Car Reviews Australia
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What's in this guide?
- How do Finder car reviews work?
- Read our car reviews
- Or search by
- How can I use Finder's car reviews to compare cars?
- What are hands-on reviews?
- What types of cars are there?
- Buying a car? A car broker could help you save money
- How should you choose a car?
- Mistakes people make when picking a car
- Options to finance your next car
Finder car reviews help you cut through the petrolhead jargon and understand what a vehicle is really like. Our goal is to publish independent, unbiased, expert car analysis, so when you come to buy a new vehicle, you've got all the key information you need.
How do Finder car reviews work?
Our comparison car reviews are like snapshots of a vehicle, with the thoughts of three to five motoring journalists merged into one concise guide. You'll save time by getting a thoroughly researched, easy to understand, yet extensive overview of a vehicle. To assist you in creating a shortlist of cars, you can quickly weigh up your options using the Finder Score (a mean average of the analysed reviews), as well as jumping to the verdict section.
We only reference high quality, established and well-respected motoring outlets like CarAdvice, WhichCar, CarsGuide, Motoring, Drive, Car Showroom and Practical Motoring.
We also strive to cut through all that unnecessary car lingo and tropes, like the irrelevant assessments of how plastic-sounding the interior plastics are when you tap them, meaning you have all the facts you need and none of the unimportant fluff.
What is the Finder Score?
The Finder Score is a combination of the ratings given by each of the included expert car reviewers. It's calculated by using a mean average. On the Finder car review page, you'll see ratings broken down (sometimes the majority will rate a car highly, while one reviewer might mark it down) as well as the Finder Score to help you make your decision.
Read our car reviews
Or search by
How can I use Finder's car reviews to compare cars?
Our mission is to make buying a new or used car as hassle free as possible. Finder's car reviews are designed to help you quickly compare car models. We cover everything from hatchbacks to luxury SUVs.
Each review has a Finder Score – this is an aggregate of expert ratings for each car, sourced from respected reviewers across multiple motoring websites. That means you don't need to spend hours searching for the latest car reviews and ratings online because we've brought together all the essential information you need in one place, making it simple to do a quick comparison.
Every Finder car review also features an in-depth look at the crucial features of each model, including:
- Variants available
- Engine and transmission
- Performance and fuel consumption
- Exterior styling
- Interior inclusions
- The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) safety rating and included safety technologies
We hope you'll find these reviews helpful and informative as you search for a new vehicle.
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What are hands-on reviews?
Finder hands-on reviews are written by our resident car tester, Alex Jeffs. With these reviews, he has physically driven the model in question. Alex has tested dozens of new cars, all around the country.
These tests give you a first-hand account of how the cars fare when driven on (and sometimes off) public roads around Australia.
Latest car news
What types of cars are there?
Looking for a new car but don't know which size or body style you need? Here's a little explainer of the most common vehicle types:
- Hatchbacks. A city-friendly, compact passenger car, hatchbacks feature a rear boot lid that opens upwards so you can access the cargo area, which is known as a hatch and this is where they get their name. Hatchbacks are versatile vehicles, well-suited to family buyers, couples or solo motorists. The hatchback segment is broken down into different sizes:
- Micro hatchbacks, like the Kia Picanto or the Mitsubishi Mirage, are well suited to recently qualified or young drivers. A major selling point is the diminutive engines, which make these runabouts fun to drive, but also extremely economical.
- Light cars, like the popular Mazda2 or Toyota Yaris, have more interior room than a micro hatch, but still have relatively pocket-sized exterior dimensions, making these ideal for anyone who lives in an urban area. Parking should be a doddle with one of these scaled-down models.
- Small cars are a step up in size from the smaller hatches, to a point where you could fit five adults in the car while having space for a baby stroller or some suitcases in the boot. The best-selling example is the Toyota Corolla (which is available as a hybrid model), the Hyundai i30 (which has a super-long seven-year warranty) or the Mazda3. In this category, you'll also find performance variants, known as hot hatches. The most famous is probably the VW Golf GTI, although Hyundai's i30N is quickly establishing itself as an important contender.
- Sedans. Sedans are larger passenger vehicles where the roof tapers down to meet the boot, which then extends further from the main body. Unlike a hatchback, the boot in a sedan is separate from the passenger cabin, so you typically can't just reach over to grab something the same way you would in a hatch. Sedans are a popular choice with business persons as well as families as they provide more space and often additional engine power over hatchbacks. The best-selling sedan is the Toyota Camry, followed by the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Holden Commodore (wagon on test).
- Wagons. When you want a car that can do it all, including shifting people and stuff, the wagon has traditionally been the go-to vehicle. Wagons are usually based on a sedan model, with the rear roofline extended, creating a larger interior and boot space. Wagons are well-suited to family demands, but offer up the additional practicality of having a near-van-like cargo-carrying capacity with the rear seats flipped forward. Recently, Alex Jeffs drove the BMW 330i Touring M Sport wagon.
- SUVs. SUV stands for sports utility vehicle. SUVs are taller, offering a better view of your surroundings while packing a decent boot. Historically, SUVs tended to have AWD (all-wheel-drive) or 4WD (four-wheel-drive), but with their surge in popularity as everyday vehicles, manufacturers are constantly launching new models with 2WD (two-wheel-drive) and more city-oriented features. SUVs are quickly replacing the family wagon, thanks to the availability of small, medium and large models, as well as their vastly improved fuel efficiency. SUVs are highly practical, making them the Swiss Army knife of the car world. Popular models include the Mazda CX-5 and CX-3 and Toyota's RAV4 (available as a hybrid), Prado or LandCruiser.
- People movers. When you need to shift more than five people regularly, you'll want a people mover. These are often based on commercial vans, though not always, with added passenger comforts and conveniences. If you frequently need to transport your kids and their friends or just have a large family, a people mover is the sensible choice.
- Utes. Otherwise known as a utility, a ute is a vehicle that has a passenger cab up the front and a cargo tray or load bed on the back. Available in 4x2 or 4x4 variants, utes are also built in three body types – single cab, dual cab and extra cab. Single cabs have two seats, dual cabs (also called crew cabs) will have up to five, while extra (or king) cabs usually have two seats, with a longer passenger compartment for storing tools. Tradies and farmers love utes for their power to tow heavy trailers, their load-carrying capacity and the ability to take them off-road. Nowadays, they're also becoming increasingly popular with drivers who wants a vehicle that can double as both a day-to-day commuter and something to help them escape the city on the weekends, packing all the latest safety and tech you'd expect from a luxury car at the same time.
- Coupés. Coupés are shorter than sedans (the French word coupé means "cut"), featuring a fixed roof, two doors and a long sloping rear end. Coupés are often high-powered performance or luxury vehicles, which makes them popular with motoring purists, while the lack of interior space means they're usually only suited to solo occupants or couples.
- Convertibles. Convertibles are cars with fold-down or detachable roofs, allowing them to transform from a sealed cabin to an open top at the press of a button. These types of vehicles are usually sports cars and prove popular with driving enthusiasts, thanks to the exhilarating sensation of fast-moving air and exposure to ambient sounds.
Buying a car? A car broker could help you save money
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How should you choose a car?
A combination of factors you need to consider when choosing a car include:
- Your needs. Take some time to think about exactly what you want in a vehicle. How many people do you really need to transport? How important is cargo space? Do you prefer petrol or diesel? Is having a sedan, hatchback or SUV body style important to you? What safety tech do you desire? Are you after a luxury model? By putting together a wish list of everything you must have, you'll develop a much clearer picture of the type of car you want.
- Your budget. Price will always be a deciding factor for most buyers, so you'll need to work out exactly how much you can afford to pay for your car.
- How it performs on the road. How does the car handle on the road? Is it well suited to the type of driving you're most likely to do? If you spend a lot of time on long-distance journeys, is the car relaxed and economical at higher speeds? Does the engine have enough grunt? Does it have any shortcomings? Take a thorough test drive and read plenty of reviews to find the answers to these questions.
- How much it costs to run. The price tag on the window is only one part of the cost of car ownership; you also need to consider running expenses like fuel, rego, car insurance and servicing. Check the car's fuel efficiency figures, get insurance quotes and find out how much the dealer charges for servicing. Some cars, like 4x4s used in harsh environments or performance models, require more frequent and extensive maintenance.
- Warranty. Check with the manufacturer to find out how many years or how many kilometres are covered by their factory warranty. Many car companies now also offer capped-price servicing schemes on new cars, allowing you to lock-in the cost of maintaining your vehicle in the years to come. Also, find out if roadside assistance is included.
- Reputation. Look online to find out about any issues other owners have had with the same model. Ask mechanics if they see a particular model coming in a lot more than other vehicles. Have other owners experienced any major problems? Check the manufacturer's website for any recalls they have issued. Have any issues been fixed under warranty without hassle? Checking the average resale values is also a good idea, helping you to minimise losses arising from depreciation.
Mistakes people make when picking a car
Be careful not to fall into these common traps when buying a new car:
- Focusing too much on price. Many buyers tend to focus too much on "getting a good deal" or avoiding getting ripped off when shopping for a new car. Rather than obsessing about the price, the most important factor to consider is whether or not you're buying a good car that's a perfect fit for your needs.
- Getting talked into a bad deal on finance. Costly showroom finance deals are a common trap for car buyers, so it's important to keep a cool head when assessing your finance options. Don't feel pressured into accepting anything, make sure to read all terms and conditions closely and shop around for the best offer.
- Not test driving multiple cars. The only way to work out whether a car is suited to your personal preferences is to take it for a comprehensive test drive. The only way to narrow your choice down is to get behind the wheel of multiple vehicles and see which one you like the most. Online research is very useful when buying a car but it will only get you so far. Also, try to get a car to test drive over a weekend, giving you the most amount of time to get to know a prospective new vehicle.
- Being afraid to say no. You've finally negotiated the dealer down to a great price on your car, but the haggling is a long way from being over. Now you need to prepare for the dealer to try and up-sell you a whole heap of extras, from window tinting and fabric care products to insurance. Worn-down buyers often find themselves pressured into accepting. Don't be afraid to say no if you don't need or want any of these add-ons.
- Being afraid to walk away. Car dealers use all kinds of sales tactics and techniques to pressure you to buy. If anything doesn't seem right about a deal, be prepared to walk away. Not only is this a strong negotiating tool, but it'll also ensure that you don't end up committing to the wrong car. The sales process is a business transaction; treat it like you would any other.
- Judging a book by its cover. While a car's exterior styling and design is important, don't forget about its primary purpose – transporting you from A to B. Many people have bought great-looking cars, only to find that they are poorly engineered or impractical.
Options to finance your next car
Below are a number of secured car loans currently available in Australia. There are many other types of new car finance though. Make sure to read our car loans guide to ensure you are picking the right financing solution for your situation.
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