My wife and I recently bought a car after we discovered that her old one was on it’s last legs and that it was going to cost us almost 25% of it’s total value to get it fixed. We did the math, and pretty quickly worked out that it was time for us to look at buying a new family car.

Having not bought a car for about 10 years, I was not up to date with the car market at all and so I needed to work out exactly what we needed in a car, as well as what our budget could afford. The first part of that equation was pretty simple – we needed a larger car, both for our family that we want to expand, but also for when we go away so that we can fit everything we need (we struggled with this on our last vacation).

Consulting the budget was a lot more difficult. It’s never nice to have your hand forced into a purchase, but realistically we needed a car to get around and that was also going to be reliable. Fortunately, we recently sold our house, so we had some extra cash we could use and no have to go into debt. This allowed us to expand our options when it came to making a car purchase, but we still didn’t want to go crazy.

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When it came time to actually look at cars, I consulted with the almighty Google for answers. It turns out that there are heaps of great cars websites now available in Australia, with many of them having great individual and group car comparisons. Because we were looking at a larger car, comparisons like the Volvo XC60 vs Mazda CX5 were a lot of help in guiding us towards the right type of car to suit our needs. We had heard that the CX5 being the biggest seller in Australia, but we didn’t know a lot more than that.

After a while we narrowed the list down to just a handful of car in our price range, and then took a day off to go and test drive them all. The whole process took a lot longer than we expected (sales people can be difficult to get away from), but in the end we decided to go for one of the cheaper options being the Hyundai IX35. We liked many of the features and benefits that some of the more expensive cars had, but in the end we wanted to conserve as much cash as possible to help pay down the debt on our new house that we are building.

If we didn’t have the debt, then we probably would have spent a few thousand more and gone for any one of the slightly more expensive models of cars, but at this point in time we just couldn’t justify the extra expense when this car met all the criteria we set out with.