The Best Cars for P Plate Drivers

Posted by Motorama in Buyer Advice

So you’ve got your new license and the family car is in high demand.

You’ve decided: it’s time for your own car. But how do you know what your options are? You’ll want a car that expresses your personality, but can be counted on to start every time. There are two obvious options: buying brand new or buying used.

Buying new

Buying new means you may have to let go of having a top-of-the-line model, but you will have the latest technology and a car that you know no one has driven. A new car has the wow factor of being ‘your car’ and yours only, until you decide to move on.


When looking at a new car, you have to evaluate if it fits what you need to do, has low running costs and a good servicing scheme (most volume manufacturing brands will have capped price servicing.)

Safety is paramount in all cars, and it’s good to see that carmakers have gotten serious about safety – even in their smallest models. The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) is an independent body that tests cars to give them a star rating out of five. A five out of five is the gold standard, meaning that a car is doing the most to protect you and your passengers in the event of a crash.

We’ve run the ruler over a few of our most popular first cars.

Toyota Yaris

Price: From $15,990 driveaway.

Toyota’s smallest car has been around for a decade, replacing the Echo hatch and sedan. A regular at the top of small car lists – it has pulled itself up by its bootstraps to beef up a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, styling and pricing. The Toyota Yaris caught on with buyers looking for an attractive, affordable light car.

It now sits as the priciest of the light car class, but it’s also the biggest – rivalling some ‘small car’ vehicles for space and comes with Toyota's Warranty Advantage and 5 year warranty.

Holden Astra

Price: From $21,990 driveaway

A bit of a step-up in size, but still good a good car to start out with: the Holden Astra. It's available in quite a few different varieties, so you can even get a sporty R to spice things up a bit. The new Astra is immediately very stylish. For an entry-level small hatch, its looks certainly don’t match its sub-$25,000 pricetag – expect badge checking from disbelieving passersby.Plus any new Astra comes with Holden's Guaranteed Value and 5 year warranty.

Mitsubishi Mirage

Price: From $12,990 driveaway

The Mitsubishi Mirage came back to replace the Colt in 2013. Available in hatch and sedan, the Mirage has been a success for Mitsubishi – who have a long history with city cars in Australia.

It uses a three-cylinder engine, and the Mirage’s capped price servicing is one of the cheapest in its class - only costing $250 for each annual visit for the first three years. In fact, NRMA found that the Mirage hatch as the cheapest car to own and run in a recent survey and it comes with 5 year warranty as standard.

Kia Picanto

Price: From $13,777 driveaway

Because of its small size the Kia Picanto is especially easy to handle and manoeuvre. Though the automatic gearbox only has 4 gears it does the job when running around town. The four-wheel disc brakes do a good job and bringing the Picanto to a halt. Its suspension equally does a good job in making the ride comfortable, not throwing its occupants around as with some other micro cars. And the Picanto is safe, fitted with six airbags, forward collision warning system and auto emergency braking. The reversing camera might prevent backing up into a pole, but due to its size you can see pretty much around the car by hanging out of the window as well. Plus it comes with the unbeatable 7 year Kia warranty.

Ford EcoSport

Price: From 22,990 driveaway


Something a little different: a small SUV. Just hopping into the Ford EcoSport makes you smile. It’s surprising there is so much room in such a small package. Seating for 5 adults and enough storage to even fit a pram, because the spare tyre is mounted on the rear door. Because of it’s size the EcoSport is nimble – no corner to tight even in the laneways of inner-city Brisbane – and because of it’s low weight it’s pretty quick of its feet as well. Perfect if you want to start out in a car that is ready for the future with it's 5 year warranty.

Buying used

Used cars often have the benefit of being depreciated, thanks to someone else using them because they’re not fresh out of the factory. You can pick up a bigger or better car than new, because your dollar tends to stretch further in the used car market.


However, you may fall into the trap of buying a car from someone who has trashed his or her car and is looking to offload it onto you. This doesn’t mean that used cars are junk. Late model cars at dealers (who have vetted any used car) and even demonstrator models (that were owned by the dealership) can cut thousands off the price of a current model car. Cars from private sellers are even cheaper still; you just have to look a bit harder than at a dealership to find one in an appropriate condition for its age, that’s also at the right price. When looking for a used car, you want something late model for style and safety, that has easy access to parts, a widespread dealership network for service, affordable running costs and offers reliability so you’re not spending all your time at the workshop.

Motorama have one of the largest selections of quality pre-owned cars for sale in Brisbane. If you are in the market for a second hand car, we will have the right car for you. We stock cars across all price ranges starting for under $10,000, at our convenient dealer locations in Moorooka, Springwood and Browns Plains.

We specialise in all things auto, and only stock the best quality cars from brands including Toyota, Mitsubishi, Holden, Ford, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Honda, Subaru, Volkswagen, Mazda, BMW and many more.

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