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8 used cars under $10,000 that are safe, reliable and practical

When money’s tight but you still need a new-to-you car, used cars are a great option. But with so many to choose from, you might be suffering from analysis paralysis.

So we’ve done the work for you with this breakdown of the best 8 used cars under $10,000 that will get you where you need to go quickly, safely, and without costing an arm and a leg.

1. Mazda Axela

The Mazda Axela is one of New Zealand’s most popular imported cars, topping out the charts from Japan – yes, beating out even the Toyota Corolla! It’s easy to see why, considering it ticks all the boxes you need for a used car: reliable, safe, cheap to run and keeps going even after it’s got a few kilometres on the odometer.

2. Mazda Premacy

Sometimes, you’ve just got to move a lot of people. Get the kids to school, the dogs to the park, and the shopping back home. Sometimes all in the same trip! The Mazda Premacy offers a budget-conscious option for people in need of a lot of space at a reasonable price. 

3. Mazda Demio

If you need a manoeuvrable city car for a young driver, the Mazda Demio has you covered. They’re super fuel-efficient and super easy to park which, when combined with the reasonable price tag for a used model, makes them highly accessible to pretty much anyone. A great choice for a driver who just got their restricted!


Suzuki is known for making reliable and affordable cars.

4. Suzuki Splash

Everyone knows the Suzuki Swift – it’s one of New Zealand’s favourite cars, after all – but fewer know about its cousin, the Splash. And they’re missing out! While the Swift is a great little car, it often suffers from a lack of space in the back. The Splash provides much more room for rear passengers, making it a great runabout, whether you’re sober driving your mates (good on ya) or getting the kids to school.

5. Suzuki Alto

What’s better than a used car under $10,000? A used car under $10,000 that’s cheap as chips to run! The Suzuki Alto was found to be the cheapest car to run in an independent survey by Aussie motoring companies and averaged a stunning 4.46 litres per 100km in the AA Energywise Rally here in Aotearoa. If you’re budget-conscious, this zippy 5-door is an excellent choice.

6. Kia Rio

The Kia Rio has been around since 1999 and is still going strong with a modern model releasing in 2020. While you might have a hard time finding a model fresh off the assembly line for under $10,000, the older second-generation models stay in budget while still keeping the great handling and manoeuvrability the subcompact car is known for.


Kia isn’t as well known in NZ as Suzuki, Mazda or Toyota – but it soon will be.

7. Toyota Yaris

What makes a good used car? Handling? Efficiency? It’s different for every buyer, but we know a lot of people have safety at the top of mind. If that includes you, take a good look at one of the safest used cars you can buy: the Toyota Yaris, a model that regularly scores top marks in safety from NCAP. The 2006 model scored five out of five stars even five years later in 2011, so used versions still hold up under modern safety standards.

8. Holden Astra

When you want the fuel economy of a subcompact but the legroom of a sedan, all wrapped up with a great price under $10,000, you should be looking at the Astra. The 2008 model just squeezes in under the budget limit, but we reckon it’s worth it for the extra modern features you get on top!

Used cars can get you a lot for a little. Head into your local Nicholson Automotive or get in touch with us online to discover your options for safe, reliable cars under $10,000.


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