $25,490 CVT ES model is the go.

IN A WORD: Worthy

9. Nissan X-Trail

Nissan X-Trail ST-L

VERDICT: Big, clunky and almost bulletproof, this seven-seater isn’t the last word in slick detailing, but it does all of the basics well. Keen drivers or those who appreciate a modern interior aesthetic might want to look elsewhere. 
PICK OF THE RANGE: Avoid the base 106kW manual model. It’s just there to get footfall into dealers with its sticker price. Instead step up to the $32,490 ST 7-seat. Even if you don’t think you need seven seats, a lot of used buyers will.

IN A WORD: Competent


8. Mitsubishi Triton

Mitsubishi Triton

VERDICT: This one’s cheap for a reason. Driven back to back with something like a Ranger or an Amarok it feels a generation behind. Added safety a welcome inclusion and 2.4-litre diesel is tough as old boots.
PICK OF THE RANGE: The $40,790 GLX ADAS is the one to pick. Just don’t even think about paying forty grand for one.

IN A WORD: Basic


7. Mazda CX-5 

Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport

VERDICT: Finally, we come to the first car on this list that’s there or thereabouts for class honours. The CX-5 has long been a Wheels favourite and there’s not a bad one in the whole range. More space and gear with this generation car and the interior shames some vehicles at twice the price.
PICK OF THE RANGE: The 2.5-litre Maxx Sport at $37,870 is a lot of car for the money. The 140kW turbo engine, all-wheel drive and a slick auto ‘box make a winning combo.

IN A WORD: Polished


6. Mazda 3

Mazda 3 sedan

VERDICT: Mazda has pushed the 3 upmarket and sales are nosediving as a result. That doesn’t make it a bad car; it makes it a different car and will appeal to a more select crowd. The styling has proven surprisingly divisive though.

PICK OF THE RANGE: Sit on your cash and wait for the all-new SkyActiv-X engine to make its debut.

IN A WORD: Intriguing


5. Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

VERDICT: The RAV4 was, for a very long time, the exemplar of bland competence. This latest model is genuinely impressive and the Hybrid models earn a solid recommendation from us. A class act and more than deserving of the top-selling SUV spot.

PICK OF THE RANGE: $35,140 for the GX 2.5 hybrid is money very well spent. With 155kW on tap it’s almost hot hatch quick yet still returns 4.7L/100km. Champ.

IN A WORD: Resurgent


4. Hyundai i30

Hyundai I30 hatch

VERDICT: We’ve got a lot of time for the Hyundai i30. It barely puts a foot wrong, although only the rocketship i30 N is truly tinged with greatness. The i30 has a solid five-year warranty, is easy to drive, has a much bigger boot than a Corolla and, if reliability surveys are anything to go by, is right up there amongst the most well-built hatches sold in Australia. 

PICK OF THE RANGE: The base models do a job as basic transport but the 150kW N Line auto at a nick under $30K is a genuinely delightful thing to drive. 

IN A WORD: Foolproof


3. Toyota Corolla

Toyota Corolla ZR Hatch

VERDICT: Further evidence of Toyota abandoning its lowest common denominator product development strategy. The latest Corolla is engaging to drive, looks great and is packed with safety gear. The boot is small though and the hybrids don’t really set our trousers on fire.

PICK OF THE RANGE: A $30,370 ZR-spec hatch features decent cabin appointments. Whatever you do, don’t let the dealer talk you into one of the previous-gen sedans.

IN A WORD: Sharp


2. Ford Ranger

Ford Ranger

VERDICT: It’s hard to believe quite how good the latest Ranger is. The Raptor is a thing of genius but it’s seriously heavy. If you’re not willing to fork out over $70K for this Baja-buster, there’s a lot of talent elsewhere in the range. The interior is typical unsexy Ford, but it all works and works well. And don’t turn your nose up at the 2.0-litre diesel – it’s notably punchier than the old 3.2-litre five.
PICK OF THE RANGE: A Raptor obviously. But in the real world, a 2.0 XLT at $59,390 would be our target.

IN A WORD: Underrated


1. Toyota Hilux

Toyota Hilux SR

VERDICT: Toyota’s ‘unbreakable legend’ is doing something very right to hold a clear lead in the #1 spot in August’s figures. Put simply, this is a nameplate that people trust. If you’d never heard of a Hilux, however, you might wonder what the fuss was all about. The interior’s nothing special, the engines are ho-hum and the ride quality is vexing. It’s certainly not a bad ute, but it’s certainly wouldn’t make the podium if we were compiling a list of the best dual cab contenders.
PICK OF THE RANGE: You’re not going to go too far wrong with an automatic SR at $48,640. But you’re certainly not going to be driving home with the best ute that $48,640 will buy.

IN A WORD: Resolute


*Based on VFACTS data for 08/19