RACQ technical officer Russell Manning advises what you can expect for your money on used cars.
$3000 to $5000
Few dealers operate in this segment, so look to private sales, and all the potential problems that come with them. There are no stand-outs in this segment.
Buy the best you can find for the money. Steer clear of unusual, unpopular and modified vehicles, as they're more likely to cost more to keep on the road.
$5000 to $7500
Many dealers specialise in this bracket. Look for cars that are popular and have a good reputation, for example Corolla, Pulsar, Lancer for small cars, and Commodore, Falcon, Camry for large cars.
Beware of vehicles that have travelled big distances, so look carefully. Bigger, less fuel-efficient cars are less popular these days and, depending on your circumstances, may be a good buy. Larger cars are often more durable.
$7500 to $10,000
There'll be no shortage of cars in this bracket. Again, large cars should be attractively priced due to fuel prices, but you'll also find a range of quality Japanese small vehicles and plenty from Korean makers. Take your time selecting and pick the best your money will buy.
$10,000 to $12,000
There should be no difficulty finding a quality used car in this range. There will be plenty of Commodores, Falcons, Camrys and Magnas, as well as the full range of mid and small-sized cars.
Consider putting in a few thousand dollars more and moving into an attractively priced new small car.
New cars to $15,000
All these are in the light car category. Suzuki Alto is a great little car starting from $11,790 plus onroad costs. Holden's Barina Spark starts from $12,490 while Honda Jazz starts from $14,990. The recently released Volkswagen Up starts from $13,990.