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Best used cars for sale under $7000

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    The best used cars under $7000.

When you’re buying a house, the golden rule is position, position, position.

In cheap used car territory – around $7000 or so -- it’s condition, condition, condition.

Don’t be too worried about how many kilometres it’s got on the clock. If the car has its original, complete service book, that’s a better indication that you could be on to something good.

No matter how schmick the car looks, though, at this sort of money there are probably one or two expensive time bombs lurking within it. Unless you really know how to check a car out properly, get an independent mechanic to have a look at it before you sign up. A report might save you from a $7000 disaster.

LIGHT/SMALL CARS

TOYOTA COROLLA
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No other brand makes cars that keep on keeping on like Toyota, and a well maintained Corolla, of any vintage, is usually a trouble-free choice. I know of one that’s done more than 400,000 kilometres. You’re looking at a 2002-2003 hatch or sedan, probably base Ascent or Conquest grades, with the same 1.8-litre engine used in the current model, and a five speed manual or four speed automatic. You’ll get great fuel economy. It’s big enough for four, practical and comfortable. Try to find one with the passenger airbag/ABS brakes option..

TOYOTA COROLLA - see other Toyota Corolla verdicts

 

4 stars

Price when new: $23,890
Engine: 4 Cylinder, 1.8 Litre
Transmission: five-speed manual or four-speed automatic, front wheel drive
Outputs: 100kW/171Nm
Thirst: 7.7 / 100Km
 

MITSUBISHI LANCER 
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The Lancer is a basic, tough, reliable sedan (and wagon) that was heavily discounted when new, so you can pick up a relatively late-model (2005) base 2.0-litre ES for about $7000. That’s great value, especially if it’s got the ABS brakes/six airbags option.

MITSUBISHI LANCER - see other Mitsubishi Lancer verdicts
 

4 stars

Price when new: $21,990
Engine: 4 Cylinder, 2.0 Litre
Transmission: four-speed automatic, front wheel drive
Outputs: 92kw/173Nm
Thirst: 8.7 / 100Km
 

MAZDA 323
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You probably have to spend more than $7000 to get an early (2004) Mazda3, but its 2002-2003 323 predecessor is a blue-chip Japanese small car with similar virtues to a Corolla. There’s Protégé sedan and Astina hatch body styles, with a 1.8 litre engine, plus upmarket, sorta kinda sporty 2.0-litre SP20 variants.

MAZDA 323- see other Mazda 3 verdicts

 

3 stars

Price when new: $19,990
Engine: 4 Cylinder, 1.8 Litre
Transmission: five-speed Manual, Front Wheel Drive
Outputs: 92kw/163Nm
Thirst: 7.4 / 100Km
 

HONDA CIVIC
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The Civic is a favourite with older buyers, who are either too tight to pay for proper servicing, or fastidious about keeping their pride and joy in mint nick. If the seller proudly shows you the complete service book, buy the car. It will be a 2000-2002 GLi sedan or Vi hatch, with an economical 1.7-litre engine.

 

HONDA CIVIC- see other Honda Civic verdicts

 

 

3 stars

Price when new: $27,950
Engine: 4 Cylinder, 1.7 Litre
Transmission: four-speed Automatic, Front Wheel Drive
Outputs: 96kW/155Nm
Thirst: 7.3 / 100Km
 

HYUNDAI GETZ  
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I’ve included this because it was cheap as chips when new, so you can now pick up a 2005-2007 model for about $7000. Avoid the base S hatch; go for a 1.6-litre SX instead, which has ABS brakes as standard. Motoring associations rated the Getz as the car with the lowest running costs on the market.

HYUNDAI GETZ- see other Hyundai Getz verdicts

 

4 stars

Price when new: $16,490
Engine: 4 Cylinder, 1.6 Litre
Transmission: five-speed Manual, Front Wheel Drive
Outputs: 78kW/144Nm
Thirst: 6.2 / 100Km
 

MEDIUM CARS

Toyota Camry


Price when new: $30,990
Engine: 6 Cylinder, 3.0 Litre
Transmission: five-speed Manual
Outputs: 141kW/279Nm
Thirst: 9.9/100Km


Seriously, what else could I recommend above one of these? The Camry’s quality, durability and reliability are legendary. It might take a while, but eventually you will find a 2003 (introduced in September 2002) Altise or Ateva, the first of the 2.4-litre models, probably with a four speed automatic, though there are a few five-speed manuals around. There’s also an equally reliable 3.0-litre V6/four speed auto, which is usually slightly cheaper than the four cylinder, because that’s the car everybody wants. Camry’s a big five seater, with a huge boot. ABS brakes were optional on the base model, so check they’re fitted.

TOYOTA CAMRY- see other Toyota Camry verdicts

 

Mitsubishi Magna

Price when new: $32,710
Engine: 6 Cylinder, 3.5 Litre
Transmission: five-speed manual
Outputs: 155kW/316Nm
Thirst: 11.8/100Km



Not as bulletproof as a Camry, but there are still plenty of 2003-2005 models being used as daily drivers. The 3.5-litre V6 is smooth and powerful, but if the four speed automatic shifts slowly, or with a clunk, leave it alone. Go for the ES sedan, which has four airbags as standard.

MITSUBISHI MAGNA- see other Mitsubishi verdicts

 

Subaru Liberty

 

Price when new: $41,890
Engine: 4 Cylinder, 2.5 Litre
Transmission: four-speed automatic
Outputs: 115kW/223Nm
Thirst: 8.7/100Km
 


The safest car in its class at the time, the 2001-2002 Subaru Liberty sedan is available with 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre four cylinder engines, five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions, and all-wheel drive. This is an effective substitute for a traction/stability control system, especially in wet, slippery conditions.

SUBARU LIBERTY- see other Subaru verdicts

 

Mercedes-Benz C180/C200

Price when new: $53,000
Engine:  4 Cylinder, 1.8 Litre
Transmission: five-speed Automatic, Rear Wheel Drive
Outputs: 90kw/170Nm
Thirst: 8.0/100km



The W202 C Class, popular in the late 1990s, dates from an era when a Mercedes was over-engineered and built in Germany, to the world’s best quality and reliability standards. They’ve arguably gone backwards since. Choose from 1.8 and 2.0-litre four cylinder engines, both offering glacially slow performance.

MERCEDES-BENZ C180/C200 - see other Mercedes-Benz verdicts

 

LARGE CARS

Nissan Maxima

Price when new: $42,990
Engine: 6 Cylinder, 3.0 Litre
Transmission: Automatic, Front Wheel drive
Outputs: 157kW / 291Nm
Thirst: 8.6L/100Km

 

You’ll have to hunt one of these down, because they didn’t sell in big numbers, but a 2002-2003 Maxima is used car gold. At the time, owner satisfaction surveys done in secret by the car industry rated the Maxima as the best big, affordable sedan on the market. Its powerful 3.0-litre V6 was also regarded as one of the world’s best engines.

Build quality is light years ahead of any Falcodore, and the Maxima is luxuriously comfortable. Four airbags and ABS are standard. If you’re lucky, you’ll find an ST-R, with sunroof and 17-inch alloys. Ti also gets leather and side airbags.

NISSAN MAXIMA - see other Nissan Maxima verdicts

 

Toyota Avalon

Price when new: $43,990
Engine: 6 Cylinder, 3.0 Litre
Transmission: Automatic, Front Wheel Drive
Outputs: 145kW / 284Nm
Thirst: 8.5L / 100Km


This is basically a rebodied Camry with the 3.0-litre V6 engine and a four-speed automatic. At $7000, you’re probably looking at a 2002-2003 model, before the September 2003 MkIII facelift. If you can find one of those, though, it’s worth looking at because Toyota improved the brakes, ride and handling.

TOYOTA AVALON- see other Toyota Avalon verdicts

 

Ford Falcon

Price when new: $36,575
Engine: 6 Cylinder, 4.0 Litre
Transmission: Manual, Rear Wheel Drive
Outputs: 182kW / 380Nm
Thirst: 11.4L/100Km

 

We’re in BA territory here, from September 2002 to October 2004. The mighty Falcon is a more reliable old dunger than its Commodore equivalent, and the BA got the 4.0-litre six (with a shocking thirst), plus a four speed auto. Don’t buy a BA without traction control; the Fairmont also has side airbags.

FORD FALCON - see other Ford Falcon verdicts

 

Holden Commodore

 

Price when new: $35,950
Engine: 6 Cylinder, 3.8 Litre
Transmission: Manual, Rear Wheel Drive
Outputs: 152kW / 305Nm
Thirst: 8.0 / 100Km


Our $7000 limit bring us in at the 2001 VXII and 2002 VY Commodores, both with the primitive, hoarse and incontinent, but surprisingly economical, 3.8 litre V6. Ah, but you can also get the Gen III 5.7-litre V8. Nice, but be very, very careful. These things have dropped their guts in many a driveway.

HOLDEN COMMODORE- see other Holden Commodore verdicts

 

WAGONS

Subaru Liberty Outback 

Price when new: $38,290
Engine: 4 Cylinder, 2.5 Litre
Transmission: Manual, Four Wheel Drive
Outputs: 115kW / 223Nm
Thirst: 8.9 / 100Km


Liberty wagon engines and spex are as per the 2001-2002 sedans. The Liberty is unusual in that nearly every sedan variant is also available as a family freighter. Subaru sold heaps of wagons because, while some car makers still didn’t take safety seriously ten years ago, the Liberty’s four star ANCAP rating (the maximum at the time) made it the obvious choice for parents who wanted to make sure that their kids were properly protected in a crash. It’s not quite big enough to work as daily transport for three kids, but it’ll take two easily. The 2.0-litre engine is gutless, so try to find a 2.5. The Outback has higher clearance and awful plastic body trim.

SUBARU LIBERTY OUTBACK - see other Subaru Liberty Outback verdicts

 

Toyota Corolla

Price when new: $29,090                      
Engine: 4 Cylinder, 1.8 Litre
Transmission: Automatic, Front Wheel Drive
Outputs: 100kW / 171Nm
Thirst: 7.7 / 100Km


The Corolla wagon is now no more, which is a pity, because this 2002-2003 model was one of those cars that cleverly packed a big, useful interior into a compact body. The wagon’s 60/40 split fold rear seat folds down to make a completely flat floor space.

TOYOTA COROLLA - see other Toyota Corolla verdicts

 


Toyota Camry


Price when new: $34,165
Engine: 6 Cylinder, 3.0 Litre
Transmission: Automatic, Front Wheel Drive
Outputs: 141kW / 279Nm
Thirst: 8.7 / 100Km


Toyota stopped making the Camry wagon in 2002. The Kluger took over that role in 2003. There’s plenty of 2000-2002 Camry wagons out there, though, with bulletproof 2.2-litre four cylinder and 3.0-litre V6 engines. Find one with ABS brakes, which were optional on most variants. The 3.0V6 Touring is the gem.

TOYOTA CAMRY- see other Toyota Camry verdicts

 


Toyota Tarago

Price when new: $45,030
Engine: 4 Cylinder, 2.4 Litre
Transmission: Manual, Rear Wheel Drive
Outputs: 102kW / 208Nm
Thirst: 9.3 / 100Km

 

If you need seven or eight seats for $7000, you’re looking at a 1998-1999 Toyota Tarago GLi. Its 2.4-litre engine goes OK and doesn’t use huge amounts of juice. Find one with rear seat air con to keep the kids comfortable. The Getaway model has ABS and two airbags.

TOYOTA TARAGO - see other Toyota Tarago verdicts

 

 

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 70 comments

  • What about the best Fun car for under $7k?

    Mitch of Newcastle Posted on 08 April 2014 10:00am
  • Nothing special with Corolla plenty of people drive cars with over 400,000 km’s on them .

    Toyota want $700 for a power steering pump hose for a cressida, hardly cheap to repair

    Garry of Melbourne Posted on 31 March 2014 6:56pm
  • are second hand cars under $7000 from 2 years ago the same as the cars you’d find for that sort of coin now?

    Shenai of SA Posted on 23 March 2014 10:05pm
  • I have a 2001 Camry V6 Manual. I have had it from new. It has only ever had regular servicing. 212000 Kms and ultra reliable. Gets down to 7.2 litres/100 on country trips. Averages 10/100 around town. Silky smooth 1MZ-FE V6 actually was voted in the top 10 production engines by “Wards 10 best engines” (1997). Highly recommend the Camry V6.

    David of Kiama Posted on 21 March 2014 1:27pm
  • Toyotas, not many problems and if you do have problems cheap & easy to fix

    Matt of Meadowbank Posted on 17 March 2014 12:49pm
  • cant fault my 1991 Subaru Ladyboy,she’s got low mileage and just keeps on strong much better than a falc or commy

    Me Happy of Brisbane Posted on 13 March 2014 9:45am
  • Very helpful advice…I have a lower budget but have seen some of the above cars listed in my price range ($4000) would like to avoid finance and need a car to get me from A to B until Jan 2014…

    Leticia of Sydney Posted on 01 March 2013 6:29pm
  • “Spex” ... RU srius?

    ————————————————————————————————————————————————Yes, he is.

    l33t Posted on 12 February 2013 8:59pm
  • If you consider purchasing a toyota,you can also check on this site.They have many vehicles to choose from-whether new or preowned an will surely help you find the right Toyota to fit your budget.

    samantha lopez of los angeles,ca Posted on 25 January 2013 9:29pm
  • If u want a good reliable car, try and find a KJ Verada Xi wagon or Sedan, 2000-2002, have all the mod cons and seats are comfy, long drives no dramas, the Ei has sunroof and leather, even better…mine has 160,000k’s and serviced as the book and never misses a beat…plus old people own them, not thrashed…and you wont believe the options they have for a 10 year old car…..

    Lance of Geelong Posted on 14 January 2013 10:29am
  • eell i do not know about you , i own a sv6 manual ve ute ,but i bought it for when i retire from work,because i will not be able to borrow finance for a new car because the lending critia will change by then,to keep the milage down on this ute so it will see me out,i went and purchased a vt 3.8ltr auto sedan with a 174,000 ks on the clock for $1700, straight as,original and the rego was getting thin and a new screen and two new tyres was all it needed so all up it owes me about $3000,i have travelled nearly 10,000 ks since early october 2012 and its probably the best cheapie i eill ever buy,brilliant fuel economy,nice and comfy and its got more get up an go then the missus"s alloy tech vz,i rate this old vt about 4 and a half stars out of 5,yes i do work in the motor trade and i know what i am speaking about..

    happy as larry of urunga nsw Posted on 01 January 2013 10:30am
  • I like my Subaru’s - I own a 2007 Liberty which is bullet proof and still drives like new. Looks good and handles. However a brave person would go after an older used model unless it had an impecable service record and log books. It’s common knowledge that the boxer engines used in these cars do not cope with missed services (sludge) and as already stated by another reader you would want to ensure the AWD system is in good condition or your looking at dollars to fix down the road. I also recall the earlier series having head gasket issues. Personally I wouldn’t be throwing only 7k at a Subaru when there are other options on the table unless you must have the best safety features at this price point (which Subaru always have the goods).  Their a nice piece of engineering and can take some punishment but they need a history of regular servicing or I would look elsewhere!

    As for people claiming old commodores to be reliable - I think that’s more a case of luck than good design… would take a Jap car any day for reliability. There’s a reason these big aussie cars loose value drastically along with being everywhere. If it were me I would take a Ford over the athsmatic commo V6 though

    Andrew G of Sydney Posted on 27 December 2012 7:45pm
  • I have a 2001 TJ magna 3.5 V6

    jtw Posted on 16 December 2012 5:08pm
  • I don’t see the sense in buying an ageing Euro car when servicing and parts replacement is going to cost a small fortune. Usually folks buying in the low end of town, are not in a position to pay a premium for unanticipated repairs/parts replacement.

    Craig Posted on 12 December 2012 2:00pm
  • i have a 2002 mitisibishi magna solara, best used car i have bought yet. very reliable, cost me 3500 grand. have had it for 2 years no problems (fingers crossed) very under-rated the magnas. have never owned any from before this year, maybe thats why they get a bad wrap.

    astron 107, Posted on 11 December 2012 2:40am
  • I had a VY Commodore for 5 yrs and it was the most reliable car I ever owned never had to do a thing to it except for regular services.
    Have a 2002 Astra now as a 2nd car and it’s been great as well, excellent on petrol only thing is they can a bit pricey for timing belt changes but who cares I do it ince and never have to worry about it again the amount of km’s it gets driven a week.

    Wayne of Australia Posted on 18 November 2012 12:38pm
  • Anyone looking for a used car in under $10K, or any used car in fact, avoid the Holden Vectra, Astra, Barina. We had one Vectra and it caused none-top trouble. Had to have major service every 60K km to replace all the brakes including the rotor, pad, and the lot, timing belt. It cost us more than $3K for the 60K km service, then after that water pipe burst. Lots of repairs and parts done under warranty including the engine computer. An automobile association in our state told me that these cars are just not worth owning. Sold that lemon Vectra and bought a Corolla, nice to drive very economical and reliable.

    johnno Posted on 03 November 2012 12:35pm
  • Have had a couple of Fords, the current one is a series 2 EA has 660,000 klms, it has been a pretty reliable car. One tranny rebuild-auto 4 speed , a 3.9 replaced with a 4 litre and this motor has done 410,000. Just having the head gasket done, 2nd time. Daughter has a series 2 BF Falcon, nothing but issues, steering lock, busted @ 100,000 and paint has peeled off once and is starting to do it again. Apparently this not uncommon with these 2 issues. Son has a VY Calais 3.8 and hit has not missed a beat, done 170,000 klms and he drives it hard. The Commodore is a far better car these days, but both these big cars are good on fuel.

    David S. of South Aust. Posted on 02 November 2012 8:47pm
  • I have had an old 99 Camry(v6 Manual) for almost 8 years now.  Have never had to spend more than $200 on repairs on it in one go.

    mechanically perfect.  Cannot recommend these cars highly enough if you want an affordable car, with extremely low maintenance costs.  For a V6 the economy is good and performance pretty handy as well.  Lot of fun to drive.

    James Posted on 01 November 2012 10:48am
  • Well I have had 2 Corolla’s, a few Volvo 240s, a BA Futura and my current ride is a VT Commodore with 145 000 km and all the receipts and stamps in the right places.

    My VT uses no more than my 240s and 2001 Corolla in fuel, and I am not digging my hand in my pocket for repairs like the Ford, which I spent $4000 in 6 months on a 150 000 km car.

    My parts for the Commodore are cheaper than Toyota and the Volvo parts were cheaper than Toyota too.

    Out of all the cars I owned, for small I’d recommend a 98 to 01 Corolla and for large cars I’d suggest the Commodore VT or VX. If you’re after an inexpensive euro car, it’s Volvo 240 or 740 all the way, just be religious with your servicing and make sure you have all the receipts when you buy one, and avoid the 16 Valve models.

    Paul0075 of Central Western NSW Posted on 24 October 2012 5:49pm
  • Bill, good call on the Toyota’s. My first car, an ‘82 Corolla did 386,000 klms before being in a write off accident. Never topped up coolant and being oly 1300cc had it at full throttle most of the time. Never a day’s trouble. Contrast that with the $39,000 VW series 6 Golf I bought brand new for my wife; 7 warrantly claims in the first 12 months. There’s a good reason why people are prepared to buy ‘bland’ Toyotas.

    Steve of Melbourne Posted on 05 October 2012 1:37pm
  • Like my mechanic says, if you can’t afford a new Merc, you certainly can’t afford a used one (based on repairs). There are plenty of good Mitsubishi cars around.BF Falcons are also very good cars, just watch out for rust before you buy and put it ion gas

    Andy of qld Posted on 04 October 2012 4:24pm
  • Bill,

    Talking about Camrys being more reliable than Magnas is just the perceptions of most people in the community and has no evidential basis. Again, assuming that Corollas are more reliable than any competition is also erroneous. Sure, most Toyotas tend to be rather reliable, but the idea that they are THE most reliable brand is a myth. That is why I made the comment that this reads like an advertisement for Toyota, a comment which I stand by.

    Further, your statement about the Outback refers to 2001-2002; during the majority of this time, the Renault Laguna was on the market.

    skwirril Posted on 29 September 2012 1:46am
  • XR6T I had drank like a sailor (16L/100km), even driving it like a granny. ECU resets = no difference. Fully serviced, too. Have heard this from 2 x other XR6T owners, too. Ford couldnt explain it. Then it blew the trans at 120k (common trans cooler leakage fault). Rebuilt the trans, and sold it at a huge loss. Worst car I have ever owned, BUT- all was forgotten when taking off from the lights smile

    Tony B of Adelaide Posted on 27 September 2012 1:59pm
  • For $7k, I have been very unlucky. All cars around this price. Fully service all my cars as per the book-  List of issues: 1996 EF Fairmont- 2 x cracked heads, one at 80k’s, 2004 BA XR6T, failed trans at 120k, 2004 Vectra (imported one), failed trans at 64K!! (was a $40k car new). Most reliable car was a 2003 VY Berlina, 7 yrs motoring with only a fuel pump relaced…am I just unlucky?? : )

    Tony Bornholm of Adelaide Posted on 27 September 2012 1:53pm
  • I was offered a 2002 Fairmont Ghia for $7k… from a dealer..

    Warren of Warner Posted on 25 September 2012 6:53pm
  • You can get a 2006 BF falcon for 7k… In mint condition with average k’s…. No-one wants them, I had to give my 06 bf away for that price as no one was interested…although I never had any issues with it… I always felt like something was about to go wrong with it… They just weren’t built well

    Shaun Posted on 22 September 2012 7:36pm
  • Got a family friend who has a Honda Civic 2001 Sedan and a good car.Very reluctant to sell wouldn’t blame her though. Eldest Son is currently driving it on P Plate.

    franz of adelaide Posted on 21 September 2012 10:10pm
  • What planet is this journalist on?
    The Falcon and Commodore are every bit as good as the Avalon and where was the Astra or Pulsar?
    If you are including the Getz where is the Barina Yaris/Echo?
    If you are going to write about cars at least cover everyone. or better still give up your day job, it is obviously beyond your capabilities

    Fair go of Australia Posted on 20 September 2012 2:12pm
  • Reg,
    Most people—but obviously not all—would see the Magna V5 reference as a simple typographical error and move on. You should too. I suggest also that instead of wasting your time on abuse, you actually go and do some research on line, where you will indeed find quite a few BA Fairmonts for sale at $7000, some for less than that.

    Bill McKinnon of Sydney Posted on 14 September 2012 11:32am
  • Is Mark Rose a technical trainer for Holden?  The cars are around the same quality, but the Ford has better tech…  I would pic a Ford Laser/Mazda323/Nissan Pulsar/Lancer as a cheap used car…

    Glenn of Canberra Posted on 11 September 2012 5:31pm
  • Good to see the magna finally got upgraded from a V5 to V6, only took the author a couple of months.

    As for everything else, you still find your $7K prices based on the base model standard, then tell people that they should look for one with all the extras.

    “Don’t buy a BA without traction control; the Fairmont also has side airbags.”

    The manual base spec falcon you found for $7k, was it a Fairmont, with traction control? Seriously doubt it.

    I don’t know how this horrid piece of writing has stayed on the Carsguide homepage for so long, it is an embarrassment to your organisation.

    Reg Posted on 06 September 2012 3:17pm
  • skwirril,
    I don’t do ads for anybody. The first EuroNCAP five star car was the Renault Laguna, in June 2001. At the time, Subaru Liberty was a four stars car, the maximum rating that applied until then.

    Bill McKinnon Posted on 04 September 2012 3:11pm
  • This article seems like an advertisement for Toyota…

    Also, the maximum ANCAP score in the early ‘00s was not four stars, it was five, as achieved by the Renault Laguna, Mercedes C-Class and others.

    skwirril Posted on 26 August 2012 8:02pm
  • SVZ, the reason there are a lot of VT & VX Commodores on the road is because a lot of them were sold originally when they first came out. Anycar that sold in big numbers will transition into plenty of them still being on the road now.

    Peter Parker of Melbourne Posted on 22 August 2012 4:56pm
  • According to the Precision Motorworks - absolutely true and i have a honda 2001 vi with 250km’s and runs without any dramas just change the timing belt, brakes,actuator on back 2 doors, tyres..Also regarding the CE lancer- if u service according to the schedule then no dramas hit upto 300kms only few issues are the rocker cover, radiator and and somtimes the crank angle sensor but always needs to change the oil at the right time when it comes to mitsubishi 4G63/15 engines

    DAS_na of melbourne Posted on 17 August 2012 12:50pm
  • The old VX II Commodores in the Calais trim, V8 are tempting….but you look like a bogan driving one. smile

    Darren James of Melbourne Posted on 15 August 2012 11:38pm
  • I think the fact that you still see a heap of VT and VX Commodores on the road speaks volumes for their reliability.  How many other 1998-2001 era cars are on the road in large numbers?  Not that many.  A well maintained example would certainly be a good buy.  I own a 2006 VZ (with 75K and no probs so far), so it’ll be interesting to see how long that lasts, given that it has a different motor to that old 3.8 pushrod nail.
    My wife having been a Lancer owner in that past, I reckon the Mitsubishi Lancer would also be a good reliable 7K buy too!

    SVZ Posted on 13 August 2012 8:08pm
  • Lancer is got to be best small car around 7k. I picked up a late 06 model for around 9k and haven’t looked back. Very comfortable and spacious for a small car and that MIVEC engine certainly has a lots of grunt.

    Deen of Sydney Posted on 11 August 2012 2:44pm
  • @Marc Rose. Never had any problems with my BAXR6Turbo. None with my current FG XR6Turbo. The FG is more economical than Jap 3.5 Litre V6 driven on the same road/conditions (my wifes car). Every Falcon that I have had has been very reliable and cheap for service.

    DM of Sydney Posted on 10 August 2012 8:55pm
  • Yes we have an old tarago bongo bus for a laugh and it is a manual glx but what SLUG of a thing and it drinks fuel like theres no tomorrow. but we cant kill it its done nearly 300000 and same motor/gearbox just the suspensions been replaced. the thermostat failed and sort of got driven with no water for a few months… but friends had one that clocked up 700000 kms on the same motor and gearbox no worries. gr8 fun

    olwogeeli Posted on 10 August 2012 12:02pm
  • Lucky there’s no RS as I,m about to sell mine and I won’t have to hear its gotta be cheeper mate as there’s a new model comming ...
    Anyone want a Mint RS greenie under 10K’s for $50K’s 0418741588 ..

    rob lane of Melbourne CBD Posted on 08 August 2012 10:07pm
  • To “Paul of Melbourne”
    Umm yes I have touched many spanners as you put it. Would being a qualified mechanic and for many years count as touching enough spanners for you? If you actually read my comment I actually agree with you about the Japanese cars being the best buy. My comment regarding the Commodore’s was concerning the comparisin between the Falcon and Commodore of the same era. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, don’t get upset now MATE!

    Marc of Adelaide South Australia Posted on 01 August 2012 12:11pm
  • Mr Marc Rose technical trainer? cough! commodore has stood the test of time? :D Mate have you ever touched a spanner in your life? The commodore is a bucket of leaky shit, where would you like me to start?
    Just buy yourself a japanese car between 1985-2002 and you will have some of the most reliable pieces of motoring known to man.

    paul of melbourne Posted on 27 July 2012 1:35am
  • I am in my 50’s and owned many Fords right back from the XL- 1963 upto the BF. I classed myself as a FORD man.
    In between many years of owning Ffords I owned 2 Commodores 1 x VY & 1 x VY. Was not keen when my compnay changed to Holdens. However had a great run out of these cars. The only 2 items I didn’t like was the stiffer ride and underpowered on towing, apart form that they gave good service.
    I then took delivery of a BF “Futura”. Well that’s me & Fords separate forever. What a pice of crap, everthing that went wrong went wrong, just could not feel comfortable because as soon as one thing was fixed something else went wrong. The other FORD does not back their product, they wrrigle out of everthing and not surpirse they are in the SHIT with the attitude they had towards me & my car. The tech even said “i had a lemon” ...yeh a $36,000 lemon. Now hv a Toyota Hilux and could not be happier. RIP FORD.

    Mr Potato Head of adelaide Posted on 26 July 2012 11:19am
  • Ford Falcon BA-BF XR6 are an excellent buy, safe, handle well and if driven without a lead foot not bad on petrol.  They are cheap to maintain.

    Steve of melbourne Posted on 26 July 2012 4:51am
  • I was surprised to see that Mercedes Benz was mentioned. I mean if your buying a car for less than $7000 you probably don’t have a great deal of spare cash around and when something goes wrong on one of those it is going to be expensive! Not to mention general servicing costs will be higher.
    I would also have to disagree with the BA Falcon being more reliable than the Commodore of the same era. Yes the Commodore is outdated technologically but it’s drive train and engines have stood the test of time and offer great reliability and economy not to mention low parts cost for things like brake pads / rotors, belts, hoses and other general parts you will need of a car this age. The BA was the first of a new model and was plagued with problems from diff and transmissions (especially XR6 Turbo) to faulty power window actuators, central locking actuators, body trims falling off, clunking front ends, engine missfires and more!
    If asked my opinion I would have to recommend the Toyota, Mazda and Honda models suggested, they are great value for money, simple, reliable and in the odd chance that something does go wrong, it won’t cost you a fortune.

    Marc Rose - Automotive Technical Trainer - Royal A of Adelaide South Australia Posted on 25 July 2012 4:41pm
  • With regards Reliability, Honda would be on Par with toyota if not better.
    I shld know as I run my own Japanese car mechanical repair and service centre IN SYDNEY
    As long as you change your engine oil + oil filter every 5000kms, the transmission fluid,air filter,brake fluid every 20,000kms, coolant every 2 years,check your tyre pressures every fortnight, your Honda will probably out live you unless someone steals it or your unlucky to crash it. Toyota Corollas are the best toyotas of all, V6 camrys, Lexus ES300 3VZ & 5VZ engines (1st gen Prados) R Headgasket nightmares + leak oil once they hit 100,000kms. The Civics 2001-05 cons are,central locking actuators fail one at a time sometimes,1st batch of Vi hatches have crank angle sensors that play up in hot weather (80000kms plus cars) Camshaft/Front crankshaft seal must be replaced @ 100ks with timing belt.
    Pros: Fuel economy 6ltrs/100km close to a hybrid,class leading space/comfort.Reliable,easy entry/exit (hatch) small outside/big inside!
    Cheap to maintain(not Honda Dealers)No electrical gremlins except (central lock actuators) flat rear passenger floor,dash mounted transmission shift. Best car in class for the year model.

    Precision Motorworks of SYDNEY Posted on 21 July 2012 9:07pm
  • Plenty of time on your hands Zanthus???

    dazwah of blue chipsville Posted on 18 July 2012 1:20pm
  • My   Verada TF had 507,000 km still the one ,just look after it it will look after you, smooth and powerful,luxuriously comfortable., serviced every six month,Bulletproof cars. made to last unlike Commodore ,or Falcon ,or the White goods (Camry…Who??) long live Mitsu

    Turko Turkovski of Melborne Posted on 18 July 2012 1:59am
  • First of all, the saying is Location, Location, Location. Secondly you mean “No” not “Now” and one assumes there are also female mechanics these days, so “Their” not “His”. That’s only five sentences in. Quality writing.

    ———————————————————————————————————————————

    Fair call on the mechanic gender… we’ll change it.

    Zanthus of location, location Posted on 17 July 2012 2:27am
  • My 2001 TJ Magna 3.5L 4 speed auto still happily does a 100km per day commute with just basic at home servicing and is now approaching 330,000km. No signs that it’s on the way out and the body and trims are still tight.  I can’t bear to sell it now.  Just replaced when needed the battery, tyres, shocks, plugs, leads, oil, filters and wiper blades/arms. When I get it rego checked the mechanic can’t believe how good condition it is in. Bulletproof cars.

    Cookie of NSW Posted on 11 July 2012 8:43am
  • Look at the magna’s. Ours has been a blessing. It’s paid for, reliable, etc etc. Can be thirsty in hilly areas or agressively driven but highway: perfect.
    What it is, is quiet for it’s age and kilometres (300 000kms) and the interior is really solid. Just don’t ever clean the roof liner using anything watery. Use a dry type cleaner or be prepared to reglue it. Besides that, not too bad at all. I’m actually looking to buy another later model one when this one dies. I’d love to have a TJ 3.5 manual. Ours has been a TE 3litre with four speed.

    grey scott of western australia Posted on 08 July 2012 11:39pm
  • For $7000 you struggle to find any small car that is clean and properly serviced and some of the people you meet selling cheap small cars are a worry.  Few had logbooks or records of maintenance and all had dodgy no-name tyres.  So after two fruitless months searching for “student wheels” I looked at larger cars and found generally better cars with lower milage for the same money.  So Camry vs Corolla and Magna vs Lancer suddenly made sense.  So did Falcon and Commodore but the Bogan image of the Commodore worried me and they have fearsome acceleration.  My mechanic says these bigger and safer cars are cheaper to fix too.  This ruled out Volvos,  etc for me despite their safety and quality credentials.  My kids have a Magna and a Falcon as their first cars and I am glad they are not out in little econo boxes.  While having to pay for more petrol I have avoided the major service costs some other parents have been hit with.

    Name Withheld of Brisbane Posted on 06 July 2012 4:20pm
  • Just did this exercise recently for 19 year old daughter moving to Canberra.  Make min spec two airbags, ABS and close to four star ANCAP and for this the money nothing beats a Falcon, then Commodore and Magna (often with side airbags) and Camry- often short changed on airbags and ABS and little street cred but reliable.
    Forget petrol mania and realize that low parts and service costs offset higher fuel use;  avoid Euro cars for this reason.
    Many small cars <$10K lack safety gear and the five three point seatbelts as well as being pretty small and light when the kids manage to crash.  I found great Comm/Falc/Magnas in better condition and with better service history than the small cars the kids thought they wanted (too many small car sellers had focused on cheap petrol use and were cheap on completing their service; most 4 cyl cars were overdue for a $1000 timing belt job…).
    Falcon and Commodore have a nice tight turning circle and actually park and manouvre quite well while being better passenger carriers (my kids car pool for free work car parking) and the only downside is fools asking why a girl would have or even be able to drive LOL a big car!      Just do the math….

    bob jay of Australia Posted on 06 July 2012 3:46pm
  • Love the method of analyzing these cars, find the lowest available price of a car and assume you can get one with all the added features for the same price.
    Kinda like saying

    “You can get a car for just $4000, which is especially good value if it is a 2012 Ferrari”

    Reg Posted on 05 July 2012 10:31pm
  • I have a 1999 VT Commodore with 300,000klms on the clock and its still going!

    Jodie of Wollongong Posted on 05 July 2012 8:12am
  • I dont agree with the comment about the Commodore… Yes it isnt the smoothest engine around, BUT if driven sedately, it has quite a bit of bottom end grunt, which means you dont need to flog the hell out of it. When driven sedately, its quite smooth, I have 220,000kms on the car and its been utterly reliable.

    Callan of Sydney Posted on 01 July 2012 7:13pm
  • Ford can’t give there falcons away now because of the quality issues it has suffered in the past. We all remember Mr Ford.
    I would get a new company car every couple of years, city driving, and yes they were falcons and unreliable POShit.
    I get Toyotas now Pardo’s and Hilux’s I work in remote locations in some cases no roads at all and they just keep going can’t kill them and I have tried.
    Creek crossing water half way up the windscreen no snorkel just kept going.
    Muddy creeks, long ruff out back roads 100klms/hr through dry creek beds up the bank through the air they just keep going amazing stuff.
    The only thing ever stopped my Toyota was a giant Kangaroo even then it still kept going until the next town. They took it off the road not because it wasn’t working. You need lights and windscreens and other stuff apparently for it to be road worthy.

    HT of Newcastle Posted on 30 June 2012 11:39am
  • @mongoose3800 BA Falcon’s have never had head gasket problems.  You’re thinking of EA-EL!

    Glenn of Canberra Posted on 29 June 2012 2:04pm
  • Despite the other glaring errors in this story, you could at least make the pictures match.
    Not only is the lancer shown not the same generation as the one talked about, its obviously a Ralliart series, with AWD and a turbocharger

    Rick Posted on 28 June 2012 10:26pm
  • The Merc C200 is an amazing car. Owned mine for 4 years, 1997 model, service history and it has done 250k now with no problems at all, still feels and looks like new. It is however glacially slow

    Aus mission of Perth Posted on 27 June 2012 11:44am
  • Funny when the readers know more about the cars than the so called “journalist”
    2 stars for a commodore, what planet are you on? these babys go forever, like my 1998 VT with 520,000kms on the clock, and i promise you i thrash it more in a week than you have thrashed all the cars you have driven in your life. I have owned it for seven years almost trying to kill it so i can get a new ute but it is built like a rampaging bull that refuses to die.
    You seem to love your asian cars, my mitsubishi lasted 12 months in my ownership where pretty much every mechanical component crapped itself. Any older mitsubishi you see on the road is blowing smoke.
    And John of canberra, My girlfriend kept taking Her BMW to get serviced every four months because it was a lemon each service was between $500-$1000 and with all that servicing the car still failed and nearly killed her when the brakes gave way in a busy intersection where she went through a red light and nearly smashed into a pole, 2 days later she bought a commodore. And now every time she sees a BMW she says, as if you would buy that when you could a HSV. Im proud.

    kaygas of melbourne Posted on 24 June 2012 9:53pm
  • For $7k I would be looking at BF falcons which are bucket loads better. BF fairmont in for $7k easy.

    Phido of Australia Posted on 22 June 2012 6:50pm
  • Find any BMW with a full service history within your price range and it will last forever.

    John of Canberra of Canberra Posted on 22 June 2012 9:56am
  • Interesting summaries there.  Might help to research a little better before posting inaccurate information.  A magna certainly doesn’t have a V5 engine. A BA Falcon has many well known faults - ie Head Gasket issues, brake shudders, electrical gremlins, water from radiator leaking to auto and heater core issues.  How it could be ranked as more reliable than the commodore is beyond me.  And, if you’ve ever owned a Tarago you will know they do use huge amounts of fuel.

    Mongoose3800 Posted on 21 June 2012 6:52pm
  • Combined is an average of city and highway and on a combined my VX gets this figure

    Vx notas thirstyasyouclaim Posted on 18 June 2012 12:23pm
  • The ‘shocking thirst’ comment about the Falcon is a gross exaggeration. Sure, it’s no fuel miser but it’s fuel economy can be quite good if not driven with a lead foot. Also I’m surprised the Subaru’s rate so highly at 3.5 - 4 stars, as any around the 7k mark would have high klm’s and the cost of looming maintenance to the AWD system will bring tears to your eyes.

    Jim C of Sydney Posted on 15 June 2012 9:07pm
  • All you read was 8.0l average. i am sure the manuals can be quite economical, but the point really is: look how cheap some of the early LS1 powered Commodores are.

    Uses a bit more fuel than the 6, why wouldn’t you opt for the V8 model. Plus it’s the most exciting model listed here.

    Dave S Posted on 15 June 2012 3:39pm
  • I seriously doubt the Commodore’s combined fuel economy figure is 8.0L/100km. Maybe on the highway! It’d more likely be about 11L/100km.

    spvd02 of Australia Posted on 14 June 2012 1:21am
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