Review new cars from Audi, BMW, Ford, Holden, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota and Volkswagen, on their reliability, after sales 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. With Australia home to many car brands and models, picking a new one can be a tough decision, which is why Canstar Blue produces an annual review to understand which manufacturers are the best-rated across several important factors, including their reliability, value for money and customer service.
The idea is to give you as much information as possible about the compared brands, to help you make an informed decision about your new set of wheels. After all, the internet is flooded with new car reviews from motoring experts, but what does the average Aussie motorist really think? That’s where our ratings come into play.
This year, more than 2,400 Aussie motorists took part in our research, rating 15 different car brands. For the first time, Mitsubishi Motors Australia was rated highest overall, replacing our 2018 winner, Suzuki.
Canstar Blue’s 2019 new car review saw 15 brands rated in the following order for overall satisfaction:
While Mitsubishi Motors claimed the title of king of the road, there were plenty of five-star ratings across the board. Mercedes took out the top spot for driving experience, while fellow German manufacturer Audi earned the only five-star rating for after sale service. Meanwhile Kia joined Mitsubishi Motors at the top of the table for value for money, while Toyota got top marks for point of sale service and car servicing.
With a number of brands taking out top ratings, drivers have plenty to consider when it comes to finding a new car, and it’s not a decision you’d want to take lightly either, with our survey respondents spending over $38,500 on their new cars. Despite the price tag, 85% of respondents believed they got a good deal on the price, while 78% said they tried to negotiate a lower price with the dealer. And many clearly tried to be strategic with their timing, heading to the dealership at a traditional sales period, such as the end of financial year sale (52%).
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.
Well-known over the globe across a range of industries, including air conditioners and heavy machinery, the Japanese brand has passed the competition on the outside lane, claiming the top spot with multiple five-star ratings for new cars in 2019. 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, a sedan such as the popular Lancer, or a larger Triton or Pajero. And if you’re looking for something a bit more environmentally-friendly, Mitsubishi Motors offers the Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle range.
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.
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 the wheel of.
In the market for Car Insurance? Below is a snapshot of featured 4 or 5 Star Rated policies on Canstar’s database, with a link to the providers’ website. The results are sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest), and was formulated based on a male aged 25-29 in QLD without coverage for an extra driver under 25 years old. To see policies more relevant click below to view all Canstar rated Car Insurance products.
|Company||Star Rating||Agreed or market value||Lifetime guarantee on repairs||Roadside Assistance available|
|View all Canstar rated car insurance products|
Source: Canstar. By proceeding you agree to Canstar Blue referring you to Canstar’s website and accept that site’s terms and conditions. See the FSCG. This information is general and does not take into account your individual circumstances. The results above do not include all providers, and may not compare all features relevant to you. Consider seeking professional financial advice, and read the PDS before making a product purchase. See the Canstar Car Insurance Star Ratings Methodology. Canstar Blue may earn revenue from referrals to product providers from this table.
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 Australia’s top selling model, and Toyota on 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 LandCruiser available, with buses and sports models additionally available for those after something specific.
Improving on last year’s results, 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.
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 have grabbed your attention, the sporty Veloster or SUV-style Venue may be worth keeping an eye out for, slated for release later this year.
Known for its luxury models, you wouldn’t find many people who would turn down a chance to drive a new Mercedes. Gaining the only five-star rating for driving experience, Mercedes is likely to be at the top of everyone’s list. Offering a wide range of vehicles, including sporty AMG coupes, luxury 4WDs and sleek sedans, Mercedes certainly knows how to turn rev heads. As aesthetically-pleasing as these cars are, however, Mercedes may also put a few people off with the price tag.
Another car brand that has gathered momentum over recent years, Kia has become a popular brand for those looking to treat themselves to a new car while still keeping an eye on the budget. If you’re not sure what you’re after, Kia has a wide variety of models on offer, from the popular Rio small car, all the way through to the Kia Carnival people mover, with the Korean brand also teasing the release of its first SUV model for later in the year.
A popular option for those after a luxury model, BMW may face stiff competition from fellow German luxury brands Mercedes and Audi, but can prove too hard to pass up when it comes to getting behind the wheel of one. With plenty of sporty models available, BMW also offers spacious SUVs, hair-messing convertibles and even plug-in hybrids like the i3 and i8, meaning there’s no shortage of options when you step into a BMW dealership.
A consistent performer in the new car market, Honda has maintained its four-star overall satisfaction rating from last year, with the Japanese manufacturer offering plenty of vehicles for drivers to consider, including the popular Accord sedans, and sporty Civic Type R. With larger models such as the Odyssey and CR-V also available for those taking plenty with them, the Honda Jazz may be a suitable option for those who are used to city driving, or don’t need a lot of leg room.
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, with Nissan also unveiling the electric-powered ‘Leaf’, 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 include the larger Trailblazer and Colorado and the city-friendly Astra and Trax.
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, Arteon, Tiguan, and Amarok are proving a popular option for motorists after something bigger. With VW also offering larger vans and trucks, there’s plenty to consider, regardless if you’re looking for business or for personal use.
Rounding out the big three German luxury brands, Audi may not have rated as highly as its competitors, but still offers plenty for drivers to get excited about. The A range includes sleek sedans and smaller hatchbacks for those prone to city driving, 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, R8 and RS variants, helping to get your heart racing.
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 and Mondeo, larger Escape, Endura and Everest, along with the popular Ranger utility and heart-racing Mustang.
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 Content Projects Lead, Dean Heckscher. He’s our resident expert on all things automotive, health & fitness, streaming and more. Dean is also one of Canstar Blue’s customer research report producers, helping to turn complicated subjects into easily-digestible information for our readers. He’s passionate about helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services.
Canstar Blue surveyed 9,000 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 3 years – in this case, 2,401 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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