Review new cars from Audi, Mazda, Suzuki, Mercedes, Hyundai, Kia, Subaru, BMW, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Holden, Ford, Honda and Volkswagen on their reliability, after sale service, point of sale service, car servicing, driving experience, value for money and overall satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
Buying a new car can be one of the more exciting times in your life, as well as one of the most financially draining. As a result, it’s not a decision to be made lightly, with so many options and factors to consider before you even step foot in a dealership.
To help you confidently grab the wheel and find the best new car for your needs and budget, we went around the block to ask more than 2,500 Australian motorists for their feedback on the new cars they’ve purchased from a dealership in the last three years. Respondents rated car models and manufacturers on important factors, including the driving experience, reliability, car servicing, point of sale service, after sale service, value for money and overall satisfaction. Car brands that received a minimum survey sample size of 30 responses are compared in our latest ratings.
In 2020, Audi & Mazda were both firmly in the driver’s seat as joint winners for new cars. Both achieved top five-star reviews for overall satisfaction, plus extra full marks for two other categories.
Here are the best new car brands in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s latest review:
Audi and Mazda bumped Mitsubishi Motors off the top spot in our latest ratings, both receiving five-star reviews for overall customer satisfaction. Most other car brands passed the finish line with a solid four stars for overall satisfaction, except for Honda and Volkswagen which eventually pumped the breaks on three stars overall.
It’s worth noting that several other brands also revved up their scores with full marks in certain categories. Suzuki rated best for value for money, and earned another five-star review for reliability, alongside Hyundai, Subaru as well as Mazda. Subaru also got five stars for driving experience, similar to Mercedes.
When it came to services, Mercedes was the only brand other than Mazda that received a top score for point of sale service. BMW also rated five stars for its after sale service and car servicing.
When it comes to finding a new set of wheels, Aussie motorists have plenty to consider, so to help you find a brand that suits your lifestyle and driving style, here is a guide to the 15 car brands in this year’s review.
German luxury car manufacturer Audi has a wide range of models for drivers to get excited about. The A range includes sleek sedans for the city, while Audi’s Q range will be for those looking to drive away in an SUV model. If something sporty is more your style, Audi offers the TT Coupe, R8 Spyder and anything from the RS line, to help you get your car and heart racing. There’s also the Audi e-tron, Audi’s first-ever all-electric vehicle. The SUV and Sportback versions of the e-tron will be available in Australia from late 2020.
A frequent sight on the roads, Japanese brand Mazda offers a wide range of vehicles for motorists to choose from, whether you need room for just yourself or the whole family. Models include the sporty MX-5 and RX-7, as well as the popular SUV range, which includes models such as the CX-5 and CX-9 for those after a bit of extra room. Other models include the smaller Mazda 2, with the larger Mazda 6 and BT-50 utility also available for motorists to get behind.
With the Swift likely one of the models you’ll picture when you think of a small car, Japanese brand Suzuki has been a staple on Australian roads, whether it’s on two wheels or four. With the four-wheel variety including models such as the Baleno, Ignis, S-Cross and Grand Vitara, in addition to the popular Swift, drivers have plenty to choose from, whether you’re after a small car or SUV.
Known for its luxury models, you wouldn’t find many people who would turn down a chance to drive a new Mercedes. The brand certainly knows how to please rev heads, with a variety of sporty coupes and roadsters, as well as compact hatchbacks and larger car models such as the G-Class SUV, A-Class Sedan and C-Class Estate. But, as one of the sought-after car brands across the globe, expect hefty price tags.
South Korean brand Hyundai has become a mainstay on Australian roads, thanks in part to its very popular i30 range. With a vehicle fleet that also includes the Accent and Elantra for those partial to smaller vehicles, as well as an extensive SUV range that includes the likes of the Kona, Tucson and Sante Fe, Hyundai also offers its Blue-Drive IONIQ range for those interested in electric and hybrid models. If any of these haven’t grabbed your attention, the new sporty Veloster or SUV-style Venue may also be worth keeping an eye out for.
Kia is another car brand that has gathered momentum over recent years, especially among those looking to treat themselves to a new set of wheels while still keeping an eye on their budget. If you’re not sure what you’re after, Kia has a wide variety of models on offer, from the compact Rio, all the way through to the eight-seat Kia Carnival. The South Korean car manufacturer also has a few SUV lines, including the KIA Seltos for smaller SUVs, KIA Sportage for a medium-sized option, and the Kia Sorento for a larger vehicle designed for big families.
Subaru is well-known for its Impreza and Liberty models, with the WRX adorning plenty of bedroom wall posters. If an SUV is your speed, Subaru offers the Outback, Forester and XV models, with the BRZ sports car available for those looking to put their foot down. While it may not be the option for those after a smaller car or large SUV car, if you’re looking for a reasonably priced and sporty-looking ride, Subaru may be the option for you, with the Japanese brand a regular on racing circuits.
BMW is one of several German luxury car brands dominating the market, parked alongside Mercedes and Audi. For some, the high-end car manufacturer can prove to be too hard to pass up. There are plenty of sporty models available from the BMW X Range, BMW M range and the BMW I range. This includes everything from spacious SUVs and hair-messing convertibles, to plug-in hybrids like the i3 and i8. So, there’s no shortage of options when you step into a BMW dealership.
Another major Japanese brand, Toyota has long been a favourite for many Aussie motorists, and it’s not surprising considering the range available. With the Hilux ute consistently claimed to be Australia’s top selling model, and Toyota at the forefront of hybrid and electric models, you’ll more than likely see plenty of Toyota models while out on the road. Toyota’s range includes the smaller Yaris and Corolla, with the Camry and Prius available for those after a sedan model. If you’re chasing something bigger, Toyota has the C-HR, RAV4, Kluger and flagship Land Cruiser available, with sports cars and even buses also on offer for those after something specific.
Mitsubishi is one of the most well-known global manufacturers, spreading across a range of major industries, including air conditioners and heavy machinery. Marketed as a mid-tier brand, Mitsubishi Motors offers drivers one of the more affordable options in the market, regardless if you’re looking for a small model such as the Mirage, or a larger option like the Triton or Pajero. If you’re looking for something more environmentally-friendly, Mitsubishi Motors offers the Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicle range.
Nissan has a wide range of models and car types to excite Aussie drivers, from the sleek GT-R to the family-friendly Patrol, and all the way to the tradie-approved Navara. The Japanese manufacturer has all driving-types catered for. But if you’re still not sure, smaller SUVs such as the Juke and Qashqai are also available, as is the popular X-Trail. Nissan has also entered the electric car market with its new-generation Leaf model, giving drivers plenty to consider.
While suffering due to the closing of its local manufacturing plants, Aussie icon Holden still offers plenty of vehicles for motorists through imports from parent company General Motors. While the identity may feel a bit different, Holden still has plenty of its classic models, including the popular Commodore, with other options including the larger Trailblazer and Colorado and the city-friendly Astra and Trax.
Another brand to cease manufacturing locally, Ford runs on imports from its overseas parent company. Despite the manufacturing hit, Ford still offers plenty of models for motorists to choose from, including the smaller Focus, larger Escape, Endura and Everest, along with the popular Ranger utility and heart-racing Mustang.
Honda is working to give motorists the ‘power of dreams’, offering a variety of vehicles to suit families, first-time drivers, sports car fans and anyone in between. The Japanese manufacturer is also responsible for some of the most popular and well-known cars in the country, including the Civic Hatch and Civic Sedan.
For those who need something spacious, the Honda Odyssey and CR-V are some of the brand’s largest models. On the smaller side, the Honda Jazz is alternatively available for those who are used to city driving or don’t need a lot of legroom.
One of the more affordable German manufacturers, Volkswagen, or VW as it’s more commonly known, has proven to be a popular option for motorists over recent years. With VW’s smaller models, including the Polo and Golf, the backbone of the brand, larger vehicles such as the Passat and Tiguan are proving a popular option for motorists after something bigger. With VW also offering larger vans and trucks, there’s plenty to consider, regardless of if you’re looking for business or for personal use.
Did you know Aussies are now spending more than $40,000 on new cars, driving up the average cost from $38,500 last year? Plus, 67% of survey respondents said they have more than one car for their household.
According to our survey respondents, their previous car lasted about six years. Three in five (60%) said they opted for a new set of wheels because they wanted an upgrade, while slightly less than two-fifths (19%) of consumers needed more space. Alternatively, a handful of those we surveyed said they actually needed less seating or boot space (6%).
Another reason our survey respondents headed to the dealership was to snag a specific model (10%), such as for off-roading or for work. Just 12% of the people we surveyed bought a brand new car because their old car stopped running, while 5% headed to the dealership after crashing their old car.
If you want to join the 89% of people who believe they got a good deal on the price of their new car, here are some things they did before making the big purchase:
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to buying a new car, especially if you’re looking to get a good deal.
You’ll have to remember that buying a new car often comes with additional expenses, like stamp duty, insurance, and even that shiny coat of paint! On top of that, running costs such as car tyres and car servicing can also have a big impact on your bank account, meaning you will have to consider plenty of aspects before you sign on the dotted line. Regardless of which model, make or brand you decide on, be sure to shop around and haggle on price, as you may be surprised by how much you can save if you do your research and drive a hard bargain!
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s home & lifestyle journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.
Canstar Blue surveyed 12,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have bought a brand new car from a dealership in the last three years – in this case, 2,553 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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