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Best used cars for sale under $7000

When you're looking for the best 2nd hand cars under $7,000 you're necessarily looking at older cars.
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist
CarsGuide

7 Dec 2017 • 27 min read

Buying cheap second hand cars is a risky business. Buy the right car and you can look forward to many years of affordable, worry-free motoring, but buy the wrong one and your motoring dream could become an expensive nightmare.

In buying a cheap used car you're potentially buying someone else's problems, but there's no easy way of finding out if the car you've got your heart set on owning is going to be your ideal drive, or a lemon set to cause you nothing but heartache.

All you can hope to do is to minimise the risk of buying the wrong car by doing your homework to identify the best used cars in Australia.

There's plenty of information out there on which are the most reliable cheap used cars even years after leaving the factory.

In simple terms, you should buy the newest car you can afford, the one that's in the best condition, that's done the least kilometres, and has an impeccable service history.

Start by researching the cars that fall within your budget, don't limit your search to your favourite makes or models; you should include everything at the beginning.

There's plenty of information out there on which are the most reliable cheap used cars even years after leaving the factory.

Find out which cars are afflicted with problems you should be concerned about, the ones you should avoid, to home in on the most reliable cheap used cars.

You can quickly check on their performance, fuel efficiency, safety, reliability, and current market value.

Having done your homework you can start shopping for good cheap cars, confident in the knowledge that you are equipped with the best information available.

When you're looking for the best 2nd hand cars under $7,000 you're necessarily looking at older cars, ones that have possibly done several hundred thousand kilometres, and have probably had a number of owners, some of whom will have treated it well, others maybe not so.

As the years mount it's also more likely than not that it has been involved in a bingle.

It might appear daunting at first, but with a little homework, and expert advice we can help you avoid the pitfalls of buying cheap used cars.

Having chosen a car to buy you should have it checked by a mechanic or someone you know who has the mechanical knowledge to properly assess it.

The state motoring organisations will check a car for you, and some local mechanics will also assess them. While it will cost you a few bucks, the peace of mind it gives you is well worth it.

In this guide to the best second hand cars in Australia we help you find the most reliable cheap used cars.

It might appear daunting at first, but with a little homework, and expert advice we can help you avoid the pitfalls of buying cheap used cars for under $7000.

While we've set an upper price limit of $7000, examples can often be found for under $5000.

Best Light/Small Cars

People on a limited budget often buy them, and they sometimes find they can't afford to maintain them over the ownership journey. Worse, some often don't bother to take good care of them. Check for a record of regular service.

Hyundai Getz – 2002-2011

The Getz is fuel efficient, practical, it's cheap to service, and gives little trouble if properly maintained. The Getz is fuel efficient, practical, it's cheap to service, and gives little trouble if properly maintained.

Once derided as a brand building to a price and little else, Hyundai made great strides in quality, reliability and refinement in the early part of this century, while still maintaining its value-for-money proposition. The Getz is fuel efficient, practical, it's cheap to service, and gives little trouble if properly maintained.

Body: Three-door hatch, Five-door hatch
Engine: 1.4-litre four-cyl; 1.6-litre four-cyl
Transmission: Four-speed auto; 5-speed man
Fuel Economy: 6.2-7.0L/100km
Safety: 3-star ANCAP
Price: $1000-$6900

Mitsubishi Colt – 2007-2010

The Colt's boxy shape and tall stance were cleverly conceived to maximise cabin space. The Colt's boxy shape and tall stance were cleverly conceived to maximise cabin space.

Not the prettiest car, or the most thrilling to drive, but its boxy shape and tall stance were cleverly conceived to maximise cabin space. With five doors and a sliding rear seat full-sized adults find themselves quite comfortably accommodated in a surprisingly roomy interior. Against that the cheap and hard plastics used make it less attractive. Look for good fuel consumption, decent fit and finish, and good on-road behaviour, but quirky CVT auto demands careful pre-purchase assessment.

Body: Five-door hatch
Engine: 1.5-litre four-cyl
Transmission: Five-speed man, CVT
Fuel economy: 5.6-5.9L/100km
Safety: 3-star ANCAP
Price: $3000-$7000

Suzuki Swift  – 2005-2009

Suzuki produced a keeper in the Swift. Suzuki produced a keeper in the Swift.

With its cheeky and likable looks the little hatch was hailed as one of the better small cars when it was launched. Long admired for the high level of the technology used in even its small cars, Suzuki produced a keeper in the Swift. Praise was heaped on its responsive driving dynamics, fuel-efficient engine, easy access to the cabin, safety, and extensive features, including dual front airbags and ABS brakes.

Body: Five-door hatch
Engine: 1.5-litre four-cyl
Transmission: Five-speed man; four-speed auto
Fuel economy: 6.3-6.6L/100km
Safety: 4-star ANCAP
Price: $2500-$7000

Best Medium Cars

Along with SUVs, mid-sized models are the go-to cars in today's market for people who want to downsize, and there's plenty of choice.

Toyota Camry – 2007-2008

Look beyond its ordinary appearance and you'll find it's well designed and built, safe, and eminently reliable. Look beyond its ordinary appearance and you'll find it's well designed and built, safe, and eminently reliable.

Widely considered bland and boring, but to dismiss it on the basis of its looks is to undervalue the mid-sized Toyota. Look beyond its ordinary appearance and you'll find it's well designed and built, safe, and eminently reliable, with a good resale when it comes to selling it on, even with high odometer readings. There's nothing to be concerned about when buying a Camry; as long as you follow the basic rules of condition, kilometres, and service you can't go wrong.

Body: Four-door sedan
Engine: 2.4-litre four-cyl
Transmission: Five-speed man, five-speed auto
Fuel Economy: 8.9-9.9L/100km
Safety: 4-star ANCAP
Price: $4000-$7000

Subaru Liberty – 2003-2007

The Liberty has long been regarded as a cut above the rest. The Liberty has long been regarded as a cut above the rest.

The Liberty has long been regarded as a cut above the rest with its all-wheel drive grip that adds another level to its safety credentials. Well built and generally reliable, with five-star safety, the fourth-gen Liberty is a car for the long term.

Body: Four-door sedan
Engine: 2.5-litre 4-cyl
Transmission: Five-speed man
Fuel economy: 9.0L/100km
Safety: 5-star ANCAP
Price: $2500-$7000

Honda Accord Euro – 2003-2007

The Accord Euro is a player in the prestige arena; it's well built, reliable and durable. The Accord Euro is a player in the prestige arena; it's well built, reliable and durable.

Of all the Asian brands it's Honda that has the cred to stand above the crowd; cars like the Accord Euro are able to hold their own with equivalent European models. The Accord Euro is a player in the prestige arena; it's well built, reliable and durable, and drives and performs well.

Body: Four-door sedan
Engine: 2.4-litre 4-cyl
Transmission: Six-speed man, five-speed auto
Fuel economy: 9.1L/100km
Safety: 4-star ANCAP
Price: $3400-$7000

Best Large Cars

With the rush to smaller cars and new-age models like SUVs, big cars have fallen out of favour whether they are new or second-hand.

That leaves buyers looking for a cheap reliable used car in the driving seat if they're prepared to bargain hard.

Toyota Aurion – 2006

Build quality, tick, reliability, tick, cabin space, tick, safety, tick, resale, tick. Buy it? Tick. Build quality, tick, reliability, tick, cabin space, tick, safety, tick, resale, tick. Buy it? Tick.

The momentum of change as Australians downsized from their traditional big cars to smaller ones, and to SUVs, was too much for Toyota's Aurion to resist. Like the Camry it's a bit boring, but it's got all the things that make Toyota a go-to brand. Build quality, tick, reliability, tick, cabin space, tick, safety, tick, resale, tick. Buy it? Tick.

Body: Four-door sedan
Engine: 3.5-litre V6
Transmission: Six-speed auto
Fuel economy: 9.9L/100 km
Safety: 4-star ANCAP
Price: $4000-$7000

Ford Falcon BFII – 2006-2008

The BFII is a car for the long term. The BFII is a car for the long term.

The BFII is one of the best Falcons. It's not as flashy as the later FG, but it's got most of the bases covered. A straightforward, sound design, solidly built, with a bulletproof six-cylinder engine, and no serious flaws, the BFII is a car for the long term. Fuel consumption is an issue, it's high in today's terms, but it can happily be converted to LPG to save a few bucks.

Body: Four-door sedan
Engine: 4.0-litre six-cyl
Transmission: Five-speed man, four-speed auto, six-speed auto
Fuel economy: 10.7L/100 km
Safety: 4-star ANCAP
Price: $2700-$6500

Mitsubishi 380 – 2005-2008

The 380 was Mitsubishi's last gasp at playing in what was then the big league in the Australian market. The 380 was Mitsubishi's last gasp at playing in what was then the big league in the Australian market.

Like the Toyota Aurion, the 380 was Mitsubishi's last gasp at playing in what was then the big league in the Australian market, but it was too late to save the company's local production operation. It's a decent car and is worthwhile having on your shopping list. The downside is that it's a latter-day Valiant and its resale value isn't great, but that can be a bonus if you're on the hunt for cheap used cars.

Body: Four-door sedan
Engine: 3.8-litre V6
Transmission: Five-speed man, five-speed auto
Fuel economy: 10.8-11.4L/100 km
Safety: 4-star ANCAP
Price: $1500-$7000

Best Wagons

The great motoring revolution of the last 10 years has seen the traditional station wagon almost disappear, its place as our favoured family transport taken by the SUV.

SUV owners can be tempted to push their cars beyond their off-road limits, so those shopping for one need to carefully check for possible damage caused by abuse in the bush. That means looking underneath.

Kia Sportage – 2005-2007

The compact Sportage in particular is highly regarded for its practicality. The compact Sportage in particular is highly regarded for its practicality.

Virtually all carmakers have SUVs on their books; market pressure demands it. Kia is well covered when it comes to the new-age wagons, with the Sportage and Sorento. The compact Sportage in particular is highly regarded for its practicality, the flexibility of its cabin, its fuel-efficient engines, and its refinement.

Body: Five-door SUV wagon
Engine: 2.7-litre six-cyl
Transmission: Five-speed auto
Fuel economy: 10.0L/100 km
Safety: Not rated
Price: $4500-$7000

Subaru Forester – 2002-2005

The Forester overall is, safe, reliable, with good driving dynamics. The Forester overall is, safe, reliable, with good driving dynamics.

Regularly rated in the top flight of compact SUVs the Forester hits the spot in virtually all categories. Earlier Foresters were only available with a petrol engine, so those hoping for a diesel will be disappointed. Overall, safe, reliable, with good driving dynamics, but running and repair costs are higher than average.

Body: Five-door SUV wagon
Engine: 2.5-litre four-cyl
Transmission: Five-speed man, four-speed auto
Fuel economy: 9.6-9.7L/100km
Safety: 5-star ANCAP
Price: $2500-$7000

Ford Falcon BFII/BFIII – 2006-2009

Practical, well built, refined and reliable, the Falcon is well worth looking at if you're not locked into the SUV craze. Practical, well built, refined and reliable, the Falcon is well worth looking at if you're not locked into the SUV craze.

Not an SUV, but a regular wagon. Practical, well built, refined and reliable, the Falcon is well worth looking at if you're not locked into the SUV craze.

Body: Five-door wagon
Engine: 4.0-litre six-cyl
Transmission: Four-speed auto
Fuel economy: 10.7L/100 km
Safety: 4-star ANCAP
Price: $3500-$7000

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