The Best Cars Suited for Australian Roads

Date Posted: June 15, 2020

highway to horizon

Australia has some pretty formidable roads. Extreme heat in summer, icy and even snowy conditions in winter. Add the congested ‘stop-go’ roads of our capital cities with remote stretches of outback highways – it can be a tall order for a make and model trying to be among the best cars suited for Australian roads.

There are over 400 models of consumer vehicles available in Australia today. Here are some of the best cars suited for Australian roads and locations. Fuel and prices based on 2019 – 2020 models.

Australian Cities

Australian city skyline

Stop-go driving uses considerably more fuel than country driving. Easy parking, minimal fuel costs and easy driving are the focus here. 

Kia Rio

Rios have now been on the road for 20 years. They’ve come a long way since 2000. A comfortable interior with ergonomics that work, the Rio is well suited for a city drive. Simple-to-use reverse cameras and infotainment with a decent-sized boot add to the ‘runabout’ theme. The (pretty) quiet interior cuts out most road and traffic noise, ideal for the morning radio news or commute with colleagues.

Fuel Efficiency: 6.2L / 100 combined for the auto transmission.

Prices From: $17,490

Toyota Yaris

A reliable and loved classic for city drivers. The Yaris has proven itself easy to drive, affordable and popular. 2020’s new 3-cylinder engine uses even less fuel than previous ‘efficient’ models – there’s also a hybrid option. Super-simple to park and maneuver in tight spaces, the Yaris is ideal for city driving and commutes. Previous complaints about road noise have been addressed in later models too, making it one of the best cars suited for Australian roads in cities. 

Fuel Efficiency: 5.8 – 6.4L / 100 combined.

Prices From: $15,390

Toyota 86 / Subaru BRZ

We went out on a bit of a limb here. Driving a sports car in traffic may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But the 86 (or BRZ) is well known for its solid driveability, comfort and general usability. To some city dwellers, the feel and image of a sporty option is ideal for impressing clients and colleagues. The suspension, interior and technology are quite simple as the car is aimed at fun. Well suited for an urban lifestyle with a love for hills driving on weekends.

Fuel Efficiency: 8.4L / 100km combined.

Prices From: $31,440

Australian Suburbs

Suburbs view from above

Transporting your kids to school and going somewhere a little further on weekends with your dogs is the aim of these vehicles. Work commutes with low fuel costs also come into focus.

Honda CR-V

The ever-popular CR-V is a huge driving force behind Honda’s sales in Australia. The CR-V range has expanded in recent years to include two 7-seater options – perfect for kids’ sports events shuttling. Note that most models have cloth seats which are comfortable and durable but aren’t perfect for dropped orange slices or drink spills. A high safety rating, ease of entry, large carry space and a huge range of servicing and model options make the CR-V one of the best cars suited for Australian roads in the suburbs.

Fuel Efficiency: 7 – 7.6L / 100km combined. 

Prices From: $30,990

Audi Q5

A great option for a larger budget, the Q5 is a mid-size luxury SUV with both safety and comfort taken into consideration. The Q5’s powerplant is a 2.0-litre turbo in both petrol and diesel. A comfortable family SUV for Australian suburbs as the Q5 delivers ease of use in heavy traffic and the ability to travel safely at high speeds. A family favourite, making the Q5 one of the best cars suited for Australian roads.  Think CBD to school to outer suburbs via 80kph roads with all the top-notch infotainment and driving assist technology.

Fuel Efficiency: 6.1L / 100km petrol version and 5.8L / 100km for the diesel. 

Prices From: $65,900

Toyota Camry

The Camry has been selling since 1982. It was once upon a time dubbed as ‘the most boring, successful’ car ever! That was many moons ago. The Camry has since proven itself a reliable, safe and comfortable suburban all-star with modern technology and infotainment. With a 7-inch central touchscreen, Apple Carplay / Android Auto, reverse camera, lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control coupled with modern aggressive styling, 4 and 6 cylinder and hybrid option, the Camry is much more exciting than it used to be. Perfect for four passengers (or two adults and 3 kids).

Fuel Efficiency: 4.5L / 100km for the hybrid, up 8.9L / 100km for the V6.

Prices From: $28,290

Australian Rural Areas

outback road near uluru

Solid highway performance, stability at speed and towing capacity are on the agenda for these cars. Off-road ability and comfort for long drives are needed.

Subaru Outback

The high-riding (in both suspension and sales numbers) Outback has been… well an outback favourite for several years now. The model is neither an SUV or typical wagon – kind of halfway house. Especially when compared to its big brother – the Forester. The elevated ride height, strong 2.5-litre boxer engine and practical interior make the Outback solid on Australian highways for passengers and luggage and give drivers some off-road ability. They are a pretty common site in Aussie rural towns, for good reason too. Arguably one of the best suited cars for Australian roads – both rural and suburban.

Fuel Efficiency: 7.3L / 100km combined.

Prices From: $37,440

Toyota LandCruiser

Often seen as the quintessential ‘4×4 SUV’ with it’s massive popularity. The reliable LandCruiser has been a dominant force on Australian highways, unsealed roads and creek beds for decades – all 6 of them. The LandCruiser made tracks in Australia in 1960. In more recent years, Toyota’s famous 4×4 has shown itself to be more a luxury, passenger-focused option. Ideal for towing too with its 3500kg max braked towing capacity. It’s hard to go past a caravan park in Australia without seeing a few LandCruisers. 

Fuel Efficiency: 10.7L / 100km combined.

Prices From: $54,090 (which more than doubles for the top-range levels)

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Aggressive styling and solid ride comfort coupled with a high safety standard and excellent tow-rig abilities. The Cherokee has long established itself as a premium powerhouse well suited to Australian highways – sealed and unsealed. The interior gadgetry is also a crowd pleaser – heated seats, modern driver assist technology and infotainment system (always a hit on long, rural drives). The V8 option has noticeable power compared to the V6.

Fuel Efficiency: 7.5 – 10.L / 100km combined.

Prices From: $47,500

All in all

cars in parking building

Australia has a pretty large range of road and drive styles – from a city apartment-to-office commute to the rough and tumble flash-flooding creek beds of the outback. Selecting a mode of transport that suits your needs can be a long thought process. If you’ve got that weekend-warrior plan, check out some of Australia’s top coastal and mountain road trips.
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