Nothing can match the excitement of buying your first new car. Some of us are lucky enough to get hand-me-downs from parents during teenagehood to get to school and back. Others pulled their savings together to get an old dunger which has fond memories but fell apart and had to go to the tip.
Whether this is your first car or first new car, we’ve collected ten for a variety of different needs, based on reliability, low up-front cost and running costs and also equipped with the features that matter to this generation. In no particular order, check out our top 10 best first cars on sale in Australia in 2018:
Audi’s most compact car distills the aggressive, premium aesthetic that makes Audi such an aspirational brand into the most compact and city-friendly package of any German prestige brand. Not only does it have the style on the outside, but the interior is every millimetre an Audi, with its soft-touch materials and eye catching design. A touch screen multi-media interface gives you a feeling of gravitas absent from any other light car. The new 1.0-litre turbo three-cylinder engine is a brilliant unit and an entry price of $26,990 for the 1.0 Sportback is scarcely believable for the baby Audi.
The compact Mazda2 is super responsive, awesome to drive and tech savvy in a way most small cars aren’t. It has a sporty character that runs deep form its exterior styling to its cockpit-like interior, to the calibration of its automatic gearbox and its slick-shifting six-speed manual. It is truly a joy to drive and proven to be a reliable, affordable to maintain small car.
Toyota’s got the market cornered when it comes to reliability and ease of maintenance. Its capped price servicing levels are among the industry’s lowest and there is just something about the way a Toyota is screwed together that puts it above many other brands. The Yaris recently received a facelift and now features a cute snub-nose to give it more character than it used to have.
With a new 1.4-litre engine, a CVT gearbox replacing the ancient four-speed automatic and a touch-screen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the five star ANCAP rated Holden Spark is the perfect city car for those who value vibrant styling and excellent features that take the distraction away from mobile phone functionality on the run.
The fresh-faced Hyundai Kona is a boldly styled and sporty little SUV that condenses the benefits of high-riding SUV style into a compact and safe body shell. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as wireless phone charging are standard, so it has you covered on the connectivity front. Available autonomous emergency braking means nasty rear-end bingles could be a thing of the past.
Kia’s entry level five-door hatch is fantastically well-equipped, with a 7.0-inch touch-screen, reversing camera with dynamic guidelines, a suite of airbags, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cruise control and power windows on all four doors. While it might lack the outright style and finesse of its most direct rival, the Holden Spark, its value equation and seven year warranty are undeniable drawcards.
Toyota HiLux Workmate
If you’re a young tradie looking for a trusty and stylish new ute, the HiLux remains one of the best choices, as discussed in our Top 10 cheapest new utes on sale in Australia. The Workmate is no longer a bare-bones ute with wind-up window and manual locking, it comes equipped with all the convenience you could possibly need, with the added benefit of a potential tax advantage to ABN holders.
While not brilliant in the ANCAP stakes with a three star rating, the $18,990 APV is one of the cheapest ways to get yourself a work van without having to dip into the used car market or your profits. While mechanically basic with a 1.6-litre engine and five-speed manual, the Indonesian made APV has an impressive 810kg payload with a whopping 3400L of usable volume. Adding to this is Suzuki’s high score on recent reliability surveys, as detailed in our Top 10 most reliable new cars feature.
The all-new Swift was recently launched with a lighter body, more safety features and some class firsts including adaptive cruise control that can follow the vehicle ahead and brake when it gets too close. The touch screen, where equipped, features satellite navigation, smartphone connectivity including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and reversing camera. The pick for now is the 1.0 GLX model until the fun Swift Sport arrives some time in 2018, as featured in our Top 10 sports cars coming in 2018 feature.
You can’t deny the Mirage’s value factor and while 50kW isn’t going to win any races, it is more than adequate for handling the daily grind. The Mirage features a vibrant range of colours and a five star ANCAP rating and Bluetooth connectivity. Soon an upgrade might be on the way to add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to Australia’s cheapest new car. It’s a real surprise package, if your expectations are reasonably low.
This one is fresh to the market, so an untested quantity as far as reliability goes, but it is backed with a seven year warranty and Chinese-made cars seem to have come a long way. The compact SUV features fresh styling and a biggest-in-class 8.0-inch touch-screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as appealing graphics. The latest safety features contribute to a five star ANCAP rating, which might see this car exceed sales expectations. A definite wildcard but an interesting choice nonetheless.