Car buyers guide: Something for the golden ages

By Phil Hanson

The Hyundai Sonata Elite. Photo / Supplied
The Hyundai Sonata Elite. Photo / Supplied

The dilemma:
Gordon and his wife, Lorraine, are about to embark on the adventure of retirement and, as is the way at this intersection in life, they are wondering what to do about a car - one that might have to last them for years. As part of his farewell package, Gordon gets to keep the company's Holden Calais - and get this, the fuel card - for six months, but after that, they're on their own. With a modest but worthwhile private superannuation to bolster the Government's fortnightly handout, they're thinking of something a step or two up from the super-econocars that so many golden agers buy. They like the idea of a mid-size diesel 2 or 3 years old. Is that sound thinking, and what should they look at?

Buyer's Guide likes the idea of shopping for a car that will still have low mileage yet have had several big bites of depreciation chopped from its new price. Even better if there are a few months left on the three-year new-car warranty, and if it has records that show it was serviced according to those warranty requirements.

The budget: About $30,000 but hopefully less

The shortlist:

BMW 320d
A good 320d from around 2008 is likely to top this week's budget, but we're including it in case our couple decides they'd like a golden age splurge. The 320d, which comes in several versions, is a stunning car. Great to drive, great to be seen in, its powerful 2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel gives the car better performance than many petrol rivals, yet sips only six litres per 100km for a Fuelsaver rating of five out of six.
From $40,000

Ford Mondeo
Powered by a high-tech 2-litre turbodiesel developed by Ford and Peugeot, a well-kept Mondeo from 2008 offers a lot of bang for its depreciated buck. It's quite roomy, has good performance aided by a six-speed automatic and its overall fuel consumption is 7.1 litres per 100km, for a Fuelstar rating of 4.5 out of 6.
From $24,000

Hyundai Sonata Elite
Hyundai has gradually developed the Sonata into a car that matches or even exceeds its Japanese and European rivals. Originally a producer of cheap and cheerful cars, Hyundai has become obsessed with quality and technology. Its 2-litre motor provides peppy performance and has earned a good reputation. Buyer's Guide prefers the better-equipped Elite version, but don't exclude others. It consumes seven litres per 100km, which gives it a fuel economy rating of 4.5 out of 6.
From $21,000

- NZ Herald

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