17 June 2011


[Previous post: Our 1st days with a friend]

It's the end of the fiscal year in Australia and that means EOFYS (End of fiscal year sales) until June 30. Yeay!! "Deal deals deal", additional 25% off on all discounted items, "Buy To Save" (we'll we haven't seen this slogan around here in Oz but this American oldie still fits the bill)

It's the moment to get some deals arround. Well, if we may believe the locals, it's either now or we wait until next December. We kinda need everything at the moment as we sold most of our stuff but the most important item would be a car right now. Since I'm pretty green behind my ears when it comes to cars I'm not keen to buy a second hand car. So it's sales time and we need a new car .... it couldn't be a better match.

We knew we'd have to buy a car shortly after our arrival as we only have the rental for a month. So prior to our departure we did our nightly research. Hours and hours on useful website like caradvice.com.au or less useful, but very entertaining, sites like topgear.com have made us warm for a 4x4. Very broad term, I know, but since we are in the country of 4x4 it would be a shame to let the opportunity go to waste. Another element which reinforced our "need" for a 4x4 are the Australian roads. If you thought it is bad in Belgium than guess again. Sharp curves and bumps are part of a good Aussie road. Throw in 4wd beach access and we suddenly couldn't go without a 4x4 anymore ;-)

To drill down the 4x4 segment, you've got your
  • utes : Australian slang for a utility vehicle like a pick up but lower to the ground
  • crossovers: Anything from a VW Tiguan, Mitsubishi outlander, Hyundai IX 35 (new version of the tuscon)
  • SUV: Nissan Pathfinder, Range Rover freelander 2

Choices are plenty full but the top range cars like the Pathfinder or Range Rover are sadly out of our budget. So initially we focussed our attention on the smaller SUV/Crossover segment. Here the choice boils down to 2. Either you go to the proper FWD (Four wheel drive) or you keep yourself to the recreational AWD (all wheel drive). To keep the car mumbo jumbo to a minimum FWD is the proper off roader capable of anything you throw at them. AWD will allow you to take dirt road with some decent potholes but it will take some better driving skills to get the vehicle over some of more difficult obstacles. Sometimes it's not even wise to take your cars off road in the AWD segment as they just have the looks. I would like to think I can master the outback in a FWD but I guess you all know, since I have never even owned a FWD, that wouldn't be a good thing without some proper practice. And it's not like we'll be off roading every weekend. We have to attend the beach as well , one in a while. The choice thus boils further down, due to budget restrictions, to a proper small FWD with no options or a AWD where we can have some gizmo's like ipod connectivity, sunroof etc...

Both yesterday and today Nina and I have plunged ourselves in the car industry to limit our choices even further. We went over to Toyota, Subaru, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Holden (Australian brand) and ford and many others. After the first day hearing all about how wonderful all these cars are from the sales people (some nice, some just not listening) we boiled it down to following choices for a test drive.
  • Toyota Rav4: Great car but a bit older in styling, very common on the Aussie roads and very capable off road
  • Mitsubishi Outlander: American styled , very large cargo space but only comes in petrol (as the rav4 btw)
  • Hyundai IX35: The successor or the Tuscon. Very european look (it's the white car above), very nice finish inside. A small note here. Our landlord is the Area manager of Hyundai and promised us a great deal.
  • Suzuki Grand Vitara: Probably the most capable off roader of the 4 but this means a higher base budget so less gizmo's
The test drives went great (first day for both of us driving), sadly they didn't let us go off road (Nina: by the way Stijn, you tried to go off road :-p), but all cars have a great feel to them. Currently top picks are the Rav4 and IX35 both very smooth and punchy little fighters. Now we are still waiting on the offers and over the weekend we'll see who wants to further negotiate to get the best drive away price (includes 1 year tax, compulsory third party insurrance).

We'll keep you posted!

Ps: Let us know what you think. Not only about the cars but about the blog as well. We start to have a little bit more time to write so you can expect more posts soon. Let us know if you'd like us to write about something special.


[Next post about finding a car -FR]


  1. If i had to choose, (concidering budget and features) I'd go for the Hyundai IX35, it's good looking car, nice finish and if the landlord can offer you a great deal, then it's double the pleasure! nevertheless all the others are looking good as well. Have fun choosing!

  2. take the green one !

  3. Take the green one! it look wild :)

  4. Nina: Here is a better picture of the Hyundai http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT-JwCryJivqNoQklA6w6qRzZbmeMEg0LzpkqqS67tscZiABrpAZQ