The Playbook For The Modern Man

Australia’s Coolest New Cars To Buy, Share & Steal Right Now

The sub $100,000 cars will seriously improve your driving game.

If you’re in the market for a new car, the most obvious question to ask of Google or a car specialist magazine is, “what is the best car to buy?”. But best doesn’t always mean cool. And in our book, its cool points we want our new automotive purchase to have.

Of course, running costs and practicality will have to feature somewhere in your thinking before you go ahead and slap down a wad of cash on the desk of the smug salesman, but if you’re getting a motor that will turn heads and put a Cheshire cat smile on your face, it’ll be worth every penny.

We’ve selected our best rides that land between AU $60,000 and $100,000.

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Under $80,000

Sedan / Wagon

Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 6.1L/100km
Price: $79,000 Drive Away

The current generation Giulia was first unveiled way back in 2015 as Alfa Romeo’s badass and rebellious answer to the BMW 3-series, Audi A4 and all manner of other sales rep saloons. This Veloce variant followed in 2016, with rather simple engine options: a 2.0L petrol producing 276hp or a 2.2L diesel producing 207hp. Neither can quite compete with the company’s M3-killing Quadrifoglio variant, but at half the price, we’re certainly not complaining. For the money, you’re still getting what can only be considered as car pornography in terms of design, backed up by an exciting drive. Plus, it’s an Alfa, and you can’t get much cooler than that.

Chrysler 300 SRT Pacer

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 13L/100km
Price: $78,000 Drive Away

If it’s a super limited edition vehicle you want in return for your $80,000, look no further than the Chrysler 300 SRT Pacer. Limited to just 50 models, the Pacer edition has been produced to celebrate 50 years of the Valiant Pacer – an Australian-built, fast, four-door sedan from 1969. It doesn’t offer any performance upgrades over the standard 300 SRT, so you still get a 6.4L V8 producing 350kW/470hp that says ‘up yours’ to fuel economy, but in a much cooler-looking body with plenty of Pacer badging, paying homage to the original car, as well as some stripe decals.

Audi S3 Quattro

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 6.5L/100km
Price: $77,000 Drive Away

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If you have to have something from Germany, the Audi S3 is a fine choice. Available in sedan, hatchback and wagon variants, it can appeal to any prospective buyer. The current, third-generation is powered by 2.0L engine producing 213kW/280hp (a fourth-generation will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2020). While the price may seem a little steep for a compact sedan (compared to the likes of the Alfa, at least), you get a quick-accelerating engine and a whole bunch of standard equipment including a Bang & Olufsen sound system, wireless phone charging, and a number of driver-assistance technologies. Yes, a fair few are owned by young lads who spend their salary on monthly finance repayments, but Audi’s S-series cars still more than earn their cool status.

BMW 3-Series 320i M Sport

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 6.3L/100km
Price: $76,000 Drive Away

What if we told you that you could own the best car in Australia for under $80,000? It’s true. Carsales awarded the BMW 3-series with the gong for the year 2019, ticking the boxes for everything “from quality and comfort to driving enjoyment, resale value and running costs.” This 320i M Sport model delivers 135kW of power from its 2.0L engine (the 330i produces an extra 55kW from the same unit, but you’d have to pay more than our $80,000 budget) but you still get the same ride quality and BMW’s comprehensive iDrive infotainment system inside the cabin. As with the previous Audi, BMWs (and their drivers) do often attract their fair share of negativity, but we know that you’re not like them, so you can drive a 320i with pride.

Kia Stinger GT Carbon Edition

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 10.2L/100km
Price: $69,000 Drive Away

And now for something completely different; the Kia Stinger GT Carbon. The South Korean-based manufacturer is best-known for producing afforable cars with reserved styling and performance. The Stinger GT turns that mantra on its head entirely, boasting a 3.3L engine and 272kW of power, meaning it’s no slouch. The best part for us though, is that Kia has packaged it all in a great-looking car, and this limited-run Carbon Edition, various carbon fibre accents on the exterior looks even better.

Coupe / Convertible

BMW 2-Series 230i M Sport

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 5.9L/100km
Price: $75,000 Drive Away

If you don’t yet have a family, or you want a car that you can enjoy solo or with your better half, the BMW 230i M Sport is a solid choice. First introduced in 2016, the 230i offers plenty of gusto from its 2.0L engine, along with generous equipment as standard. The M Sport variant also receives lower suspension and sports seats over the other models in the range, as well as sportier external styling. It may not have the boy racer appeal of the M2, but that car is around $20,000 more expensive. For the budget, going fast doesn’t look much better.

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Mercedes-Benz C-Class C200

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 7L/100km
Price: $79,000 Drive Away

We featured the C-Class C300 on our list of coolest cars under $100k, and its smaller sibling makes an appearance here. It’s powered by the same 2.0L engine as its bigger brother, albeit with a little less power output, but you still get sleek styling and, in our opinion, one of the best looking cars on the road. You can also revel in the fact that the C-Class C200 has been a previous winner of the best luxury car under $80,000 at the annual Drive awards.

Audi A5 40 TFSI Sport

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 5.6L/100km
Price: $79,000 Drive Away

Another sort of repeat entry here, as the Audi A5 45 featured on the under $100k list. The A5 40 Coupe meanwhile represents the most affordable entry into the A5 range (sedan and convertible variants are available, too) and as such, you get a slightly lesser powered 2.0L engine and front-wheel drive as opposed to all-wheel drive on the 45. Regardless, the A5 40 still comes with Audi’s S-Line styling package – making it a bit of a looker out on the road – as well as Audi’s virtual cockpit, which we feel is one of the coolest features on any car out there. It replaces the analogue instrument dials of old with a 12.3-inch digital screen, which you can use to cycle between various views such as the traditional speedometer through to maps for navigation.

Lexus RC300 Luxury

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 7.3L/100km
Price: $74,000 Drive Away

Lexus’ RC (Radical Coupe) range is essentially a two-door coupe version of its IS models, meaning you get luxury and performance in spades, but in an even sexier body. The latest generation takes style inspiration from the top-of-the-range LC, which includes new headlights, grille, bumpers, and alloy wheels. The Luxury variant comes with blind-spot monitoring and lane-change alert as standard and a 10-speaker audio system – an audiophile-grade Mark Levinson sound system is available as an optional extra – turning it into a nightclub on wheels.

SUV

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon

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Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 7.5L/100km
Price: $74,000 Drive Away

If off-roading is your thing, then you’ll definitely want to consider buying a Jeep. The company’s history can be traced back all the way to World War II, although it wasn’t until 1945 when the first Civilian Jeep branded models were produced. The hero vehicle in the Jeep lineup is the Wrangler, which has been in production since 1986, and today, you can have one in one of seven trim levels. We’ve singled out the Rubicon as it’s the most off-road focused of the range – and that’s what you’re buying it for, right? – thanks to its high ground clearance, large, 33-inch tyres and an adjustable electronic locking differential. You can even hose down the interior when it gets dirty. Genius.

Land Rover Discovery Sport P200 R Dynamic S

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 8.1L/100km
Price: $77,000 Drive Away

Get past the looks and the Land Rover Discovery Sport becomes a tantalising proposition in a crowded SUV marketplace. It might not look like the Discovery vehicles of old, but the current generation has had much of its interior switched out and parts from the more luxurious Range Rover fitted in their place. It’s now offered with seven seats as standard, and Land Rover has reduced the number of trim levels to just three (the same as sister company Jaguar) to make buying one much easier. The P200 R Dynamic S gets a 2.0L petrol engine with 147kW of grunt, 18-inch alloy wheels and JLR’s InControl suite of technologies. If you want one of the most prestigious and famous names in automotive history, look no further.

Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class GLA250 4Matic

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 7L/100km
Price: $70,000 Drive Away

Mercedes-Benz first unveiled the GLA-Class crossover SUV at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show, with the second, current generation being launched in 2019. For the new model, Mercedes extended the wheelbase but made the overall length of the car shorter at the same time. Ground clearance has been increased, too, and there’s more space inside the cabin for people to sit comfortably. The GLA250 we’ve selected gets a 2.0L engine, delivering 165kW of power, and it further benefits from Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. As with other cars from the German company, ride quality is smooth and the interior is one of the more luxurious in the sector. It’s the body style, in particular, we deem worthy of cool status, as the crossover design offers something genuinely different to the majority of other cars on the road.

Electric

Hyundai Kona Highlander

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: N/A
Price: $72,000 Drive Away

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If you’re at one with the Earth, then electric power is for you. Fortunately, you don’t need to break the bank to go green, as demonstrated by this Hyundai Kona. It first launched in 2018, and at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, it won the North American Utility Vehicle of the Year, along with its non-electric counterpart. The UK-based What Car? has found it has the highest real-world driving range among five commercially available cars – up to 279 miles/450km. However, in exchange for greater range, you have to pay a higher price than other entry-level EVs on the market. Fortunately, it’s not just a box with a big battery, as the Kona is well-appointed, although the Highlander variant is the one we’d go for, as it adds LED headlights and parking sensors, a head-up display and a wireless charging pad for your phone. It’s the future of cars, today.

Under $100,000

Sedans & Wagons

BMW 4-Series 430i

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 4.6l/100km
Price: $95,000 Drive Away

When BMW introduced the 4-series in 2014, it gave buyers an option to steer clear of the more business-focused 3 and 5-series cars and in their place offering the “cool uncle” of the premium sports saloon world. Also available in Coupe, Gran Coupe, and Convertible variants, the 4-Series offers four-door flexibility with slick styling, a wealth of interior technologies and serious power to boot.

Audi A5 45 Quattro

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 6.5l/100km
Price: $93,000 Drive Away

If you don’t want to become part of the ‘BMW driver club’ and the connotations that come with it, then you can always settle for an Audi. Not that that’s a bad thing, of course, as the German carmaker produces some of the most luxurious cars on the road. This A5 also comes with the company’s Quattro four-wheel drive technology which has been at the forefront of traction since the 1980s, meaning you needn’t worry about spinning when you’re hurtling down the motorway.

Volvo V60 T8 R-Design

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 2l/100km
Price: $100,000 Drive Away

Yes, we have included a Volvo in our list of coolest cars. Hear us out. The Swedish manufacturer is making some seriously good cars lately, which are more than capable of holding their own against their German contingent. For the money, we don’t think there’s a cooler wagon out there to cart the whole family around in. A 4.5-second 0-100kph time, trickle-down sports technology from its Polestar subsidiary and unbelievable fuel economy are just a smattering of reasons you need to give this one a test drive.

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Tesla Model 3

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: N/A
Price: $100,000 Drive Away

Love them or loathe them, electric cars are the future of transportation. Spearheading the charge is Tesla, and with the release of the Model 3, electrical power has been made available to a wider population. Forgetting about oodles of technology packed inside its compact body, being able to tell your friends, family, and co-workers that you drive a Tesla has some serious social clout, (just maybe don’t expect absolutely everyone to mimic your enthusiasm).

Coupes & Convertibles

Chevrolet Camaro 2SS

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 13l/100km
Price: $94,000 Drive Away

If fuel economy isn’t your thing then not a lot can beat an American muscle car in the cool rankings. After all, what’s better than crazy styling married with a beast of an engine? This Chevy Camaro is one of our favourites, not only because it’s a movie star thanks to its association with the Transformers movies, but because it has a 6.2-litre V8 fitted under the hood. It certainly makes a change from the vast number of Holden utes on the road, at least.

Alfa Romeo 4C

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 6.8l/100km
Price: $99,000 Drive Away

Any motorhead will tell that you can’t truly be a car enthusiast until you’ve owned an Alfa. The Italian car brand has a strong penchant for producing cars that don’t always work or will break down regularly, but that’s part of their charm. If it’s serious driving thrills you’re after, the 4C will most certainly oblige. The epitome of a 2-seater sports car, the 4C connects the driver with road and forces them to test their skill – just make sure you can look past the odd wire hanging loose. Keep in mind the 4C has been discontinued but you can still find stock for sale in Australia. A true classic in the making.

BMW Z4 sDrive M Sport

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Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 7.2l/100km
Price: $98,000 Drive Away

If it’s a 2-seater drop-top you’re after but you fancy a little more style and sophistication, then the BMW Z4 will be right up your alley. The latest generation offers gorgeous styling, a number of driver-assistance technologies and a soft-top roof that can be raised or lowered up to speeds of 50kph – if that doesn’t gain you street cred or the respect of your kids at least, then we’re not sure what else will. Of course, if it doesn’t, then they can’t fit inside anyway.

Lotus Elise Sport 220

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 7.5l/100km
Price: $96,000 Drive Away

One of the most well-known examples of a true driver’s car, the Lotus Elise has been in production for over 30 years and in that time, not a lot has changed. It’s similar to the Alfa 4C whereby it plants you close down to the road surface, places the engine in the middle and offers you go-kart-like driving but in an actual car. The lightweight body also means you can get yourself up to 100kph in under 5-seconds, despite the engine ‘only’ being a 1.8l unit. Fun, guaranteed.

SUVs

Range Rover Velar

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 7.6l/100km
Price: $99,000 Drive Away

If wanting to own the road is high up on your goals list, there’s no other option but to buy a Range Rover. Whilst the commanding nature sitting in a Rangey provides is so it can tackle off-road terrain, we all know they’re actually used to run the kids to school instead. The Velar is the latest Range Rover to be released and brings with it a much more sport-orientated design. But it’s the inside that makes the Velar worthy of shouting home about, as it has numerous touchscreens for controlling the majority of interior functions. We don’t know about you, but we think touchscreens are cool as f**k, and the more the merrier. It’s a slightly smaller size than its big brother the Sport model but packs just as good a luxury punch.

Jaguar E-Pace P250 R-Dynamic HSE

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 7.7l/100km
Price: $93,000 Drive Away

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Not to be confused with the all-electric I-Pace, the E-Pace is, in fact, a dinky, compact SUV. The P20 R-Dynamic HSE variant can accelerate you to 100kph in a smidge over 7-seconds while you sit comfortably inside the well-appointed cockpit. Driving a Jag will also help you stand out among a crowded sea of other compact SUVs from the likes of BMW, Audi, and Volvo. That’s a cool enough reason to get one in our book.

Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 8l/100km
Price: $92,000 Drive Away

If good-looks, high trim specifications and a car that’s tougher than Fort Knox, the XC60 is what you need. Boasting virtually unrivalled safety features, the XC60 T6 frees up that little space in your brain that constantly worries what might happen were you to have a crash. That doesn’t mean it’s slow, either, as it can propel you to 100kph in under 6-seconds and if you want to do your bit for the planet, you can opt for the plug-in hybrid variant. The Xc60 has also voted 2018 Wheels Car Of The Year… so even the crusty motoring journalists like it.

BMW X4 xDrive30i M Sport

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 7.8l/100km
Price: $97,000 Drive Away

The X4 is BMW’s contender in the compact luxury SUV space, which so far has seen some good sales. It’s no surprise though, really, as it combines BMW’s renowned driving experience in a compact but commanding body, making it ideal for Australian roads. The xDrive30i M Sport is our pick, as it offers plenty of power for when you want to press your right foot down, as well as being practical for when you want to load it up for a long-weekend road trip.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti

Year: 2019
Fuel Economy: 7l/100km
Price: $93,000 Drive Away

Alfa Romeo succumbed the lure of the ever-expanding luxury SUV market a few years ago when it released the Stelvio. Available in three variants, standard, Ti and push-you-back-in-your-seat-fast Quadrifoglio, the Italian’s people mover can appeal to everyone. The Ti is our pick, offering the sweet spot of performance, practicality, and price. Ok, so the Quadrifoglio would be the one we actually want, but with prices starting at $150,000, the bank account would take a serious hit.

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As with the 4C, the Stelvio offers something no other SUV can: the Alfa Romeo experience, and that’s something you can’t put a price on.

Australian New Car FAQ

When is the best time to buy a car?

The last three months of the year are the best times to buy a car since they have the highest discounts Still, regardless of the time of the year, there are plenty of great deals you can consider all year round.

Is it better to lease or buy a car?

If you can afford it, paying with cash for your new car is always the best option. Leasing is like a long-term rental. You may have lower monthly payments, but you risk losing your vehicle if you stopped paying your dues.

What credit score is needed to buy a car?

A credit score of 700 or higher will allow you to find favorable loan terms for your dream car. However, there are consumers who can get approved for auto loans with a 600 or less credit score.

How can I make my car look cool?

Easy. A good set of wheels and a window tint should do it. Ensure the wheels match the make and model of the car. Avoid lowing the suspension as you'll just look like a peanut on the road.

Is there a cooling off period when buying a car?

A cooling-off-period of one day applies to all used car sales in some Australian states. You have the right to cancel a contract to purchase a new car from a motor car trader: within 3 clear days after you have signed the contract; unless you have accepted delivery of the car within this time.

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